They say it takes a village to raise a child, this writing comes from that village.
Emily Writes, whose first book Rants in the Dark was published last year, returns. This time around she's included a host of other contributors, all writing about the realities of being a parent in Aotearoa.
Together, Writes and her friends build a village through this book, each page a new brick.
While the experience of parenthood is different for everybody, there are shared truths within this collection. Every experience and story is a real one -- you will feel joy, horror, love and heartache.
Like Writes' first book, this collection includes some pieces already published through The Spinoff Parents. However, there are plenty of new stories ready to delight the reader.
Welcome to the world, Mama opens the book and it is the perfect piece to kick off the moving collection of perspectives. Just a few pages in you'll need the tissues. It is a deeply moving piece about the birth of a mother and one that should be prescribed reading for all those about to begin their motherhood journey. Every piece of Writes is familiar, moving, and one you will return to over and over again throughout your parenting years.
Is It Bedtime Yet is inclusive of many different types and structures of families we see every day.
Nichole Brown's deeply personal letter to her Māori daughter is particularly haunting and beautiful.
As the parent of a child with higher needs, Jessie Moss's story of her bright star Mataamua hit me hard. Moss perfectly captures the strange mix of sadness, relief, anger and, above all, the utter devotion and love parents feel when faced with the unknown. Her story will be a shining beacon for any parent walking the same path.
Is It Bedtime Yet also doesn't sugar coat the hard times or the difficult topics.
Francesca Jones discusses birth trauma, while stay at home dad Cameron Leckey recounts a, frankly hilarious, vasectomy. Dr Wynter Briscoe tells the tale of an unusual conception, and Ockham awards author Brannavan Gnanalingam muses on gender roles within parenting.
There is, as to be expected, also the absolute laugh out loud stories that every parent will relate to. Surviving Wine Mum Night had me in stitches (and wondering if Writes was spying on me), as did Writes' list of parenting essentials.
Crowd-sourced pieces from readers of The Spinoff Parents, one about hacks to make you feel better for adequate parenting and the other asking parents to confess their sins, are also included.
Those contentious parenting issues - sleep and food - also get the Writes treatment, with funny, tongue in cheek pieces that will have you laughing while also nodding along in agreement. Writes' piece on parenting styles and philosophies walks that hilariously awkward line of funny, yet also 100% accurate.
Paired with Rants in the Dark, these are the only two parenting books you need. This village will be a friend in those long days, and even longer nights, that make up the wild ride that is parenting. Is It Bedtime Yet is parenting in a nutshell - hilarious, hair-raising, and heart-breaking, but above all, brilliant and amazing.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Penguin Random House NZ, RRP $35.00