Secret Mothers' Business, by Joanne Fedler

What happens when eight women get together for a sleepover with no husbands, no kids, a sumptuous feast and an awfully large tub of frozen daiquiris?

When writer and mother Joanne Fedler had a sleepover with a group of her friends, she did so as a welcome break from the daily grind of being a mother and wife, not as the opportunity to gather material for her next book. However, out of that night came the beginnings of a book which every mother will both relate to and enjoy.

This is a fictionalised account of an evening which brought together eight very different women. Some are working mothers, some not. One is divorced, the others married – though some more happily than others. A couple are financially comfortable, others struggle to provide for their families. What they have in common is their children – their friendship began when their children attended the same kindergarten.

In one night of feasting and drinking, the women lay themselves bare – talking about all aspects of motherhood, from breastfeeding and toilet training, to previously unspeakable thoughts of violence. There is also talk of sex, of body image and more.

This is an account which is at times funny, at others heart-wrenching, but at all times thought-provoking. Every mother who reads this book will find herself confronted with aspects of herself, perhaps even ones that she had previously not recognised.

This is an excellent read.

Secret Mothers’ Business, by Joanne Fedler
Allen & Unwin, 2006