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When Did I Get Like This? Hardcover – April 6, 2010

106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Wilson’s got a light comic touch, but also traffics unflinchingly in the gross and the sad.” (Entertainment Weekly)

When Did I Get Like This? is a funny, heartwarming account by [a] frazzled young mother of three. This book will help [new mothers] remember that the worst day with children is better than the best day without them.” (The Washington Post)

“Amy Wilson’s hilarious, tender memoir of all the ways her children drive her crazy--and she drives herself crazy--had me laughing out loud with recognition. She captures the small moments of motherhood in a way that is both funny and thought-provoking.” (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)

“An honest, personal, and often hilarious collection of short, beautifully written chapters. As entertaining as it is reassuring.” (Christie Mellor, author of The Three-Martini Playdate)

“Reading Amy Wilson’s book is like meeting your favorite new mom friend: She’s whip-smart, charming, enviably capable but as self-doubting as the rest of us, and very, very funny.” (Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc.)

“Like Annie Hall wearing a nursing bra!” (New York Times (on the stage play))

From the Back Cover

When Did I Get Like This? is the hilarious story of one mother's struggle to shrug off the ridiculous standards of modern parenting, and remember how to enjoy her children

Over the last seven years of long days with little children, I have had many moments of joy, calm, and peaceful reverie.

This book is about the other moments.

Before I became a mother, failing at something did not shake my fundamental belief in my capabilities as a human being. But now that I am the mother of three children under the age of seven, I have one overriding daily thought: I suck at this.

What kind of mother feeds her kids dinosaur chicken nuggets? Three times a week? What kind of mother lets hand washing after using the toilet slide, as long as it was just Number One? And then I wonder: When did I get like this? Why do I doubt my parenting abilities, day after day? Why does motherhood, a job as old as Eve, have me teetering daily on the edge of sanity?

With each new stage of motherhood, I tell myself I will never again be suckered by the question, "Don't you want what's best for your children?" And yet, time after time, I am. Sometimes, I am right to obsess. Other times, the record will show, it has been distinctly counterproductive.

I'm working on it . . .

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061956953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061956959
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

AMY WILSON is the author of WHEN DID I GET LIKE THIS? (HarperCollins), for which she was chosen as an "Emerging Author" by Target, and of MOTHER LOAD, a one-woman show which toured to 16 cities after its hit off-Broadway run. She has contributed essays to the collections WEDDING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST and LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. For three years she has directed the New York City stage production of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, a 40-city series of live readings in honor of Mother's Day. As an actor, Amy co-starred in THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO on Broadway, appeared as a series regular on two sitcoms (DADDIO and NORM), and has guest starred in many other TV shows and films. She has written for magazines like Redbook and Parenting, and websites like CNN, NPR, and The New York Times. She blogs at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A few days ago my wife walked into our living room and tossed this book on the coffee table, it sliding down to meet my feet, and she said "thank you", with a smile that read `honesty' plastered across her face. The "thank you" she uttered was because, a few weeks ago, I handed her this book as we were getting on a plane. Being pregnant with baby number two has not been the easiest time in the world for my wife. Her first pregnancy was spectacular. She was never sick, always feeling fresh and happy, so much so that she would make comments like "I wish I could stay pregnant forever". She was in heaven. This pregnancy has been a complete 180. She is sick every night, always feeling run down and tired and depressed. She has been stressing over getting older, feeling as though being a mother is going to take away her youth.

I thought that this would help. Thankfully it did.

With her approval and strong recommendation (and the fact that I needed to read it before I could review it), I pried open this book and sunk my teeth in, and I never wanted to stop. I gobbled up every page as quickly as they came. I was so absorbed in this little book because it was SO true.

I think I should state right off that I am a VERY hands-on dad. Ever since my wife got pregnant with baby number one, I have read every parenting book she had. I attended all the classes willingly. I am in charge of bedtimes. I give the baths. Basically, when I come home from work, that baby (now nearly 3) is mine. Being a father is something that I have always known I wanted, and it is something I have never taken for granted. So, when reading this book I knew exactly what Amy was talking about, because I am just as much a `mother' and my wife.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Digbee VINE VOICE on May 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is marketed as a hilarious account of being a mother of young children. Since I picked it up thinking that's what it is, I guess the marketing is effective. One or two of the chapters are funny but most of them are memoirs of motherhood. Various other adjectives come to mind, including "heartwarming" and in some cases "bittersweet," but don't buy looking for a modern Erma Bombeck.

Wilson is a mother of two boys and a girl who lives in Manhattan. An actress by profession, she took some time off to be a full-time mom. (The book overlaps with her one-woman Off-Broadway show, so she's apparently returned to at least part-time work.) Her husband works twelve-hour days in the financial sector and is nearly invisible in the book. But the family has resources: they can rent a house in the country for six weeks or so every summer and send the kids to day camps while they're at it. They can go on week-long vacations skiing or to Disney World. Wilson gets babysitter support, and I will guess other support in the household. They can afford a lot of "Mommy and Me" classes, among other activities. In short, they are pretty darned affluent people, so their challenges are different from other people's challenges.

In literary terms, this background affects some of the characterization of other people (and herself). She will define some people and activities by brand names - - people who buy baby clothes brand X or Y, or shop at maternity store Z. That's not my world, and I have no idea what those brand names mean. Fortunately, it's not a central focus of the book.

The real strength of the book is Wilson's interweaving of stories and her own reflections.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nicki Heskin VINE VOICE on July 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was recently privileged to read Amy Wilson's excellent new exploration of modern middle-class motherhood, "When Did I Get Like This? The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be" by New York actress-turned-writer Amy Wilson.

Rather than the typical, slightly whiny attacks on the "cult of motherhood" or attached parenting I have come to expect in these sorts of books, this one was amazingly personal and authentic. Amy Wilson is funny, to be sure, but in a heart-warming sort of way. She doesn't really advocate for any particular view or theory of parenting, but addresses many aspects of modern motherhood in balanced, storytelling sort of way that made me feel by the end of the book that she'd become one of my close women friends with whom I chat about this sort of thing all the time.

She starts out the book with three chapters on pregnancy - getting pregnant/fertility issues, diet during pregnancy and birth/birth plans. They are just lovely chapters, touching on the stress mothers face over trying to control and plan events that are ultimately out of our control - when, how and in what state of health our new babies will arrive. Yes, there are many things we can do to influence this - healthy diets, Bradley classes, prenatal care, etc. But giving oneself up to pregnancy and labor is a big part of learning that life with children will never be entirely in our control in the way that college-educated, middle class career women have come to think everything should be.

As a lactation educator, I was nervous wading into her chapter on breastfeeding, "Nipple Confusion." But the words I slightly wept through were some of the most balanced, authentic and moving I have ever read on the experience.
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