Subscribe To The Moms Minute Newsletter - get the latest articles delivered straight to your inbox.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Closing the Gap Book Review

This book is written for parents and teenagers to read together. For once, you'll be on the same page! Don't despair if your teen (or parent) won't read this book with you. There's lots you can do to improve the relationship on your own.

I love the advice Jay gives to both parents and teens in the introduction
“Teens: If you want something from your parents, you won't get it by rebelling. You will get it as soon as you start talking to your parents and not a minute sooner.

Parents: If you want something from your teen, you won't get it by being a totalitarian dictator. Communication and mutual participation are the key. So turn off the television, unplug the earphones, and start working on forming a bond as a family.”

But just how do you talk to your teenager when he only grunts in reply to your questions? That's what CLOSING the Gap explains. Jay also emphasizes that teenagers need their parents time and active involvement in their lives in order to stay out of trouble and to develop to their full potential.

The book switches back and forth from addressing the parents to addressing the teens. I felt that the book would have flowed better if it were divided into two distinct sections – one for parents and one for teens.

Closing the Gap : A Strategy For Bringing Parents And Teens Together
also dispels common myths that sabotage the relationship between parents and teens. A few of the myths that the book tackles are
“My parents have no idea what it's like to be a teenager.”, 'You can't fix your teen.' and 'My parents control my life.'

Jay also encourages parents to stick with their teenager no matter how much they want to throw in the towel. He shares a formula for reconnecting parents and teens that works equally well for both parties.

He offers parents this great advice “Remember that parenting is not a popularity contest. You are not doing this to get votes for Parent of the Year. Don't give your teen what she wants, give her what she needs.”

The chapters “Discovering Your Needs” and “Tuning into the needs of others” had me wishing that someone had taught me this way back when I was still a teenager. It would have certainly made things a lot easier.”

After reading Closing the Gap the first time from the library, I purchased a copy for myself and my teenage daughter and I would encourage you to do the same.

Your teenager might also enjoy these books:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Born To Fly Book Review

Born to Fly is very different from other parenting books that I've read. The focus of most other parenting books is how to get your child to do more of what you want – eat his peas, do his homework, stop fighting with his siblings and so on.

Born to Fly: How to Discover & Encourage Your Child's Natural Gifts, on the other hand, focuses on your child and helps you to see him as a unique person with his own strengths and weaknesses.

The rest of the book goes on to help parents identify their child's strengths and weaknesses. Then it helps parents to build on the strengths.

Born to Fly: How to Discover & Encourage Your Child's Natural Gifts is filled with delightful, fun illustrations and is very easy to read. After reading the first section of the book, I realized that much of what we misconstrue as misbehavior stems from misunderstanding your child's unique personality and temperament.

If you associate discipline with punishment, then you're very wrong. Thom says that discipline means teaching and correction and not punishment.

A common mistake that stems from this misconception is that parents punish a child when he's made a mistake, rather than providing guidance and loving correction. For example, spanking a child who has spilled his juice, instead of teaching him how to clean up and be more careful next time.

Thom says that discipline is only required for willful misbehavior, notfor innocent mistakes.

Choices are part of everyday life, from the cereal your child eats for breakfast to the clothing that he wears. In order to be an achiever your child needs to know how to make good choices. Born to Fly shows you how to guide your child through the decision making process and how to encourage your child to make the right decisions.

“Smart decisions balance what a person wants done with what ought to be done.” says Thom.

I loved the book and its message – Appreciate your children for the unique people that they are instead of trying to mold them into your idea of perfection. The copy that I reviewed was lent from the library.

You may also enjoy:
How to Sucessfully Develop Your Children's Unique Potential (Turning Point Library, 4)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Writer Mama Book Review

This is a wonderful little book aimed specifically for busy moms who want to be freelance writers or book authors. It shows you how to balance the myriad responsibilities of motherhood with the long-term and short-term goals you have as a writer.

It's chock full of great ideas for improving every aspect of your writing. Ii is also the perfect size for slipping into your bag and is very attractively presented.

It has been divided into 4 main sections :
PREPARATION: In this section you learn more about the attitudes and tools that successful mommy writers use and how to adapt them for your unique style of writing.

