Susan Konig writes in her new book about a subject rarely written about today: motherhood. Once upon a time describing the wrangling of a pack of unruly but lovable kids was a staple of women writers such as Erma Bombeck and Jean Kerr. Nowadays, it seems, very few women have the material necessary to write about family life in this way.
Susan, fortunately, has an ample supply of material — right across her crowded kitchen table. In a series of short essays in I Wear the Maternity Pants in this Family she describes how on a September morn she happily packed her three older kids off to school. Her five-year-old was, at last, going to kindergarten. “For the first time in years I’ll have my days to myself,” she thinks, watching the school bus driving away. “I’ll write another book, get to the gym, three, four, no five times a week, run for political office save baby seals — individually and collectively — climb mountains, ford streams, conquer worlds.” But, guess what? Her sigh of relief and plans for world conquest were overturned by a sudden queasy feeling. Yep, baby number four was on the way.
About to turn forty three, she broke out the maternity pants once again, and visited a gloomy obstetrician in the suburb where she lived, who made her feel like Grandma Moses. He was so full of dour warnings about mature maternity that, as she writes, “This guy was writing a script for a Lifetime movie and I was the star.” She promptly returned to her big city ob/gyn, who is more used to women over forty giving birth. Besides, this doctor had never forgotten her. Her first bundle of joy, her daughter, weighed in at over twelve pounds. His only words of advice: “Try not to gain fifty pounds.”