Mother Talk Blog Tour - Momfidence!
I've read a huge pile of parenting books in the last eight years. I picked up a lot of conflicting information on the proper way to raise a child. I also developed a sense of frustration with parenting experts. Rather than build my confidence as a mother, most of these books offered proof that I was doing it wrong.
Enter Paula Spencer. Momfidence! is based on Paula's popular columns that have been featured in Woman's Day and Parenting magazines. From her opening pep-talk, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary parent-right-or-risk-years-of-expensive-therapy book. Paula's personal stories are woven throughout, serving as charming, real-world illustrations to the guilt-releasing suggestions she offers.
Momfidence! offers twenty-four chapters of hilarious insight into such burning hot parenting topics as appropriate toys (Happiness Is a Gun and a Naked Bimbo), discipline ("Please Don't Jump on the Dead Whale!") and control (You Can Lead a Child to Carrots, but You Can't Make Him Crunch.) I found myself snorting with laughter over her attempts to create a family tradition via gingerbread house construction, and sighing with recognition as she shares her experiences with family outings that don't live up to the hype, behavior that falls short of expectations, and conducting phone interviews "...while hiding in the pantry and tossing out cheese doodles with my free hand to keep a pesky toddler sated."
Rather than insist that we can reclaim our inner sex-goddess, or have it all if we just organzied ourselves, or attain sainthood by never allowing a negative thought to cross our minds, or an oreo to cross our lips, Momfidence! focuses on ways that we make ourselves (and my extension, our families) happy. Not perfect. Happy.
In my early motherhood mania, I am not sure how I would have received this book. I was so involved in chasing the dream of 'perfect' motherhood that I might have scoffed at Paula's relaxed approach. I believed with every fiber of my being that there was a right way to parent, and if I looked hard enough, I would have all the answers. I also assumed that mothers who "winged it" were slackers, and weren't educating themselves on the best things for their child.
For the record, I would love to go back in time and slap a copy of Momfidence! into my twitching, neurotic hand. Paula demonstrates that parenting is often exasperating, exhausting and full of humorous situations. There isn't a one-size fits all way to parent, and by believing in our own abilities to figure it out as we go, we can release the guilt, and enjoy the adventure of raising a family. Most of the time.