Author Sarah Barstow was working with illustrator Ruth Turner on the book “Moms Need a Break” when the pandemic hit, and both women – both mothers of small children – found themselves working at home, collaborating on the book remotely, while also juggling the care of their little ones.
The pandemic led to big changes in both women’s lives as they worked to balance the needs of their families: Barstow sold her Moab business and Turner moved across the country. But, while the launch of the book was pushed back a bit, “Moms Need a Break” is now available for purchase.
While the book is written for children to enjoy, it is also meant to be fun for parents.
“This book is dedicated to all parents,” reads the introductory page, “especially these days when a global pandemic has made parenting even more complicated and stressful.”
Barstow said it is a book that any caregiver of babies and toddler can relate to, but particularly those who, like herself, are spending quite a bit more time with their children these days due to pandemic-caused work and childcare shake-ups. She said the book pokes fun at and finds humor in “the more challenging moments that you don’t laugh about when they’re happening, but that you hopefully laugh about later on.”
“The premise is that you love your child so much that it hurts, but they do things that make you pull your hair out!” she said.
For example, in the book, a tired mother attempts to sit for a moment at the kitchen table – which her busy toddler uses as an opportunity to climb up to the cookies atop the refrigerator.
Barstow said she is having plenty of moments like that these days.
“I think down the road I will be grateful for this year, having all this time with my small son,” she said.
Then laughing, she added, “But in the meantime, the days are long.”
Barstow said she wants readers to know: “You’re not alone. We’ve all had these days.”
“Moms Need a Break” is a companion book to Barstow’s first publication, “Moms Can’t Get Sick,” which came out last year. Barstow said she had the idea for both books during a “delirium of fever” while also caring for her sick son.
She said she thought at the time that she could “only be sick when he’s napping,” and the idea for both her books came from this experience.
Barstow said she would like to also write a third book one day, which would be a humorous counting book that she might title, “Moms Count, Too,” meant to have a double meaning.
“Counting the food you threw on the floor or the hours you kept me up at night,” she said with a laugh.
Turner is an accomplished artist with a BFA in Industrial Design from MassArt and about a decade of experience selling handcrafted leather wares under the name Rusted Antler Designs. She has also created many murals, such as one featuring unicorns and a vibrant landscape in Moab’s Rotary Park.
“Moms Can’t Get Sick” is priced at $8 and “Moms Need a Break” at $12. The books may be purchased at several Moab locations including Back of Beyond Books (83 N. Main St.), Wanderlust (59 S. Main St. # 5) and Canyonlands Copy Center (375 S. Main). They may also be purchased directly from Barstow (who will sign books upon request) by calling 435-210-0589 or emailing email@example.com.