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Monday, June 09, 2008

Book Review and Giveaway

As part of the Mother-talk blog book tour I was sent The Stay-At-Home Survival Guide: Field Tested strategies for staying smart, sane, and connected while caring for your kids by Melissa Stanton.

I haven't had a chance to finish the book yet, but from what I've read so far I can say it's an easy book to read and I'm enjoying it!

First of all I love my kids and I love being able to stay home and raise them. I'm thankful we could afford for me to quit my job after Kayla was born because I really wanted to stay home with her...at least for the first year. That first year has now turned into 5 and we've added another kid!

Despite loving these kids of mine I do have to admit that some days are just plain hard. And exhausting. And frustrating. Some days I've been on the verge of tears just counting down the minutes until Joe gets home. Some days I feel like I'm just not cut out to do this, or that I can't handle one more day of staying home.

I see other mothers, especially those with more than 2 kids, and they always seem so put together, so relaxed, never flustered, or frustrated, or hurried, or exasperated. They seem "cool, calm, and collected." And I wonder why I can't get it together; at times I've felt so inadequate as a mom.

Then I started reading this book...and those were my feelings she was writing about! I could identify with so much in the chapters I've read so far.

This sentence really stood out to me, "If there's one thing I hope women will learn from this book, it's that it is okay to sometimes not love being a Stay-at-Home mom." Just reading that one sentence was like a weight lifted off my shoulders!

I think I've been struggling more with this lately since Lucas was born. The whole new baby in the house thing, less sleep, constant nursing, hormones going crazy, baby who rarely takes more than a 30 min nap, all that has left me feeling a little more stressed than usual. Just last week when Joe came home and asked how the day went I said, "hopefully one day soon I'll be able to give you a different answer." Ok it's not always that bad, but that was just "one of those days."

I've vented to Joe and told him how I feel - like I'm the only mom out there who can't handle this, he's assured me that I'm most definitely not the only one who has felt like this, or who goes through this. But he works outside the home, he can't truly know what it's like to be their sole caretaker all day long, to be the only one responsible for the kids for 10-11 hrs a day, so I didn't think he really understood what I was going through or what I was feeling. But because I'm reading the same thoughts and feelings from other mothers who are going through the same thing I had an "aha!" moment - it's not just me! I read bits and pieces to Joe and he tried telling me "I told you so!" Still, I felt...vindicated...I'm not a bad person if I don't always enjoy staying home; and it doesn't mean I love my kids any less, nor does it mean I regret my choice to stay home.

Ok this review was supposed to be about the book - not about me!

If you're interested in reading this book just leave a comment and I'll pick a winner this weekend. I'll send it out after I'm finished reading it!

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Anonymous said...

Michelle, remember when I told you when my boys were 2 1/2 and about 3 months I didn't want to be a "mommy anymore". It seemed Michael, the 3 month old, was always fussy, and it was constant everything! I told my oldest son that I didn't want to be a mommy anymore. When my husband came home he took Brian around to the friends we knew and Brian asked them if they wanted to be his mommy. He came home and told me no one wanted to be his mommy. I gave him a great big hug and told him that I would be his mommy and that I loved him! I just needed to get that off my chest. I felt better after that. Yes, there were days when I wanted to just quit and it felt good to admit that. I wouldn't trade being home with my children for anything. It shall soon pass and you will feel better. Love, Aunt Debbie

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

me me me! :) I TOTALLY know those exhausting days!

LauraJ said...

I NEED this book!! I am totally about to lose my sanity along with my brain!

Mommy Bee said...

I would LOVE to read this book! I have my bad days, too...and I've only got one child! I think it'd be great to learn some strategies on how to stay sane as a SAHM! Ha!

Mommy Bee
luvmybabybee at gmail dot com

Me said...

I TOTALLY know how you are feeling...you are definitely not the only one who feels this way. I have been in such a rut lately because I just feel soooooo inadequate for this job. My kids seem to be challenging me to the extreme lately and I'm just so frustrated. The other day, actually, Nolan came out and asked me, "mom, do you like being a mom?" That just broke my heart that he knows I'm frustrated and exhausted.

So anyways, I would LOVE to read this book!!!

Mom24 said...

I think the true myth is the idea that there is anyone out there who does NOT feel this way sometimes. It's hard to stay at home. It's also, truly, the most important thing you'll ever do in your life, but many, many days that doesn't make it any easier.

Who are these people who have babies that do sleep (during the day) more than 30 minutes at a stretch? I don't know them! Hang in there, it gets easier (and harder).

Omaha Mama said...

