Book Summary: The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Title: The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose and Sanity

Author: Meg Meeker, M.D

Basic Overview:

Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who, drawing on her experiences with patients’ mothers and other women in her life, has identified what makes happy mothers tick. What’s their secret? Her book explores ten habits that will help us feel better about ourselves, which in turn leaves us better prepared to help our families.

The ten habits are:

  1. Understand your value as a mother
  2. Maintain key friendships
  3. Value and practice faith
  4. Say no to competition
  5. Create a healthier relationship with money
  6. Make time for solitude
  7. Give and get love in healthier ways
  8. Find ways to live simply
  9. Let go of fear
  10. Make the decision to have hope.

Parts I Liked Best:

I loved the stories that the author included in each chapter about real mothers and how they implemented the different habits in their lives. At the end of each chapter, there are also great, concrete ideas on how to make each of the habits “stick.” Here were some of my favorite take-aways:

Understand your value as a mother

Each of us has a calling or deeper purpose in life.” We were born to be good moms (not rich or skinny moms) and we were born to leave a mark in our world. The author encourages us to make a list of what we’re good at. Don’t worry if you can’t use all your gifts now. Realize that you are irreplaceable to your children; it will help you be content.

Maintain key friendships

Most of us put this at the bottom of our priority list, but the truth is, mothers are “relational creatures” (31). We need other women in our lives that are or have been in similar situations to us. Feeling lonely tends to also make us feel unloveable. Give your true friends the time and attention they need and you will find yourself uplifted as well.

Value and practice faith

I liked how the author made this less about religion and more about having faith in a higher power. Mothers tend to be control freaks, which is unfortunate since there is often so much out of our control. Having faith in God or a higher power allows us to relinquish some of that control and trust that there is someone else helping us.

Say no to competition

In the introduction to the book, Meeker talks about how in today’s society, competition has really driven mothers off the deep end. We are more competitive than our children. Competition can destroy relationships with our friends and other mothers. The best way to combat competition is to recognize that we are jealous about something. Identify what it is and admit it. Encourage and compliment people you feel jealous of.

Create a healthier relationship with money

A lot of times we buy things for our kids because it makes us feel like we’re good moms.  The next time you go to buy something for your child, ask yourself why you are doing it.

How This Book Made an Impact In My Life, Especially as a Mother (or why I just really liked it):

This was one of those great books that left me feeling hopeful rather than guilty or inadequate. I realized that I had a lot of these habits already and that they really did make me happy. So in a way, it reaffirmed what my priorities are and gave me motivation to keep working on them. There were also many great ideas and suggestions that inspired me to become better in other areas. I think one of my favorite chapters was “Letting Go of Fear.” I realized that mothers really are chronic worriers and yet so many of our fears are irrational or simply out of our control and therefore somewhat pointless to worry about. This is an excellent book that I’d recommend to any mother.


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  1. April Perry says

    Aubrey, this review is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for encapsulating the main ideas in the book so well. I feel happier just reading your summary!

  2. says

    I am so glad you reviewed this book. I was just today going to see if it had been done yet, because I too LOVED it. Love her concrete ideas at the end of each chapter. Really great stuff. I just ordered another one from the same author, hope it’s as great!! Thanks for your review.

    • Aubrey Degn says

      Is the other book about raising sons? I think I’ll put that on my to-read list – you’ll have to let me know how it is!

  3. Emilee Crapo says

    Thank you for writing this review! I can’t wait to read the book, her list sounds really great. You gave the perfect amount of information from the book for a clear idea of what the book will be and to really entice me to read it!

  4. Rachelle says

    Aubrey, I just got it yesterday and with three daughters, I’m really excited. It is Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters – Ten Secrets Every Father Should Know. So actually, it’s geared towards my husband of course, but I’m sure I’ll read it too. The chapters look awesome!! Please let me know if you read the sons one, I’ve got two of those. Thanks!

  5. CharelleOlsen says

    I just finished reading this book after having read your review. I really enjoyed it and think it’s a great read for mothers.
    Hope you review her other books too :)


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