I'm not being paid to review this, Seal Press didn't send me a galley copy, and best of all? I borrowed it from my local library.
|Cover, for you to enjoy|
While it's true that I'm not a stay-at-home mom *yet*, that's the end goal. I was reading this book, and it was like Melissa Stanton had been following me around when it came to how other people reacted to our choice to have me stay home. True, she was a few years ahead of me (the book came out in 2008), but her powers of pre-cognition are to be commended.
Stanton talks about dealing with the "yes, but what do you DO" question, household finances, and how demanding being a full-time Mom can be. So it's not a parenting-parenting book, per se, but it helps parents. So it totally counts.
It took me a LONG time to figure out that most people don't respect useful life skills that they lack- like raising children, cooking, or knitting. People who don't (or can't) cook from scratch don't appreciate that skill from someone in a home environment. If you measure success and happiness in dollars and cents, any activity that doesn't make money is worthless and a waste of your time.
We know that's not true. Knitters put thousands of hours into projects every year- many of which never get finished. We knit because it brings us pleasure, because it can be challenging, because it is creatively fulfilling. Not because it is profitable- or even has the *potential* to be profitable.
[Did you just fall out of your chair laughing at the idea that hand knitting is - or could be - profitable? I did.]
Back to the book.
It also includes loads of useful advice and strategies on changing relationships (romantic and otherwise), keeping up your self-esteem, and division of labor.
Division of labor isn't really an issue in our house. Given all of the Mommy Memoirs I've been reading, Andrew is really and truly a prince among men. He doesn't expect to be waited on when he gets home from work, and doesn't assume that because I'm staying at home that I've become the maid, the cook, and the household personal assistant. I thought this was normal in a marriage, but I stand corrected. Also, horrified that it's *not* the status quo.
Not only does he contribute to household chores, but he usually also picks some sort of home improvement project every weekend (sometimes something small, sometimes something... bigger). For the record, I also try to defend his leisure time, by making sure he has plans to do something fun.
(Did I just sign my own death warrant by bragging on my husband? Let me balance all his great qualities with the fact that he snores like a buzzsaw and sometimes leaves his shoes in the living room. He also has a taste for handknit socks and wears a size 12 men's shoe. Move on, he's not so great.)
In short, I really felt like Stanton addressed a lot of the issues that *all* parents have- not JUST stay-at-homes. I handed the book over to Andrew to read and he's finding it useful, too, for managing expectations (mostly). I've been screening the books, and handing over the ones that I particularly like to Andrew to read. (I have more time right now to sift through the chaff. Also, I read faster.)
I think this is a great book for *all* parents. Everyone has a schedule to accommodate, whether or not you work outside the home. I think the real key is that *both* parents need to read this book. (All the books, really, but this is a good place to start.)
The writing is compelling, Stanton has a personable style as a writer. I powered through this book in two days- that's how "readable" it is. Pick up a copy, you'll thank me for it.