PRACTICE: This section shows you how to build your basic writing skills and is filled with lots of helpful tips on writing anything from full-length articles to essays. You will also learn how to submit your work with a basic cover letter. This chapter was very useful to me as a fledgling freelancer.

PROFESSIONALISM: Here you will learn how to query for assignments and when to send a query letter instead of a cover letter as well as how to complete longer assignments without losing your balance.

POISE: If you've ever wanted to be a well respected and recognized author then this chapter is definitely for you. This chapter will show you how to develop yourself and your talents so that you become recognized by agents and editors alike.

All in all this is a wonderful book for all writer mama's out there. No matter how experienced you are you are bound to learn something from this fabulous book.

You might also enjoy:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Happy Family Book Review

When I saw the title of the book at the local library, I knew I had to borrow it to read, learn from and of course, share with other parents.

The book is written by an Australian couple, Ken & Elizabeth Mellor and covers all aspects of healthy child development. It is both well thought out and well written.

Here's a taste of what's inside the pages of this slim volume:-
Chapter 1 “Your Job As A Parent” covers the 6 basic tasks all parents need to perform in order to prepare their children for adulthood.

They then go on to cover the 7 ingredients of being a successful person.
I felt that they also addressed the quality time versus quantity time debate very well.

Ken and Elizabeth also encourage parents to follow their own God-given instincts when it comes to their children rather than always relying on the 'experts'.

Have you ever opened your mouth and heard the words of your mother of father come out? Then you'll know that the way you parent today is influenced by the way you were parented and the family dynamics of your childhood.

Happy Family discusses common dysfunctional family patterns that could make you a less than functional parent. They then go on to offer suggestions for altering your own childhood programming so that you can become a better parent to your children.

You are encouraged to think through the patterns that are occurring in your family today, as well, by answering a list of twenty questions. I worked through the list and became aware of many issues that I was neglecting.

The chapter on “Balancing work and Family” deals with the pressures and challenges facing parents today and how best to deal with them.

The Happy Family
 has something I haven't come across in other parenting books  - How to successfully co-parent your children with your spouse/partner. It shows you how to overcome differences and how to form a successful, cohesive and powerful parenting unit.

I was also introduced to a technique called 'Grounding'. This is a way to calm kids who are upset and overexcited. There's also an entire chapter on how to teach your children to relax, a skill that is becoming increasingly important in the stressful world we live in.

If your child is pushing your hot buttons, Ken & Elizabeth will show you how to stay in control and how to manage your anger in a constructive manner.

All in all this is a great book. I've read many parenting books, but I've learned so much from this one. If you are serious about having a Happy Family, then I encourage you to pick up this book.

You may also want to read:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moms Town Book Review

I love Life Makeover Type books and enjoy working through one every few months. But most of these books had sections that didn't apply to me as a stay at home mom. What drew me to the Moms Town book was that it is a lifestyle makeover designed specifically for stay at home moms.

Moms Town is divided into ten chapters and you have to work through 1 section a week. There's quite a bit to do in one chapter so you might want to spread it over a longer period of time. I worked on one chapter every fortnight.

It's perfect for Moms who want to make the most of their role as stay at home moms but are also sometimes left wondering "Is this all there is?" It's also great for moms who want to start a home based business or a way to make some extra cash from home.

Authors Mary Goulet and Heather Reider say "Staying at home doesn't mean you have to put your life on hold while you raise your children. Your growth and your children's growth is not mutually exclusive. If you've already lost some of your spunk to the doldrums of grocery shopping, dropping 'em off and picking 'em up, and scrubbing yet another juice stain out of the carpet, all you need is some help breaking the spin cycle. We have good news: You've picked up the right book. Using the MomsTown Program, you are going to figure out what those desires are."

A quiz in the beginning helps you to figure out just where you stand and exactly what areas of your life need a makeover.

Mary and Heather use the acronym GAL throughout the book - GAL stands for Get A Life. "Throughout our program we use the acronym GAL, for Get A Life, to describe the transformation that happens when a mom has her own life, pursues her own passions in addition to raising her children. Gals have it all. It's that simple. A Gal becomes her own person - outside the identity of being a stay at home mom (SAHM). Getting a life means finding your passion, your dreams, making it through your daily routine with more energy and confidence. In the process, you become a MomsTown Gal."

