Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway!

This is the very first giveaway I’ve ever done!  I don’t normally do this kind of thing on my blogs because I don’t usually advertise my blog publically.  However, a friend sent me a request to get a free book as long as I was a mommy and a blogger.  I was on bed rest after surgery so I volunteered, especially because I LOVE reading!

This is essentially a blog hop by MOPS to read and review the book MomSense: A Common-Sense Guide to Confident Mothering. I was sent 2 copies of the book, one for me to read and review and one to give away on the blog.  If you want a FREE book, then leave a comment with how you found my blog.  I will do a random drawing to pick a winner.


The good:

Following your instinct as a mother can be challenging. I’ve gotten a significant amount of unsolicited advice, there are thousands of books on parenting, and the internet gives me more information than I could ever need. As a mother, more information isn’t necessarily better and has often left me feeling overwhelmed and confused.

I find myself now only seeking out advice or finding a solution when I am having a problem that I can’t solve, rather than reading to prepare myself for what’s to come. This has allowed me to listen to and trust my instincts more. This book is a good reminder about doing that very thing.

I really liked that this book mentioned both adoptive and biological families, as well as mentioned non-traditional families (i.e. using the term parenting partner and spouse instead of just husband).  I appreciate when authors recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes.

There are several pieces of advice that I liked:

  • Embrace and trust your instincts
  • Practice patience and set the example for you children.  You may miss seeing things from their view if you constantly rush them through life.
  • Respect your children in order to raise respectful children
  • Remember that your kids may have a different communication style than you and so listening to your words might be tough for them.  Try pictures, letters, movies, books, etc as a different approach in getting your message across.  Additionally give them your uninterrupted attention when listening to them.
  • Teaching how not to lie is going to be tough—if they end up telling you the truth then how do you punish for the lie without making them feel like they get punished for the truth.  This has sparked conversation with my husband and I.
  • During times of chaos or panic, just BREATHE.  It’s helping both me and Charlotte this last week.
  • Love yourself and make time for you.
  • Laugh and have fun with your kids.  Experience their joy.

The bad:

I think the author used too many anecdotal stories from other mothers and authored very little of the book.  I appreciate hearing from other mothers as an example, but if all the stories and quotes were removed, then the book seriously lacked content.  In at least two chapters 50% of the material was from quotes or anecdotal stories. 

I never really grabbed onto the author created word, MomSense (common sense and mother’s intuition).  I had to keep remembering what it meant and just made the book tough to read with the phrase ‘strengthen your MomSense’ repeated several times.

I’m atheist.  That matters because it strongly influences my biggest beef with the book. 

A little background:  Other than a couple of my friends in California belonging to some playgroups run through MOPS, I knew nothing about the organization before agreeing to read and review the book. I realized after I offered to read and review the book that they are a Christian organization.  I confirmed that they still wanted my feedback and they told me that since I am a mother and a blogger, they welcomed my feedback.

This book does not warn the reader that it is a Christian book (I think it should be in the title) and I find it insulting and confusing that the author assumes the reader is Christian. Bible quotes, recommending prayer, and overall ‘believe in god’ mantra in the book was very off-putting and I felt I was being preached at.  By the end of the book I was doing a lot of eye-rolling and was becoming irrationally angry that the recommended solution to deal with my children was to pray.  

I think it was awkward the way the Christian message was incorporated.  Up through page 27 there are only a couple of minor references to god and then out of nowhere it says the Bible encourages us to live sensibly and quotes a Proverbs bible verse.  It felt really out of place and didn’t flow at all with the first 26 pages.  The disappointing part was that the overall Christian message got in the way of the ‘Common-sense mothering’ message.  My friend said it best – ‘I don’t think parenting and belief in god necessarily have anything to do with each other.’

Would I recommend the book?

I would not recommend spending money to read this book. If it’s free, there are some good messages (see my bulleted list above). If you are Christian you may enjoy the book more. If you are Atheist, agnostic or anything other than Christian, you may find yourself annoyed as you try to sift through the ‘Believe in god’ mantra in the book.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of the book!!


Debbie evedal06@yahoo.com said...

I don't know if I found your blog on FB or the Nest but I must say that this is one of the most honest reviews I've ever seen on a blog! So refreshing!

Amy said...

I found your blog through you. :) I'd be interested in reading it.

Jean Blackmer said...

Hi Salina,

Thanks for the honest, balanced feedback! As the author of MomSense I take to heart your thoughts and truly appreciate your willingness to read a book that may not be in line with your personal beliefs. I can see how you were surprised by the Christian approach but I do look to God for guidance as I try to navigate the challenges of mothering. I am thankful for your approach to this review providing both the positives and negatives - a true honest review. Thanks! (and what an amazing adoption story you have loved getting to read about you.)