Lost In Suburbia Book Review
Tracy Beckerman’s book, Lost In Suburbia, A Momoir: How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs, will no doubt speak to many moms who stopped working when they had kids and whose identity was lost in the process. Many of us – and I count myself among the many – found that becoming a Mom came with no manual – for either how to raise a kid or how to define ourselves as more than just Moms.
Luckily, Beckerman is a good writer with a sense of humor, so instead of a dreary Masters degree thesis, Lost in Suburbia is a very enjoyable read. It’s especially enjoyable to me since I have found my own way out of the “suburban fog” I was in when I first became a Mom.
It took me a while, but I finally figured out how to be the woman I wanted to be apart from the definitions offered by my marital status and by how many diapers I had changed. Beckerman’s journey to “back to cool” involved becoming a writer, and coincidentally, so did mine.
As I read her book, I flashed back to many of the first years I spent as a Mom and I felt over and over that we’d had incredibly similar experiences. I could totally relate to Beckerman’s experience, and found myself laughing with her, again and again.
Beckerman tells a story at the beginning of the book about being pulled over by a cop one morning when she was only wearing a bathrobe. It was a humiliating experience for her, as it would probably have been for anyone, and I can luckily say it never happened to me.
But the story isn’t really about the cop or the bathrobe per se; it’s about the fact that Beckerman had reached a point in her life when she would leave the house in a bathrobe and it didn’t bother her. (Until she was stopped by a cop, of course.) It’s meant to illustrate where she was in her life; that getting dressed up – or even dressed, for that matter – just wasn’t a priority. And I can tell you from my experience, she was certainly not the only Mom to have ever done this. And at this point I’ll mention the Mom at my kids’ school who routinely showed up for drop-off in curlers and a housecoat – sans bra.
I look back now on some of the “outfits” I left the house wearing when I had an infant in tow, and I’m really appalled. Even thinking about it is appalling. But at the time I was just glad to get out of the house at all.
Beckerman devotes considerable space in the book to the notion of finding new friends once you’re a Mom. Many of us lose our friends when we have kids because our lives revolve around our all-encompassing babies and there’s barely any room for our friends. Once we come up for air from the infant stage, our old friends may have moved on to greener pastures and/or can’t relate to the tagalong toddler syndrome.
Whether we like them or not, we end up with a new set of friends based on our kids’ ages, playgroups and schools. And very often, these are not all people we would actually choose as friends, so another sorting process begins.
Beckerman’s journey to find new Mom friends is, again, something I went through as well, and her stories are a great way to laugh through the pain of the process.
Beckerman’s book is a great Summer read. If you’ve ever driven a car in a bathrobe (or not), or tried to make new friends with people whose only commonality with you is your children’s day care center, I feel certain you’ll be able to relate to this book. I only wish I’d read it when my kids were younger.