I loved the GAL Truths - 10 Truths all Stay at Home Moms must ask if they are going to be successful. It's great to know that it's not greedy or selfish to want more money, because money buys freedom and privilege. Other GAL truths include "To get more time, get busy." and "You can have it all, you just can't do it all."

They say and I quote "You can have it all; you just can't do it all. Even though we have the ability to do many things at once, we don't have the ability to do everything. Accepting help is not an admission of failure. It's being smart enough to to recognize your own limitations. It's true that someone else might not do things exactly the way you would, but at least those things are getting done. Delegation is the key, and you don't have to control everything all the time. Delegate to your husband and children."

Week by week I worked through different aspects of my life. I did everything from throw away my frumpy sweats and unflattering clothing to focusing on and finding my passions to exploring what sort of home based business would best suit me. I even organized my home, tackled paper clutter, re-started an exercise program and reconnected with my husband. Even though I felt that some areas of the makeover were skimpy and didn't provide enough detail, overall it was excellent and covered all major aspects of my life as a stay at home mom. I would highly recommend it to all stay at home moms and work at home moms. In fact, I think even working moms will benefit from this great well-thought out book.

You might also enjoy:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Your 6 Main Responsibilities As A Mom

In order to be an effective mom, there are 6 basic areas that you need to focus on.
1. Keep Your Children Safe.
This is the primary task during the early years. I’ve heard a child development expert say that your main job during the toddler and preschool years is to ‘stop them from killing themselves.’ In the first few years you have to worry about the dangers of drowning, sharp objects, poisoning, falling, stranger danger and so on.

In later years, you have to worry about keeping them away from drugs, alcohol, bad friends, and sexually transmitted diseases etc.

2. The second responsibility is giving your child the skills needed to live healthy, happy lives. This encompasses good nutrition, healthy living habits, exercise and forming good relationships with others.

3. The third important task of parenting is providing your child with the life-skills needed to succeed. This encompasses manners, reading, writing, cooking, laundry, balancing a checkbook and a host of other skills needed to function well in the modern world.

4. The fourth task that you need to perform in order to be an effective parent is to stay involved throughout all the different stages of childhood. From all animals, humans have the longest period of dependence. Parents need to be actively involved until kids have reached adulthood.

5. The fifth responsibility of effective parents is that you need to take care of yourself. You can’t care for your loved ones properly if you don’t make self-care a priority.

6. The sixth responsibility of effective parents is that you, not the kids, need to be in charge.

Home By Choice Book Review

Reading this book made me feel like I was talking to an older and wiser friend. Donna Otto writes this book from a Christian perspective, which some readers may feel uncomfortable or turn them off altogether.

Donna wisely points out that nobody, not even the most highly trained and paid professional nanny or babysitter can raise your child as well as you can. And she provides the research to back up her claims.

Donna makes a rather compelling case against daycare and backs it up with study after study. This book will probably make working mothers feel extremely guilty but Donna acknowledges that and says that "God has given us the emotion of guilt to redirect us."

The book takes a detailed and in-depth look at how your life will change when you make the transition from working mom to stay at home mom and she offers advice and suggestions on how to best cope. There's also some sound advice on how to deal with criticism from your boss, co-workers, family members and friends with regards to your decision to become a stay at home mom. There are also many useful tips on personal goal setting as it applies to stay at home moms. And if you're concerned about losing your personal identity once you give up your job, Donna offers some great advice and support as well.

There was also an unexpected section on dressing well (I agree, no frumpy sweats!)

The section on time-management was also full of great advice. And Donna shared some old-fashioned (but great) advice on both marriage and parenting. I found the chapter on organization really useful, even though I consider myself to be quite organized.

If money is an issue (and it almost always is!) then there's a section devoted to making money from home. It's rather basic but it does point you in the direction of other resources if you would like to pursue this avenue further.And the chapter on saving money helps you to stretch your money even further.

Even though I didn't particularly like the overtly Christian flavor to the book, I found it to be well worth the read. The copy I read and reviewed was borrowed from my local public library.

You might also like to read: