<img src=”http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o174/mothergoosemouse/ParentBloggersNetwork.jpg” alt=”Parent I must confess upfront: I am not a fan of what I view to be self help books. I am not inclined to peruse them and my aversion starts right at the top, with the trite titles.
And I have to admit that I like the title. It’s catchy. It’s humanizing. It’s derisive, in my mind, of the perfect coiffed/planned/attentive/present mommy in the minivan. I figured that I could give this a read.
And, like the title, I found the entire book to be both catchy and humanizing. But I did have to convince myself of this…
One of the first things I noticed was the cute analogies. Okay. But it quickly became a bit over the top: much like how one spider in your garden helps keep the bad bugs down and reminds you of the grand designs of nature, but an infestation of eight legged beasties just wants to make you grab the can of bug spray and wipe all the little buggers off the face of the earth.
Then I started getting this sense of deja vu. While there were changes in the wording, the same information was being reiterated. Multiple times. At first annoying, I soon realised that this is an incredibly good thing, since [still new to the concept of reading an entire book as a mommy] I find myself reading in the briefest snatches of time and actually need the reminders of what has come before and their relevance to the current concept. Without them, I suspect I would have been lost – or, at best, merely in the general vicinity of the concepts – and would not have made it to the next stage.
I start to see myself in the book.
Confession time: I fear that I am the bad, neglectful mommy. How dare I not arrange a gabillionplaydates by hitting up women at the mall playlot or lurking on the fringes of online social circles? How can I not want to take baking over to some strange woman’s house so I can smile through a playgroup of random people for the good of my daughter? How come I don’t make the extra effort to get her swimming more than once every two weeks? And exchange emails with those mommies? Because that’s not me. And, because I’m no extrovert [read: berating thoughts of lazy, lame & awkward], she will have no social skills or friends. Oh yeah, I’m in there.
And, suddenly, all those reminders come in handy. The mantras listed throughout the book – some profound, others trite – make far more sense. The lists, at first merely interruptions to the train of thought, bring the passages together in one spot. Because one read through the chapters might make the realisation that being a perfect mom is a ridiculous and damaging aspiration a visceral acknowledgement, but it’s not really going to sink in and be accepted unless I hear it a few times. And now it has not only sunk in, but I have ways to deal with it. Ways to accept it for what it is and move on. Oh, and keep my sanity intact while I’m at it.
I became a convert: I love this book. This was not an easy task for Ann Dunnewold, but she did it. I have dog-eared pages for future reference and marked the margins to note my epiphany-moment passages. I will be referring back to this book.
What I liked:
- the references to – and quotes from – other authors, books and articles.
- Ann Dunnewold’s tone. She is soothing and reassuring with just a little bit of wryness.
- the reality checks. Everyone needs at least one. At least.
What I disliked:
- enough analogies to choke a horse.
- examples using the potentially hypothetical “Jane” or “Liz”. While I love the examples and need them to easily bring relevance to a theory, I would have more faith in “a client” than “a client – let’s call her Allison”. Once you start making up one part, I become [unjustly, I know, but there it is] suspicious of the rest.
- I will admit that this is not a book I would have purchased on my own. And that would have been a mistake on my part. But now, having read it, I will be recommending it far and wide.