Even God Had Bad Parenting Days

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Product Details
$24.95  $23.20
Behrman House Publishing
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.7 X 1.0 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Alicia Jo Rabins is an award-winning performer, musician, poet, and Jewish scholar whose recent film, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, is being exhibited at film festivals throughout the US, most recently at the New York Jewish Film Festival. Her writing appears in Kveller, Ecotone Magazine, Tablet Magazine, and American Poetry Review, among others.


She is a 2020 Literary Arts Fellow in Poetry and has fellowships from RACC, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. Rabins graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College (Creative Writing), holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson, and an MA in Jewish Women's and Gender Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Winner of the 2015 American Poetry Review/Honickman Book Prize, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, she is also the author of Divinity School and Fruit Geode, and creator of Girls in Trouble, an indie rock song cycle about biblical women. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

"Warm, witty, and wise, Alicia Jo Rabins offers essential
advice to parents. Her interpretation of ancient stories suffuses family
struggles--both mundane and profound--with beauty and wonder."
--Vanessa Hua,
author of Forbidden City.

"Alicia Jo Rabins has given parents a gift of insight,
solace, solidarity, and care in this exquisite volume of spiritual nourishment.
This book is a blessing for anyone in the trenches of life with littles."
--Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, author of Nurture the Wow and On
Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World.

Do you ever have days when you feel like the least orga-nized
par-ent at drop-off?
When you're cer-tain that if you hear the word ​"why"
from your tod-dler one more time you'll scream? When you just want to dis-ap-pear
into a dark, qui-et room and hide from the chaos hap-pen-ing in your home?
Or even con-sid-er whether hav-ing kids was a good idea?These are the sorts of ques-tions that Ali-cia Jo Rabins
asks and answers in her new book
, Even God Had Bad Par-ent-ing Days, while
using Jew-ish wis-dom -- gleaned from the Torah, midrashim, Tal-mud, and oth-er
ancient texts -- to explore the not-so-Insta-gram-wor-thy ele-ments of twen-ty-first
cen-tu-ry par-ent-ing. An accom-plished artist, per-former, writer, and Torah
teacher, Rabins has craft-ed a deeply relat-able, com-fort-ing guide for
any-one who ever feels over-whelmed by par-ent-hood. Writ-ing of the High Hol-i-day
songs that so often paint God as the ulti-mate patient and lov-ing par-ent-fig-ure,
she says, ​"I con-fess that this idea of act-ing with infi-nite com-pas-sion
feels firm-ly beyond my reach. And that's why, from a parent's per-spec-tive,
I actu-al-ly find it com-fort-ing to remem-ber that God -- as described in
the Torah -- is impa-tient, imper-fect, and some-times down-right pis-sy," such
as when Korah is jeal-ous of Moses and Aaron's lead-er-ship roles. ​"Does
God calm-ly say, ​'Tell me more about what you're feel-ing'? No, God does
not. Instead God opens up a giant hole in the ground" that swal-lows him
whole. The point, of course, is not to advo-cate for crap-py par-ent-ing, but
to help par-ents and care-givers feel less alone in moments when rais-ing
a child is hard and patience wears thin.One of the book's strengths is that it is orga-nized into
short, the-mat-ic chap-ters
-- most of them only three or four pages long -- that
are quick reads, acces-si-ble to even the most sleep-deprived, time-strapped
par-ent. Rabins cou-ples her own tri-umphs and chal-lenges with Jew-ish teach-ings,
a cre-ative deci-sion that pro-vides com-fort with-out com-ing across as
patron-iz-ing or false-ly opti-mistic. For instance, Even God Had Bad Parenting Days does
not shy away from mat-ters like the author's post-par-tum depres-sion, lone-li-ness,
and finan-cial strain. This authen-tic-i-ty sets Even God Had Bad Parenting Days apart from
oth-er par-ent-ing books. It reads as though it has been writ-ten by an expe-ri-enced
mom friend who's seen it all, who lis-tens with-out judg-ment, and who always
offers the best response to life's dif-fi-cul-ties -- even if that response is
just to rub your back and say she under-stands. Par-ent-ing can feel like
a lone-ly, stress-ful endeav-or, but Even God Had Bad Parenting Days will make any par-ent
or care-giv-er feel seen, under-stood, and more inti-mate-ly con-nect-ed to Jew-ish
teachings. --Leah Grisham, The Jewish Book Council