‘Cookies for Dinner’, guest post and book review…

What do airplane toilets, a crow-fearing husband, engorged breasts, creaking floor boards, toilet-clogging poohs and animal sanitary products all have in common? Believe it or not, they are all elements of motherhood as described by Pam Johnson-Bennett and Kae Allen in their new book, Cookies for Dinner.


The book covers the period from pre birth/adoption to around five years of age, and each chapter is divided into stand alone anecdotes, which is a perfect structure if you don’t have the luxury of devoting hours to your reading habit.

I volunteered to do an open and honest review of this book for ‘Chick Lit Plus’ and the main reason I wanted to read it was because of the title – Cookies for Dinner really appealed to the mother in me. I was curious to see just how honest other mothers would be about their experiences on Planet Mum, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This book is a MUST for all  to-be mums, first time mums, experienced mums and grandmothers because it is not only hilarious, but heart warming, open,  honest and bridges the gap between being a ‘text book’ perfect mother and a real mother. Even Dads will get a laugh out of it, and an insight into the true world of motherhood.

I laughed until I cried, numerous times, not only because of the humourous writing, but because I could relate to the vast majority of these experiences. Whose child hasn’t suffered diahorrea at an inconvenient time or place? Who hasn’t had to pre-empt an oncoming tantrum in the shopping centre? Who hasn’t battled toilet training, breast feeding, and long family drives encumbered with various crises? The difference is that Pam and Kae write about their experiences with nitty gritty, open, all out clean honesty. There is no cookie left unturned here.

But what impressed me most about these ladies, was the innovative and unconventional ways in which they solved their varied crises. Duct tape. A garden hose. Re-engineered jumpsuits. Sippy cup envy.  I’ll leave you to connect the dots.

There’s something very special about this book, something that crosses cultural differences, geographical boundaries, religions, political views, age and even the great divide between working and stay at home mums. This book brings us together as mothers – women who do the hardest job in the world, who give of themselves every day to the people we adore. It allows us to laugh, relate and feel a little less alone in our struggle to be the best mums possible.

If it’s Gross and Disgusting, We’ve Touched it!

Hi Pam and Kae, and welcome to the blog. Can you tell us a little about motherhood from your pespective?

From Pam: If you know me then you’re well aware of the fact that I am a germophobic woman with just enough OCD to provide my family with hours of entertainment as they watch me attempt to sterilize the world. My journey during the writing of “Cookies for Dinner” was really an eye-opener for me and I have to pat myself on the back (because no one else will, I’m sure) because as I started working on the stories I realized I have touched a lot of gross of disgusting things as a mom!

When dreaming of motherhood I knew there would be diapers, scraped knees, some amount of blood, sickness, crying, tantrums and other unpleasant things but I wasn’t prepared for how much. When preparing my sweet baby for bed at night I had no idea that I was holding a child who was planning to decorate the walls of her room with her own excrement. I had no idea that my initial response to a child throwing up on my sofa would be to hold out my hands in order to limit the damage done to my furniture. I certainly wasn’t prepared for pulling dead spiders out of my daughter’s tangled hair (the spiders were a present from her brother) with my bare hands while trying to avoid hearing damage due to her intense screaming. I have had boogers shot at my face from the nose of a sneezing child while he lay in my arms and have landed flat on my butt on the bathroom floor due to poorly aimed peeing attempts by my potty-training son.

Ahh yes, motherhood… I love it… blood, vomit, pee, poop, boogers and all. Ok, maybe “love” isn’t quite the right word there.

From Kae: When I was pregnant with my first child, Matthew, my grandmother pulled me aside at a family function and told me with intense sincerity, “Just remember dear, everything that comes out of a baby’s body is good for your complexion.” At the time, I thought it was an odd comment, but I accepted the advice even though I had no idea what she meant. It only took a couple days of motherhood for that saying to become my mantra during gross motherhood moments.

I thought of it when I had to wear a washcloth on one hand like a catcher’s mitt every time I changed Matthew’s diaper because the cold air on his “fire hose” always made him pee. I used it when Christina would nurse a full meal and then inevitably proceed to projectile vomit down the front of my shirt while I attempted to burp her. With three lactose intolerant kids, one of which has intense motion sickness, I have cleaned up more than my fair share of gross messes. Once it involved a garden hose and once it involved the hot air hand dryer in a restaurant bathroom. Funny thing is, since I had my kids I have never had a break-out of acne. My grandmother must have been right. It seems that everything from snot to faeces was good for my complexion.

A boy’s emotional depth…the shallow end of the pool…

Like most other parents over the Christmas school holidays, I’ve been a taxi driver for my boys. They’ve attended sports days, had days at their friend’s house, been to the beach to do a spot of surfing and yesterday, attended a ‘Zookeeper for a Day’ activity at our local Zoo. Needless to say, we’ve spent a lot of time in the car getting from place to place with some pretty interesting conversations taking place.

Yesterday, the boys asked me why we have to wear seat belts when driving in the car. I explained that the seat belt holds you in your seat in the event of an accident and that it is the law.

“So what would happen if you weren’t wearing one?” Lachlan asked.

“I would probably go flying through the windscreen and end up badly injured,” I replied, not wanting to be overly graphic, but not tap dancing around the subject either. It’s important for them to be aware of safety. “And that wouldn’t be very good for you boys, would it?” I finished.

“No, definitely not,” said one son. I felt kind of chuffed, albeit in a morbid kind of way, that he was so protective of me. Then he continued, “because we don’t know the way home from here and none of us are old enough to drive the car.”

Really? That’s the worst thing? You won’t be able to get home? Gee, sorry to ruin your travel plans. Where did I go wrong? They are supposed to cherish and adore me – boys always love their mums. What about something like, ‘that would be bad because we love you more than anything and would never want you to be hurt’???

“Are you kidding me?” I said. “That’s why it would be bad for you lot? That’s the only reason?” Come on! I know that you are boys, but seriously…

Lachlan added, “don’t be silly.” Ah, thankyou – someone who cares about me. “If mum crashed the car then no one would be able to drive it anywhere, because it would be, like, all broken and stuff. “ Five year old logic at work.

Silence from me, other than the sound of my heart breaking, and the suppression of a giggle.

“Ethan, do you have anything to add to this discussion, being the eldest?” I asked. He is a softie, an emotionally overt boy, surely he’d say something nice? “Ummm, it would also be bad because…ummm…well…Dad can’t cook and we’d probably starve to death if you weren’t there to make the food.”


“Well now, “ I say, “that’s just extra motivation for me to ensure that I buckle up properly, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want you lot to arrive home LATE for an INEDIBLE dinner, would I?”

So, what should I take away from this discussion? I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying that they like my cooking? And that they appreciate arriving places on time? That they know the truth about their father’s cooking? I know one thing for sure… I better get some real, super-loved-up, kick arse mother’s day drawings and cards next year to make up for this blunder. Emotional cripples.