What is it with us - thinking we have to be everything to everyone? I feel guilty too, sometimes, when I've had a so-so day and feel like I'm not cut out to be a full time mom. And I only do it for 12 weeks a year!

Maybe you need to take a "mom's day out" some time soon when Joe's home and go do something that's purely selfish, like shopping (for YOU) or a pedicure. Something that's only for Michelle. That always makes me feel like me again (and a little selfish too, but I get over it).

Looks like a great book!

Beck said...

I know EXACTLY the feeling that you're talking about. I think that there are a lot of things - the isolation, the feeling of being cut-off from mainstream life - that makes it much harder than it needs to be.

chelle said...

Oh Honey you are so so so so not alone. There are days I totally wonder maybe just maybe I should get a job. Then I have blissful days that I would not change. Having two is way hard, especially when one is a baby. Wait it does get easier. I had one mom look at me one morning and sigh, "You and your kids are so put together" I laughed, like out loud, because if she could have seen the mess we left in our wake getting there she would have not made the same comment.

The book sounds fabulous, definitely something I could read :)

Nea said...

Hi Michelle, I am the mother of five, and don't kid yourself, even those Mother's who look like they have it all put together are going crazy inside their head at times. I wish I knew you well, and lived close to you, I would give you that needed break every so often and watch the kids for you. But I know, you are probably like I was, and not very trusting, I really couldn't leave my kids with anyone for very long. I worried myself sick. My youngest, I had when I was 45 and I didn't put him down until he was over a year. Needless to say, at 15 he is spoiled to death....

Your children are adorable, and the time will pass so fast. Also, the hormones will stabilize, and that will help a whole lot....much love and hugs.

Nea said...

sorry, Nick is 13, bad typing finger, bad....

my--four--sons said...

You took the words right out of my mouth. I have been home for 5 years now too and there are times I feel like the biggest failure. I have often thought what was I thinking when I thought I could do this. But I know I am where I need to be and I love my boys with all my heart.

kamewh said...

I definitely would love to read this book :) Thank you for the giveaway!

Killlashandra said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. I often wish I was a SAHM, it will never happen, but there are days when I feel bad that I feel good that W.W. is goingt to daycare for a little while. The stress just gets to us all in one way or another. I bet that 1 sentence made your day. :)

Anonymous said...

so...i don't want the book b/c i don't plan on being a mommy any time soon. lol. (and i think i would go crazy being a stay at home mom).
BUT! ...you're an awesome mom!
see you in July!!!! i'm so excited. i cannot wait to see my nephew and i have the "bestest" bday present for kayla. ...o yeah... i can't wait to see you and joe too. ^_~
miss ya'll!!!


ablondeblogger said...

I'm reviewing this one too...I love it!

Sarah said...

Well, as you've found out, you are NOT alone!! My kids are 15 months, 3 1/2 yrs, 4 and 4 1/2. All adopted. I quit my job a year ago in March and it is by far the hardest job I've ever had. Lately I've had way more bad days than good. Today was an especially horrible day. My 4 year old is developmentally delayed and has an obsession with water. He has flooded the bathroom countless times and today was no exception. I would greatly benefit from reading this book. Hugs to you.

Much More Than A Mom said...

Sounds like a great book! It passes all too soon but I totally get the exhaustion.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate Michelle, totally and more of us do than we realise. It was especially harder when my children were younger than they are now. These past two years (now 7 and 5 are much easier). The being so tired is the worst part, casts a kind of veil over otherwise manageable stuff. This book sounds good. Oh this is Karen of Karen's Ramblings by the way :-)

Tracey said...

Nothing lasts forever... It's amazing what a baby that sleeps alone will do for a mother's confidence. You're doing fine. And NOBODY is unruffled. NObody.

Tammy said...

Oh, I would love to win this one!

Michelle, you have expressed it so well...so many of us have felt overwhelmed as a SAHM...but when we look around and see moms that seem so put together, we can be so hard on ourselves!

The stage you are currently in is SO tiring (as you know!) But as hormones even out and you actually get straight eight hours of sleep, things get a bit easier.
Still...even with my children, almost 9 and 6, I have my days!
While waiting for my oldest's state testing for home schoolers, I saw another mom waiting, and she had a total of six! I noticed how calm her expression usually stayed, and I wondered, "Why I can't I be more like her? I only have two!"

But deep down, I know that each of us are different...and also that even that calm mom of six probably has her days when no one is looking! ;)

Kari said...

I'd love to have this book - Im a sahm to three kids and yep, some days are very very trying but it's well worth it in the end!! I love them all more than anything in the world!

Every minute counts.... said...

