The Tao of Poop: Keeping Your Sanity (and Your Soul) While Raising a Baby, by Vivian Elisabeth Glyck, Trumpeter Books, 2006, $16.95.
Short stuff: Book review
When I first read the title, The Tao of Poop, I assumed this book would be another treatise on potty training. To my surprise and delight, it was nothing of the sort.
Each chapter starts with a laugh-out-loud account of motherhood ranging from birth expectations to over scheduling to boredom. All mothers have been through these circumstances or they know someone who has. It left me with a feeling of relief that I wasn’t alone in experiencing these stages and obstacles in motherhood.
But Glyck’s candid accounts of her life as a mother and that of other mothers don’t just seek to amuse. She takes a funny or frustrating situation and turns it into one of reflection. Thus enters Tao, the ancient Chinese way of harmony through inaction. Glyck not only addresses the stressors of motherhood, but teaches us to let go and learn from our children.
In the craziness of today’s world, nurturing yourself may seem an unattainable aspiration, but Glyck emphasizes that mothers need to nurture themselves before they can be effective mothers. She uses quick exercises at the end of each chapter—Thought Experiments and Sanity Savers. These exercises lead moms to their own conclusions for what will work for them. They are fast, simple and thought provoking.
I can honestly imagine rereading this book throughout the years as my experiences as a mother change and grow. The Tao of Poop grows with you as a mom and is appropriate for all moms, regardless of the age of their children. Glyck also includes adoptive moms and single moms in her book, realizing that while their circumstances are unique, we all share universal difficulties.