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May 10, 2011 / Asimplemother

A Review of The Happiest Mom

The Happiest Mom by Megan FrancisThe Happiest Mom by Megan Francis is a delightful read for any mom, whether you are expecting your first baby or expecting your youngest to go off to college.  The Happiest Mom brings a refreshing feeling to “Mom Books”.  After reading a dozen or so parenting, mom and baby books prior pregnancy, during pregnancy and after the birth of my first daughter, I was burnt out from same messages, stereotypes, unrealistic expectations and overall guilt they can bring about.  Don’t get me wrong, these books had great advice nuggets, but overall I felt rushed and guilt after reading them.

The Happiest Mom understands us in another way: we don’t have time to read a 300-page mom book.  But we do have time to read a 136-page, larger print, colorful one.  And, Megan knows moms because she made the quizzes easy to complete for each chapter and added scratch paper right in the book.  She knows a mom who has to get up for a pen and paper will be distracted by the stack of dishes, toys she tripped over or the pile of laundry that needs folding! I completed this book in about 2 hours over the course of 3 days.  But I also recommend going back through and reviewing your quiz results and thoughts for each chapter.

The Happiest Mom has 10 easy to follow chapters that include insights, stories, tips and quizzes.  Not the kind your son has been struggling with in math class.  The kind of quiz that helps you take a moment to think about yourself and more importantly, the possibilities.  They take all of about 2 minutes to complete.  And because you can write your answers in the book, you can easily go back and review them.  An added bonus, the interpretation of each quiz is right there with the quiz.  Making navigation of the book easy to follow.

Megan Francis calls the chapters, “10 secrets to enjoying motherhood.”  I am not sure I would call them secrets, but very good and solid reminders of what really matters about being a mom.  Now, I am a marketer by trade, so I can appreciate the use of the word “secrets” and would have probably used the same word.  And in some respects these are secrets in comparison to other books and authors on motherhood.

Beyond her advice and stories about motherhood, I would give Megan an A+ on addressing the value and importance of your marriage and relationships.  She gets personal and true about the importance of the partnership between you and your spouse.  And no, he is not a jerk and he does care. In chapter 10, Megan says, “I realized that most of us are basically good people, paired with basically good people, who make mistakes and misunderstand each other. Understanding this helps keep me on track during any rough times.” 

No other motherhood book has addressed marriage in such an enlightening way.  I actually suggested a book to my husband to read while I was pregnant. After the first 2 chapters he decided to discontinue reading it.  After asking him about it, and reading a few chapters myself, I knew why.  The book devoted itself to bashing dads, guilting them into believing they were horrible husbands and overall incompetent to raise a child.  How horrible. I love my husband and he is a great dad.  Megan builds upon this in her own personal relationship, not against it.  Advice for all moms to let dad do things his way too.

In a great Mom-to-Mom sidebar, “It was very hard for me to learn to let my husband take care of our son in his own way. If you leave them together and your son ends up with mismatched clothes and Pop Tarts for breakfast, just remember: as long as everyone is in one piece at the end of the day, it all worked out!”  This is so true and a motto I had to learn to live by as a working and traveling mom. I can not be there for every decision and Dad is perfectly able to care for our daughter. In fact, she likes the change of pace.

The second best chapter (chapter 9) of The Happiest Mom helps you think about putting in a little me time, your way.  Whether it is reading, writing, gardening, running, scrapbooking, etc…and that it will not be perfect every day or week, especially with very young children, but every mom should strive to incorporate it.  But she goes beyond this and hints at the opportunities that can grow from your hobby or me time – you can include your children too and share your passion with your kids.  Making an even happier family.

Overall the book is filled with ideas, tips and reflections of planning, flexibility, goal setting and socializing.  Megan has a great quote about organization and planning that I think reflects the tone of her whole book, “You’ll know it’s the right planning system when you use it instead of avoiding it.”  Megan is specific and provides lots of ideas, and challenges you to find what works best for you, not commit to her way. 

As a Simple Mother, The Happiest Mom fits with my desire to have a family that is happy and loved, a house that is clean enough and a plan that is good enough.  I recommend picking up a copy, going to your favorite spot (don’t forget a pen) and enjoying a very happy read about motherhood!

Note: I was not paid nor provided a free copy of the book.  My review of The Happiest Mom is independent of the author, editor or publisher.

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