I totally need to read this book. I have been having such a hard time lately with realizing that my stay at home plans have been extended forever. There is no way I could work and take care of all of Abi's need and have any time left for the other 3 kids. That means the plans I had made for "when they are all in Kindergarten" I will go and find something rewarding for me...those are gone and I have to find a new plan. I've been doing this for almost 14 years now and it is not easy at all.


Tina G said...

I would LOVE this book! We also have a new baby boy (10 weeks old) in our house, along with a 5 year old boy and a 4 year old boy. It's tough sometimes and I often feel like I'm going insane!

crackerjacksMO said...

I could really use this book for my own self esteem! I am like you, I love being at home with the girls. I find a lot of different moms who as you say, seem cool, calm and collected. Everyone's on a schedule and it seems their lives are perfect. Is it?

Tanya said...

This sounds like a very interesting book - count me in the drawing :)

Beth said...

I feel for you!! I loved being at home with my girls - but some days were so hard and I never felt like my husband understood (even though he said he did)! He never got why I wanted 10 minutes to myself as soon as he got home....Now I miss getting to be with them everyday!

Overwhelmed! said...

Okay, count me in for this drawing. I could use this book, I'm sure.

And Joe is right, you're NOT the only mom (or parent for that matter) who sometimes feels like they can't handle staying at home with the kids. Oronzo has had some rough weeks since we got both girls in our home. He's hanging in there but I know it's not easy for him. In fact, despite the fact that I work outside of the home, it's not always easy for me either because I come home and take over kid duty to give Oronzo a break!

Hang in there. It will get better as they get older...at least that's what I'm telling myself!

Darn it, Barb! Your pictures of that Pizza Spaghetti Casserole are making my tummy rumble with hunger and all I brought to work today for lunch is a Lean Cuisine grilled sandwich. It won't be nearly as satisfying as your dish. ((sigh)) I guess I'll have to make this soon, perhaps this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

Oh, and I just thought I’d let you know that I posted a picture of Baby Bug in a tutu. Stop by if you’d like to see her cuteness!

rylie's mom said...

Yep, I love being a stay a home mom, but it is hard. Especially w/ infants.In addition to my own three, I babysit for a 3 year old two days a week(all day). Those are my hardest days!

Sounds like a good book to read

Lindse94 said...

Just decided to give up myteaching job to continue to stay home full time with my one year old.With one it is hard adn I can't imagine doing it with more, yet someday I wish to :) How is it I can manage whole classrooms of kids, but not one tiny little guy?

DeAnna said...

Oh, how I SO know how you feel. One of the reasons I haven't been blogging lately is because life is just so darn busy with 2 little ones at home. I told my husband that for me its not even seeing the supposedly all "together" mothers, because I think those are REALLY rare, its all a front :), its the idea that I really feel this is the most important thing I will ever do and raising my girls is the one "job" that I don't ever want to fail at. And I know I put so much pressure on myself, if my house isn't clean, if they aren't eating a great home cooked meal every night, if I'm not spending lots of time doing crafts and playing with them..... then I'm ruining their childhood, their memories are going to be horrible, they're going to be terrible women when they grow up..... and then I go to my husband crying because "I onlyl have 2, I want another baby, I'm not as good at this as I thought....." BUT thankfully, I have a great understanding husband, 2 adorable girls that give the best cuddles, great friends to encourage me, including blog friends like you who are keeping it real and letting us all realize that we are human and not perfect. :)

(And since I haven't been on in a while, how cute are your kids?!?! They are both growing up so much, maybe Kayla just looks more grown up because she's a big sister, I don't know. :)

Sarah said...

I just love your candidness about this Michelle. I've had to graple with those feelings myself from time to time, especially right now being pregnant and tired and all that jazz. I would LOVE to read this book so count me in!

Melanie said...

Thank you for your honesty. I love my role as a SAHM, but sometimes it is just hard. And as supportive as my husband is, he has a hard time understanding that, or what the day to day stuff is like. I just appreciate you reminding me that it is normal to have different feelings than I'd expect. You made my afternoon. melanie

Kat Bryan said...

I know someone who could really use this. Thanks.

Mama said...

I agree with you and I only have one child and one on the way--sometimes when I think of what is to come I get overwhelmed as SCARED!!

raising joey said...

Sounds just like me, lol! Hang in there, it does get better!

I would love to read that book too!

joan said...


I think you hit it right on the mark with every Mom. I think every Mom feels like this at one point. My kids are all grown now but I remember thinking a trip to the grocery by myself was an outing. LOL Sounds like a great book.

MamaGeek said...

