In a sea of books that fall within the “parenthood humor” category, this one stands out. This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is the perfect title for a book about the chaos, the exhaustion, and the beauty of parenthood. Written from dad’s perspective, Clint Edwards truly has been on both sides of the fence—he’s been the breadwinner, gone all day, wondering why in the hell his wife let the house (and herself at times) go. Then he was the stay-at-home parent. And he said, “Ohhh. I get it now.”
It’s all in here—financial struggles, jealousy over his kids liking their mom more than him, and the ugly truth of how kids can rip a marriage apart if it’s not nurtured. But the best part of Clint’s book is that he confesses to messing up. A LOT. But he sees it. Owns it. And learns from it. I don’t know any perfect parents, but I do know a lot who pretend to be. And who judge those of us who are far from it. So it’s joyously refreshing to read about another parent screwing up. Because shit if parenthood isn’t hard. And full of screw-ups. But it’s far less lonely when you know others are in your same boat.
One of my favorite essays is the title essay: “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” It is about ridiculously disgusting things we all do as parents—things that 20-somethings without kids (how we used to be) are appalled to hear. Things like picking up poop with our bare hands off of the living room rug so no one steps in it. Things like turning a puking baby toward us so that vomit doesn’t stain the couch, but instead, is collected in our shirt.
Another piece I related so well to is entitled “The Day Mom Took Away the Toys.” Clint, like me, is not the favorite parent. And it sucks sometimes. My husband is always the favorite, always the first choice for my kids. He’s more fun and playful and enforces far fewer rules than I do. Clint plays second fiddle as well and found himself manipulating a situation with his daughter in the hopes of coming out the victor—the favorite parent. He failed. As would I, if I bothered trying at that game.
This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is chock-full of humor and stories you’ll find yourself nodding along to, like why your kid is an asshole but you love him anyway, and the sad realization that you might make more of a mess than they do (looking at you, dads who pee everywhere). But it also contains so many beautiful lessons. Lessons of humility, like apologizing to your kids when you treat them unfairly. Lessons of patience and understanding—that both mom and dad have a shitty time here and there on this road called parenthood. And it’s far better for the whole family to realize that, and to be kind to each other. Especially at 3 a.m. if the baby is teething—a time when kindness is rare.
By the end of Clint Edwards’s book, you’ll be in love with him, Mel, and their three spit-fire kids. And you’ll wish they were your neighbors. Even if that means his kid might pee in your yard.
You can find This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, among other sites. You can also follow Clint Edwards on his blog No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
*I received an advanced copy of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things in preparation for this review. All statements are of my own opinion.
*Check out my other book reviews: One Mother to Another (Why Melissa Mowry is My New BFF)