''Falling Apart in One Piece,'' ''Just Let Me Lie Down,'' and ''When Did I Get This Old?'' reflect on jobs, marriage, and children

By Tina Jordan
Updated March 26, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

These memoirs — written by working moms — aren’t exactly sugarcoated. They veer between the sweet and the sour (and, occasionally, the downright peppery) as the women reflect on their marriages, their children, and their jobs.

Falling Apart in One Piece Stacy Morrison
The Poop Morrison, the hard-charging editor in chief of Redbook, delivers a moving, deeply self-critical look at her marriage and divorce.
Most Egregious Parenting Lapse Spent two days making an ornate cake for her son’s birthday while ”Zack whined at my feet…and my mother-in-law…wondered aloud why I was making the cake because all Zack really wanted was me.”
The Lowdown There are times when you won’t like Morrison much. But you won’t be able to stop reading her story.

Just Let Me Lie Down Kristin van Ogtrop
The Poop Van Ogtrop, editor of EW’s sister publication REAL SIMPLE, has written not a memoir but a dictionary of terms that define working moms, weaving her story into the entries.
Most Egregious Parenting Lapse Left her 8-year-old at church: ”I didn’t assume he was in the car with another family member…I just forgot him.”
The Lowdown Frank and funny: Van Ogtrop confesses at one point that she hasn’t cleaned the kitchen floor in years, letting the family dog do it instead.

When Did I Get Like This? Amy Wilson
The Poop Cheerfully admitting ”I suck at this,” Wilson, an actress, details her mothering mishaps and neuroses.
Most Egregious Parenting Lapse In her own words: ”What kind of mother lets hand washing after using the toilet slide, as long as it was just Number One?”
The Lowdown Wilson’s got a light comic touch, but she also traffics unflinchingly in the gross and in the sad (the scene in which her oldest child is rejected by eight out of nine nursery schools is heartrending).