Mother's Daze

Jane Isfeld Still

Cedar Fort Inc.

Local woman pens book on funny side of motherhood


Last March, as Jane Still prepared to read her humor essay at WordFest, she was apprehensive. Would the subject (breastfeeding) be appropriate? Would the men find this an opportune moment to go check the parking meter? Most importantly, would people laugh?

She needn’t have worried. People laughed as she began reading and they continued laughing to the end. The enthusiastic response gave her the confidence to send off her collection of essays about motherhood to several publishers.

One year later: At the May WordFest, Jane will be launching her book, Mother’s Daze, published by Cedar Fort Inc. You don’t need to be a mother to enjoy the book; to have had a mother is probably sufficient.

Taking a course in childhood development, she and her husband Rick decided they were now ready to become parents (“In my pre-baby days I was an authority on everything I knew nothing about.”) In short witty chapters, she describes her experiences: on being pregnant (“I was the size of a small apartment building and hadn’t seen my feet for weeks.”); on choosing a name that her son will have to live with for the rest of his life (“How can you sleep at a time like this?” she shouts at her husband. “Don’t you realize we need to name little Anonymous?”); on the subtle transformation that was taking place within her (“Motherhood had changed me. Most women became nurturing and unselfish. For me, it brought out my criminal tendencies.”)

Jane’s humor is that kind that makes one laugh while at the same time deepens one’s understanding. With a candor that is both funny and poignant, she shares the paradox of emotions we all experience (“Rick didn’t bring me any flowers. Just because we were on a student budget and I said I’d be mad if he spent money on flowers was no reason not to bring me some.”)

 As she enters motherhood, Jane realizes, like many before her, that being a parent is going to be a journey for which there are no reliable maps (“I want my money back from that stupid child development class.”)

This book is the perfect Mother’s Day gift—to give to one’s children and husband, perhaps with a note attached: “And this is my side of the story.” It will make them laugh—and maybe help them understand.


This review first appeared in The Columbia River Reader (March 15-April 14, 2010). Reprinted with permission.