Author: By Paula Spencer
I’m just going to quote from the back cover…it describes it well: “If the latest ‘breakthrough’ child-development theory, parenting technique, or child-appropriate diet makes you worry or groan (or just want to lie down for a nap), it’s time to make way for Momfidence! Paula Spencer, parenting expert and mother of four provides refreshing, down-to-earth proof that most of the business of raising confident, healthy children involves nothing more complicated than trusting your instincts, using common sense, and above all, hanging on to your humor.” This book takes all of the “perfect” requirements of motherhood and turns them upside down, while still encouraging moms to be involved, loving, happy, achieving women. This balance is rare in the world of “mom” books. I just wish I’d read this book ten years ago.
Parts I Liked Best:
I’m a little embarrassed to even say which parts I liked best because the beauty of this book is that Paula says all the things I’m afraid to say, but I’ll give it a shot.
(1) Here’s a quote from p.7: “Raising kids has become such a dreary business. Spending eighteen years cutting the lawn with baby nail clippers sounds more enjoyable than the endless safety proofing, neural-pathway stimulating, self-esteem buffing, and college application plotting that modern motherhood now demands. And that’s just the prekindergarten plan.” She goes on to suggest ways we (and our children) can enjoy this process more. Let children jump on the couch, don’t worry that playing with squirt guns will turn your children into violent criminals, learn to be okay with the normal messes that come along with children…and she goes on.
(2) In one chapter “Turn On, Tune In, Take 30”, Paula insists that a little TV won’t turn your family’s minds into mush. This chapter was one of my favorites because TV-watching has always been a concern to me. I watched a ton of TV as a child, but after majoring in Communications in college and reading books such as “The Plug-in Drug” and “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, I started feeling terrible whenever my children sat dazed in front of the television. This book doesn’t suggest we let our children watch unlimited hours of violent, indecent shows, but it provides a healthy way to look at our interactions with the glowing box. Paula’s family has TV rules such as “No TV in the car, before school, in the bedroom, or when friends are over.” She also won’t let her children fight over the remote or watch shows that are inappropriate for children. In essense, this chapter reminds us that there are some good programs on television, and relaxing to enjoy a show is okay (I knew this, but it was nice to see it in print).
(3) I also liked her chapter “Moms Need Time-Outs More Than Kids Do.” Paula tells how she has felt guilt over taking a break from her children on occasion, but now she invests in these “time-outs” as a way to keep her sanity. One indication that a time-out is needed is when she feels “repetitive stress syndrome”. “That’s the nervous tic…from moving through breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner-snack day after day, punctuated by cleanup and restockings. And that’s just the feeding loop. Overlay that with the bedtime loop, the laundry loop, the diaper loop, and before you know it, you’re feeling loop-de-loop.” I have totally felt that way, and by taking a little vacation (even for a couple of hours), I come back a better mom.
How This Book Helped Me Be a Better Mother:
I want to be a good mom. I think it’s a given that the majority of moms out there do, too. Sometimes I stress myself out, though, when I think of everything I’m not doing. I don’t do a lot of extracurriculars for my children, I don’t cook fancy meals, I buy sugary cereal by the cart full, I get impatient sometimes, I don’t have a laminated map on my dining room table, and my children don’t know much at all about classical music (except for what they learned on Baby Einstein). Although I want to do as much as I can to make this growing-up experience great for all of us, I’m learning that it’s okay to do things my way. As long as I am loving my family and taking care of them the best I know how, that’s enough. Instead of comparing myself to everyone else, I can have my own sense of momfidence. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the supermom mentality, this book would be great for you!
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