It’s a bitter sweet day as I turn over the final page of this new book by Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka. I was so desperate to finish so I could write about it, yet feeling like my hedonistic 19 year old self in a new relationship, never wanting the time spent with my new beau to end.
Yet if this book were a boyfriend it would be peered upon inquisitively by a concerned parent wondering what the garish orange and geometrical abstract exterior was concealing. But they needn’t fear, for once inside you realise this book has a huge heart, would save you their last rolo and would probably offer you a foot rub whilst you scoffed it.
Parenting the shit of our life is the brain child of the animated and frolicsome and very beautiful Instagram queen, Anna Whitehouse and handsome hubby Matt Farquarson. The couple have two daughters, Mae and Eve aged 4 years old and 4 months old , the same ages as my 2nd and 3rd children, so the content and themes in the book resonate deeply with me.
Think sleepless nights, baby blues, leaky mammoaries, domestic gripes and full on gastric show stoppers on public transport. But you don’t have to have children the same age, or indeed any kids to appreciate their witty outlook on life. This book is written for parents or those who might become parents. But if you have no kids in tow and the idea of two sticky hands cusping your cheeks and stuttering a breathy request for a “magical pair of boots that have space rockets” in your ear doesn’t float your boat, but you can read, pick it up anyway.
Because regardless of who you are or your life choices, it’s hard not to feel the maternal bosomy hug that Anna (Mother Pukka) refers to throughout. And quite frankly who doesn’t want a bosom for a pillow?
Although a parenting book, Patenting the shit out of life never wavers to preach a particular style to pregnancy or birth or indeed child rearing. But it’s got facts, and a few stats to enrich your flagging grey matter.
Matt (Pappa pukka) has a way of tugging at your heart strings with his intimitent poignancy over issues close to his heart. Equally he can dumbfound you with his eloquence, his droll approach to recounting parenting blunders and his weakness for a graph to illustrate the parenting process (male lateral thinking at its finest here) His “behavioural influence stairway model” – for hostage (toddler) negotiations is one of the best parody’s I’ve read.
Anna paints a very vivid picture of the realities of parenthood. She does this seamlessly through her Instagram posts and stories on a daily basis, yet in the book we get to feel it for a little longer and linger over the inconvenience and the ridiculousness that is modern day parenting. It’s the stuff a ‘proper’ parenting book doesn’t prepare you for and the antithesis of that Instagram feed of uniform white photography with just the right amount of Rose tint framing, pristinely turned out family and mother at the centre looking every bit as though she’s just stepped out of a salon.
Anna left that salon, fell into a bush and was assaulted by a rogue squirrel as she squashed his stash of nuts. But she got up, brushed the squirrel shit off and went about her day.
For the book epitomises those moments when you can’t haul yourself off the sofa to attend a step class but you can drag a three way travel system up a station stairway with a rucksack and a preschooler mounted on your back
Life as a mother or father to one two three or more kids is basically like living as a one man/woman band half your waking life until said urchins gain enough stamina and strength and nouse to fend a little for themselves. It candidly points out that our relationship little by little may be wilting away until you’re a shipwrecked Tom Hanks clinging to a ramshackle raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean watching a ruined rugby ball float out to sea. (I’m Sorry Wilson) but all it takes is to catch one another off guard and the memories of who you were ( still are somewhere ) come flooding back.
I know Anna and Matt were nervous about the publication of this book. Trying to put into words something that even I thought was nigh on impossible to explain – this strange alternate world which we are thrust into once a miniature us emerges from ones nether regions, is something that they have nailed in there own weird and wonderful way.
This book gets you dancing to the beat of the Pukkas song, then you suddenly recognise the song and realise you bloody love this track and you weep big euphoric tears.
Yes parenting is shit at times, but it gets better and there’s definitely rainbows amongst the storms clouds. So to read this book felt like the Pukkas putting a Matthew Kelly Stars in their Eyes arm around you whilst saying “Come ‘ere you” after you’ve flounced through that dry ice entrance announcing “Tonight Mathew, I’m going into be… A parent”
To quote the words from Jerry McGuire in one of the penultimate scenes: “We live in a cynical world – a cynical world. And work in a business with tough competitors” Motherhood and fatherhood has never been tougher
But Anna, Matt, honestly? you had me at mother.
From its hilarious unrestrained outset to its heartwarming crescendo , this book packs a lot of punches, each one relevant and worthy.
“As long as you come through that door at the end of the day with everyone vaguely alive, you’ve won” – this is the epitome of the book – the line that sums it all up for me. Each day is an adventure and if you survived this one, you’ll do it again tomorrow.