Smugly incompetent

Slummy Mummy, a light summer read about a TV producer turned full-time mother, reflects inane and pernicious ideas about parenting, writes Kate Roiphe on Slate.

Lucy Sweeney is meant to be charmingly harried, disarmingly normal, deliberately unglamorous: a woman, we are supposed to think, just like us.

And yet there is in this celebration of the ordinary, messy, overweight mom a kind of smugness, a vanity about the most banal aspects of motherhood, that is slightly off-putting. All the “flaws” that make Lucy so endearing — She finds laundry overwhelming! She comes to school drop-off in her pajamas! — are meant to read as virtues. The ostensible self-deprecation of the novel is in fact a form of self-congratulation.

Lucy’s life is not that hard, Roiphe writes, “and it is certainly not that interesting.”

Perhaps the raison d’etre of mommy lit is to boost the egos of laundry-capable mothers.

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