Instant Mom

( 9 )


Instant Mom is a hilarious and touching memoir, chronicling how Nia Vardalos broke into the film industry, had dinner with the Queen of England, and then, impossibly, found her daughter when she was almost three years old. Even before she was filming My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Vardalos firmly believed she was supposed to be a mother. But as time went by, she realized that modern medicine and Mother Nature had her in a headlock. Suddenly, she made a choice that shocked friends, family, and even herself: with only ...

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Instant Mom

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Instant Mom is a hilarious and touching memoir, chronicling how Nia Vardalos broke into the film industry, had dinner with the Queen of England, and then, impossibly, found her daughter when she was almost three years old. Even before she was filming My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Vardalos firmly believed she was supposed to be a mother. But as time went by, she realized that modern medicine and Mother Nature had her in a headlock. Suddenly, she made a choice that shocked friends, family, and even herself: with only fourteen hours' notice, she adopted a preschooler. Vardalos is refreshingly candid about what happened next. She wittily explores challenges all new parents face, plus includes a comprehensive how-to-adopt section. Ultimately, Nia Vardalos realizes that "some families are created in different ways, but are still, in every way, a family."

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Editorial Reviews

Rachel Dratch
“I expected to laugh. I didn’t expect to cry. And I certainly didn’t expect to laugh and cry on the same page. Instant Mom is for anyone whose life plan didn’t follow the path they anticipated, and shows us that unexpected obstacles can lead to beautiful rewards.”
“Funny, smart,and full of grounded wisdom that shines much-needed light on adoption I couldn’t stop reading this hilarious and gripping rollercoaster of a story. Nia is an authentic, rocking female role model in so many ways...and being an instant mom is just one of them.”
Kristin Chenoweth
An instant classic. Refreshingly candid for all parents-plus anyone considering adoption.(I was adopted!) We know Nia is many things: writer, actress, director, musical theaterlover! Here, though, you learn she is a mom first. Pure, beautiful honesty.”
“Readers can feel the tension between desire to share her joy and good fortune and wish to maintain her child’s privacy. Vardalos offers candor, humor, and poignancy in her account of adoption and parenthood as she pokes fun at parenting memoirs but delivers on emotional impact.”
New York Times’ Motherlode Blog
“If you have ever considered bringing a child who isn’t an infant into your family, it’s the book you’ll want to read. And if you just enjoy a good, honest memoir, it’s the book for you, too.”
Kirkus Reviews
A humorous celebrity parenting story. Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, etc.) had a successful career writing and acting in films, a loving husband, a close-knit family and good friends, but she was missing one thing many women find impossible to live without: a child. Years of fertility treatments left her exhausted and distressed--until she decided to investigate the "fost-adopt" system: the option to adopt a child in the U.S. foster-care program. Within hours of a match, the inexperienced author found herself the mother of a nontalking toddler. "Of course there isn't a baby shower," she writes. "It's not just that there isn't time for one, it's because I hate them. I have left one too many stuffy houses on a Sunday afternoon with a throatful of egg salad and an empty aching uterus to inflict this same abuse on others." Suddenly, Vardalos' life was turned upside down as she learned to navigate the laugh-out-loud and painful-in-the-shins moments of raising a scared 3-year-old child. The author holds nothing back as she chronicles the years leading up to the adoption, and she recounts the minute details of the first year of life as a mother, as her daughter began to learn how to love and trust her new surroundings. Vardalos provides solid information on the foster-care system and includes an appendix of questions and answers on all types of adoption. Parents will relate but may find the situation too similar to their own child-rearing adventures to consider the author's experiences unique. A heartwarming tale of adoption and unconditional love.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062231840
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 244,249
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nia Vardalos

Nia Vardalos is the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated writer and actress of such films as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Connie and Carla, My Life in Ruins, and I Hate Valentine's Day, and co-writer with Tom Hanks of Larry Crowne. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, and donates Instant Mom proceeds to adoption charities.

