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Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom Hardcover – April 1, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"God bless you, Kristin van Ogtrop. Just Let Me Lie Down is a lexicon for legions of working moms. van Ogtrop nails with a generous, wisecracking charm what we couldn't--even with sleep--articulate." (Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair)

"This handy survival-primer will offer a laugh, some respite or both. There's something for every mom here." (Linda M. Castellitto, Bookpage )

"A witty lexicon of marriage and motherhood." (Vogue)

"van Ogtrop has created an entire lexicon for modern parenting to make the life of a working mother that much easier, not to mention funnier." (The Daily Beast)

"Full of hard-won wisdom and kick-ass wit, Just Let Me Lie Down perfectly captures the joys and frustrations of an entire exhausted demographic. I would like to add one more thing to van Ogtrop's mile-long To-Do list: Run for President." (Mary Roach, author of Bonk, Spook, and Stiff)

"Just Let Me Lie Down is the very definition of a smart, funny, and useful book about parenting and work. If you can add one more item to your towering to-do list, it should be to read this book." (AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All)

"Wise, warm, and well-adjusted, Kristin van Ogtrop untangles life's alphabet of chaos one letter at a time." (Ben Schott, author of Schott's Miscellany)

"A wise and witty thesaurus of marriage and parenthood. The ideal girlfriend gift." (Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean)

"Wise, moving and hilarious--and refreshingly (ok, staggeringly) honest--Just Let Me Lie Down captures the choas, ambivalence, and dagger-through-my-heart love felt by just about every working mother." (Cathi Hanauer, editor of The Bitch in the House and author of Sweet Ruin)

"A smart and hilarious primer for all those terminally over-committed moms who not only could use a laugh, but need one." (Steve Almond, author of Candy Freak and (Not That You Asked))

"A hysterical and touching handbook for frantic working moms." (Self magazine)

"Frank and funny." (Entertainment Weekly)

"van Ogtrop offers insightful advice with humor and warmth." (Marigne Dupuy, the Times-Picayune)

"Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, but pretty much dead on." (Tara Trower, "Mama Drama" columnist for The Austin American Statesman)

About the Author

Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor of Real Simple magazine and has held positions at Glamour, Vogue, Travel & Leisure, and Premiere. She lives outside New York City with her family.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316068284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316068284
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In a different format, I might have given this author 5 stars; she can write. However, please note that a "lexicon" for the half-insane working mom (from the back cover copy) means a dictionary. Terms are in alphabetical order followed by little essays in which she tries to be cute. On the plus side, you could read this in small batches of time (say, when your child is napping), but on the minus side, the book just doesn't gel together in any coherent way. But before you rate this review as "unhelpful," please take a look at an example from the book and you'll see what I mean:

"Conflict of interest: It's Sunday: you must take the dog to the park before 9:00 a.m. when he is allowed to be off the leash. Husband has soccer from 9:00 to 10:00; teenager has church confirmation class, also from 9:00 to 10:00. Teenager must be at soccer game one town over at 10:30. Middle child has church school from 10:00 to 11:00."
Add 8 more lines of this, and you have a sample entry. Is it "charming"? "Hilarious"? Well, the back cover says so, but I disagree.

If you look at the gushing reviews from other well-known authors, which is what got me hooked in the first place, you will see that someone mentions it would make a good gift. I should have read between the lines: this means it's gimicky. You can't dive into this book: it's just too shallow. Good for quick wading, but that's about it.
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Format: Hardcover
In the time since I became a mother seven years ago I have both worked and stayed home. I worked for the first year and a half of motherhood. After adding a second child to our family and trying a job sharing plan that didn't end up working out as planned which coincided with a decision to relocate across the country and sell our house (which meant I wouldn't be able to stay at that job anyway) I started staying home and I have been home now for a number of years. I know that the clock is starting to wind down to my going back to work outside of the home, but I also know in my heart that right now I am not ready to do that. This book works well for both working outside of the home moms and stay at home moms. I hate the fact that stay at home moms are viewed as not working, as if every day is a day off, but that is a whole different topic.

Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor at Real Simple Magazine and has been working since before her first child was born. Her writing is funny and easy to read. I got through the book in just a few days mostly while I was nursing my son or winding down before bed. Each chapter is arranged with a letter and alphabetical listings of terms for moms. Some examples are "accounting error" when you accidentally have one more child than you can handle, "boredom fantasy" when you remember back to when you were much younger and actually had enough free time to be bored, "ignore the tray" where you must act like a waiter and not look at all that is on your plate otherwise it will all tip- just keep you head up and keep going and you will be fine, and "that-sounds-like-fun-I'll-try it!
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1 Comment 22 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I made it about halfway through this book before putting it in the library sale. This is not a story or memior, but a lexion of mostly business jargon turned into mothering definitions. I guess that I am not the target audience - so who is? I would say Manhattan, wealthy, and career-driven. Her definitions were rambling and unrelateable at worst, mildly amusing at best.
Her advice for better child care? Spend more money. I don't know too many people that can spend the kind of money that she does anyway, let alone spend more. She feels that her children were just fine with her gone most of the time - seeing each other on evenings and weekends. Then the tone became that everyone's kids should be fine. Sorry sweetie, a lot of kids *can't* handle it. Thank you for heaping guilt on the mothers that scrape to get by because they want to be with their kids.
When Real Simple first started, it was a magazine to live a "good" life within budget. Now when I pick it up, there are $450 rain coats that will be "so last season" in a few months. This book has the same cosmopolitan unrelatable feel.
1 Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't know how I feel about this book. It seems to be very personal to the author herself, and not all of the definitions felt familiar to me. On the other hand, I've only been at this working mom thing for six months now. It's definitely another one in the genre of upper-middle-class moms, like so many other books. The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation made the point that most of these books miss the point of what it's like for families that don't have supportive husbands, nannies, or understanding workplaces. Nevertheless, I too am one of the privileged few who was able to stay home for maternity leave, has a safe and clean place to pump and a workplace that will give me a flexible schedule. And you know, I feel pretty lucky. This book on the other hand sometimes made me feel a little sad. The author seems so harried, and most of the definitions are about hurried, rushed, stressful situations. I think the book really focuses on some of the negative sides to parenting, and tries to make them funny. Sometimes it succeeds. However, reading anecdote after anecdote, I eventually started to feel a little down. Or maybe I felt lucky - after all, I'm not feeling "half-insane" yet. Then again, I only have one kid. Perhaps this book is incentive to keep it that way.
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