Show me a mum who claims she hasn’t, at some point while mothering in contemporary Australia, fantasised about how much easier life would be if she formed a commune with other mums… and I will show you a liar.
That commune fantasy is the basis of Tori Haschka’s fantastic debut, Grace Under Pressure (Simon & Schuster, 2021).
The story follows mum pals Grace, Petra and Shelley, who are all suffering in their own individual domestic spheres until one day each of them finally cracks.
Each of the three women, kids in tow, decides to forsake their respective *disappointing* male spouses/landlords/overlords and go it alone.
Only they’re not alone! They move into Grace’s home together, where they construct a maternal commune, or ‘mummune’.
In the mummune, they share everything: the chores, the childcare and the mental load of mothering.
At first things run like clockwork, and the reader is caught wondering how quickly she could set up her own mummune.
BUT… all is not as utopian as it seems.
In the looming shadow of pestering exes and financial reality checks, and with a new baby on the way, can the spirit of this Amazonian compound triumph?
I loved this book! It had everything: hilarity, female solidarity, and a good thwack of hard truths about mothering in the age of Instagram.
Tori Haschka has a gift for weaving together the more absurd moments of modern parenting with the serious consequences of the cultural push towards perfection.
In amongst the mummune fun, big issues bubble to the surface – domestic violence, postnatal depression and the exploitation of unpaid maternal work.
This was such a rich and invigorating read, and I highly recommend it.