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Read an Excerpt

Instant Mom

By Nia Vardalos

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Nia Vardalos
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-223183-3



It's late 2008 and I'm lying on the couch at my home, holding my three-year-old daughter as she cries. We're both gasping for breath.

Just a minute ago, I was standing in the kitchen as she walked by, sucking on a hard candy. She was happily jumping on the couch, when she suddenly grabbed her neck and looked at me. The candy had lodged in her throat. She tried to swallow it. She couldn't breathe. She was white.

Being a parent requires courage and, unfortunately, I'm a bit of a sucky 'fraidy-cat'. I sleep with a light on. I get out of an elevator if I'm alone when a man gets in. I never walk down back alleys. But in that moment, like anyone would, I ran toward my daughter. I knew exactly what to do, because to adopt, you have to take a first aid course. I knew not to put a finger in her throat and push that candy even farther in. I knew not to touch any part of her neck. I knew not to panic. I just grabbed my daughter, turned her upside down, and jumped — and finally that candy fell out.

She breathed. She cried. She was okay.

Now, as I am lying on this couch, holding her against my body, we both breathe in. And out. I try to relax so she'll feel soothed, comforted, and safe. I try to think of what else I should do now. I don't know. I wonder if the feeling of being an adult, being a grown up will ever come naturally to me.

I love being in charge. I am completely comfortable whether I'm throwing a giant dinner party or directing a micro-budget independent film. I don't get stressed and I don't yell. I like to calmly problem-solve and enjoy getting things done. However, as a grown up in sophisticated situations, I am not completely at ease. In scenarios that require decorum and restraint, I usually want to make a fart joke and run. But, as a mom, I try to act like an adult, especially at this moment. Tight against each other, my daughter and I eventually calm down, now listening to our hearts beating. We are very still. I realize this is what it might have felt like if I'd grown her inside me. She would have heard my heart beating; I would have felt her move. Instead, I met my daughter just recently. I've only been her mom for a few months. The adoption isn't even finalized. Anyone who ever wondered how much they could love a child who did not spring from their own loins, know this: it is the same. The feeling of love is so profound, it's incredible and surprising. I love my daughter so much I want to carry her around in my mouth.

As I'm holding her now, I am in an emotional place I'm not used to. I feel content.

This is new. It's not at all how I felt for a very long time. For years, I felt exactly the opposite.

Excerpted from Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos. Copyright © 2013 by Nia Vardalos. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    Instant Mom...Instant Love! If you are a mom of a foster child,

    Instant Mom...Instant Love!
    If you are a mom of a foster child, have ever contemplated adoption, or have friends that have adopted, then YOU need to read this book!! If you are a mom, want to be a mom, are a woman…then you will want to read this book, too! This book is hilarious, and is filled with moments where you will cry, and you will be highlighting and taking notes, and wanting to try some of the zany things she does for her daughter.

    Nia adopted her little girl at 3 years old and brings up great points: how can we love an abused and abandoned animal that we adopt, but feel that a child is less of value and is damaged goods??? Granted, not every person is called to adopt, but every child deserves a forever home. Nia shares her journey with unsuccessful fertility treatments and how emotionally overwhelming it all was. After so many years of trying to have a biological child, she decided to venture into the world of adoption. She chronicles her journey of looking at the various types of adoption: international, private, and foster care adoption. She gives a staggering number of children available in the U.S., who are available for adoption and who are in foster homes waiting for their forever homes.

    Nia describes the bonding process, developing attachment with her little girl, and describes the way she and her husband became a family the day her daughter entered their lives. I loved some of the funny moments Nia shares, too!! I also loved that she shared her personal experiences with creating a bedtime ritual, having family time when out and about the community (paparazzi stories), and adjusting to preschool. Nia creates this funny game to develop bonding (baking, anyone?), and just their crazy, fun way of playing at home. I also loved the story Nia tells her daughter about how she prayed and wanted a little girl and how they became a family.

