Kudos goes to Scott and Sarah Parsons for letting us read this book before they did! They bought it and then insisted that we read it. The fun thing about this book was that I got the opportunity to read it very quickly. I read about 1/2 of it when we went to Jake’s parents’ house, and then finished the rest of it this past week.
Operating Instructions is Anne’s journal of her son, Sam’s, first year of life. Anne is a single mother who is a christian, among other things. As many who have kids for the first time, she realized how much having a child can reshape or enhance her relationship with God. All of a sudden some of these common illustrations that people use to describe our relationship with God comes to life in flesh and blood.
I could identify with Anne’s experience in some ways. Some entries were expressing how she felt like she was on cloud nine- that motherhood was amazing and beautiful and Sam could do nothing wrong. Other times the entries were the result of a bad day- and Anne was worn out, tired, feeling fat, and wondering if she would ever make it through Sam’s infant years. And wondering if she’d ever have time to write again. Sometimes these entries were days apart; other times only hours! And that’s how motherhood/fatherhood can be. And I’m glad that she expressed that honestly.
Of course something I could not identify with is that she is a single mom. Trying to raise a child by herself. Doing the night shifts by herself. Learning how to breastfeed by herself. Figuring out how to work from home and be a single parent. Amazing. Thankfully Anne had a ton of help around the house. Her best friend, Pammy, was around a lot in the early evenings, as were people like her brother, mother, and friends from her church. She also ended up hiring a college age student to come every weekday for a few hours a day. She had things to keep her sane like going out to the movies with some girlfriends on one evening, and doing different things other evenings. I think it’s awesome how the community came around her. I wish that all single mom’s would have those people.
My common complaint with books by Anne Lamott is her vulgarity. She is quite the cusser, and that can be kinda distracting or unnecessary (in my opinion). I suppose that this is her journal, so she can say whatever she wants. The pages are riddled with obscenity, so if you have a hard time with that, this may be a tough book to get through.
Overall, this was a fast-paced read where Anne was very transparent in the first year of her child-rearing experience.