It's not the best-kept secret that parenthood is hard, and for many different reasons. Whether it's the actual act of giving birth, the constant sleep deprivation, the financial obligations, or just the sheer stress of being in charge of another human being, there are plenty of reasons you might be thrilled not to be a parent — now or ever. But one unexpected silver lining for those of us who do not currently wish to be parents? Not having to deal with parental politics.
The story isn't exactly new: Some parents are desperate for their children to attend the most elite schools. I mean, just look at the college admissions scam happen. But stories like The Cut's July 8 piece about the cinema-worthy administrative conflict at Brooklyn's Grace Church School only continue to drive the point home: When it comes to parenthood, sometimes, hell is other parents. And that's the sort of drama you really don't need in your own life right now.
But that certainly doesn't mean you can't read about it. The five books below all deal the world of private school admissions, parental competition, and the drama that comes with it all:
'Class Mom' by Laurie Gelman
Jen Dixon is not your typical kindergarten class mom. She already has two college-age daughters, so when she enrolls five-year-old Max in school, it's her second time around the block. Though the PTA President thinks Jen is the best candidate for class mom, not all of the parents agree. And soon, the job becomes more than she signed up for.
'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' by Maria Semple
Though told through the eyes of Bernadette's daughter Bee, this story captures the dark side of parental perfection. After a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, Bernadette disappears. Bee begin to weave together an elaborate web of Bernadette's emails, invoices, and school memos, learning about a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades.
'How to Party with an Infant' by Kaui Hart Hemmings
As a single mom in San Francisco, Mele Bart navigates the mommy minefields to the best of her ability. But when her ex-husband returns with shocking news, Mele finds a distraction in a cookbook-writing contest sponsored by the San Francisco Mommy Club. She interviews members of her parenting group for inspiration – to unexpectedly explosive results.
'The Glitch' by Elisabeth Cohen
Shelley Stone is a married mother of two high-achieving children, and the head of a successful tech company. She takes takes 2 a.m. conference calls, naps standing up, and has constant panic attacks. So when Shelley meets a woman named Shelley Stone who has the same scar on her shoulder, Shelley wonders: Is she finally buckling under the pressure?
'Small Admissions' by Amy Poeppel
When grad student Kate Pearson’s life falls apart, she accepts a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. She is instantly thrown into a highly competitive and often absurd culture, where she interviews children and deals with Park Avenue parents who won't take "no" for an answer.