    I love the very easy, simple to use ideas that she did and shares with her readers, and I love the resources she gives at the end of the book. Overall, this was an excellent read and I hope that Nia will consider writing more!!----Books in the Burbs

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    We met Nia at the Framingham Mass. Barnes & Noble book signi

    We met Nia at the Framingham Mass. Barnes & Noble book signing a few days ago.  She was a delight to talk to!  I haven't ever been to a signing, (and certainly never a signing where the author is also a movie star!)   I was petrified to ask her about my concerns.  But,  She was so kind, and so funny, and very down to earth.. she took the time to answer our questions.

    I started the book on that Friday night, and finished it on Sunday.   It was such a great quick read!  It was informative, but also hilarious!  It reads like part funny story at a party, and part adoption guide.  In the back of the book she has a whole chapter on Adoption Q&A,  a TON of great information there.

    Thank you so much Nia for writing this book, and for getting your BIG FAT MOUTH out there!   We are at the very beginning stages of the adoption process, and this book took a lot of "THE EDGE" (nail biting anxiety!)  off!

    -Alison Smith 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Twisted Stories 4

    I need people to be friends of Lidia when she gets to hogwarts. Please go to gouhl and read my post there and do what it says. Alsi the next part will be at harry potter res seven. Thanks! I smiled because I liked the name Tiger but it didn't seem to fit the tawny owl. So instead of saying that outloud I just nodded and payed with some of the wierd looking coins and left with the two professors. I extremely happy to leave this place because it was very scary! I was so happy to see my mom and hugged her. I didn't care if I looked like a fool infront of the four proffesors. I just felt glad to be back. "So can we get in?" Professor Heartmouth asked. I nod and stepped to the side and let them in first and then me with me two pets. When we got home I excitedly poured out the whole story to Abby and Hannah (who just got home from her friend's house). Hannah sighed and said,"You are sooo immature for your age." With that sunny attitude sge turned on her heel and stalked off to her bedroom. Abby sighed and turned to look at me,"Hannah is such a meanie." I had never and my whole life heard my nine year old sister (10 on September 5th) say anything so true. I nodded in agreement then I got up and said,"Well I guess I can be pretty immature at times." "No you arn't!" Abby squealed. "Thanks,"I say knowing Abby was just saying that because we're sisters. Tomorrow was my sister's birthday which means disaster day but in other words it means Hannah gets whatever she wants an we're her sevants. I decide to go to my bedroom and read a book or maybe I can sneak out my little broken clock and turn it into a tiny spear which I did when I was little. I smile at the thought of it and sped up the stairs to my bed. I changed into a plain navy blue tanktop and jenggins. I open up my purse and took out the clock. I touched it and it swirled into the air and then kanded with no sound on my palm. In the clock's place was a tiny spear. Razor leapt up beside me and sniffed it but as soon as his nose touched it, he backed away. I smile and say,"Are you big black cat afraid of a tiny clock?" I then put the spear down on my nightstand and picked up Razor and hugged him. The soft fer tickled my face. I kissed him on the head and let go and ge scampered off. I smile then look out the window. The sky was dark and you could just see the thin gray clouds move. I try to make shapes out of them. I see a truck that looked as if a giant head was sticking out. I laughed and fell off my bed! I then scrambled back up and looked out the window again. There was a cloud the shape of a winged horse. Very disturbing. I sigh and think I'm hallusinating and lay down in my bed. Again, the disturbing thought about who was my biolodgical father raced into my mind. I try to push it away like I usually do but the thought sat there like a hen roosting. I closed my eyes hoping that will gelp but it doesn't. I hear the door open and I open my eyes to see Abby. "We're watching a movie and we would like you to join us!"She exclaims. I nodded a sure then slid off my bed and took a look at the window. Was the winged horse coming closer or was that just my imagination. I shrug off the thought and went downstairs with my sister. Tonight, it seemed as if all my worties were crawling back into my brain. Somehow, i knew it was going to be a restless night.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Instant Mom is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award

    Instant Mom is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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  • Posted April 17, 2013

    Enjoyed a lot.

    Enjoyed a lot.

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    Posted April 20, 2013

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    Posted February 25, 2014

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    Posted June 14, 2013

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    Posted June 5, 2013

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