Your children are BEAUTIFUL. Really beautiful. And I have just added this book to my library queue because I too always feel inadequate. Oh, the exhaustion!

Lea of Farmhouse*Blessings said...

Bless your heart, Michelle. I'm sure you realize now that you're really not alone. When you see those moms that "have it all together" just realize that they are out on that particular day because it may be only the one day in seven that they had it together enough to get out the door! LOL I know. Believe me I know. I have been a sahm for 11 years now.

Two of my 3 children have challenges. The days can be very long and there are times when tears come, but as my eldest graduated from high school just last week I reflected that I would not give up even one day that I had spent at home with him. In fact, I wish I could have more. It has been such a blessing to my life despite the challenges.

It is so good that you're reading and getting encouragement. We all need that.

You mentioned handwriting skills in another post. For my youngest son, we used the hand over hand method on a chalkboard for a very long. My hand-on his-writing his name over and over and over until I slowly gave him more control. One day, he wrote his name and we continued with the rest of the letters.

We also used our finger to write letters in sand and whipped cream and pudding even on sand paper. Anything to keep it interesting and reinforce those movements.

Wishing you the very best,

Melissa Stanton said...

Hello Michelle and readers of Big Blueberry Eyes!

Thank you, Michelle, for your kind words about my book. I'm so glad that you and your readers are able to find "comfort" in what I had to say. Just writing the book and hearing from the moms who participated in my research gave me great comfort, and reassurance. I pushed to do this book because I was tired of Stay-at-Home moms being talk to or about. I wanted Stay-at-Home moms to be heard! Thanks again. -- Melissa

Bek said...

I am sorry you are struggling. I wish we lived closer....I just had the same breakdown. Even after 4 kids I always forget that at this point (3 ish months) is when I start to say to myself "I KNOW that at some point my kids slept all night and had scheduled naps but how exactly did we get there?". There is something magical about the 3rd month when routine finally falls into place.

You are normal and you are a great mom. We all have those days. Mothing is HARD. It feels like we hear that so much it has become trite, but it REALLY is the hardest job in the world. Really.

Your boy has the same wonderful eyes that Kayla does. WOWIE. I love that my Gracie's eyes are blue too. In fact, yours was the first blog I read about children with DS and I was able to picture a little girl like yours (white hair and big blue eyes). So far, so good!!

Chris said...

Show me a SAHM who never has had one (or 100) of those days when ENOUGH IS JUST ENOUGH!

If you find her (which you won't), ask her to write a book sharing HER to write a book sharing her secrets.

Feeling crazed at times is part of the SAHM job description.

I've been a SAHM mom for 10 1/2 years (working from home for part of it). With each child, the job gets a little harder, because their is more work. With each child, it therefore becomes more important to make sure you take a little time for yourself to just rejuvenate.

It is great that Joe understands how you feel and appreciates the job you do.

Staying home with your kids--It is the most rewarding, often thankless, important, exhausting, wonderful, crazy, fun, stressful, amazing job there is.

Nancy said...

Hang in there, Michelle. It is nice knowing our feelings are valid, no matter what they are! We don't have to be Ms. Merry Sunshine 24-7. In fact, without the lows, the highs would not be so high.

You are a wonderful mother!

Amy said...

One of the things I love most about Blogville is how we can share our hearts and struggles. We soon learn that while we thought we were all alone in our circumstances we are SO not! And that really is a good thing. Not that we are struggling, but that we have each other to cry to or get advice from or just vent when needed.

Sometimes just having a listening ear can help me feel refreshed and ready to tackle the job again. Being a mom is the hardest job we will ever have.

I always felt bad when I was not wanting to be a mom on certain days. Just the sound of their voices would almost drive me to tears. I know that sounds awful, but it's truthful.

Sometimes I think we have so much on our plate that we can't do it all alone. We have to learn what really needs to be done and what can wait for another day. And yes, sometimes the stuff we have to get done is way too much to even think about. It is overwhelming, I know.

But I am sure you will look back and remember all the good days, Michelle. You have such a wonderful husband and I am thankful he is understanding. That in itself helps I'm sure.

Just know that you can share with all of us and I will be praying for you daily as you start each day anew! You and your family bring a smile to my face daily so it is a privilege to pray for you my friend.

Love, Amy

Sari said...

Sounds like something so many of us could use as a reminder on those days when it all seems to just be a gray day. I as well am a SAHM to two children and I have a wonderfully supportive husband who like yours will let me vent and ask "what can I do to help". This book sounds like a wonderful insight to moms everywhere - we can still be the best mommies and yet not want to do it every so often-and then come the next day and we are ready to go again. Would LOVE to read this book.

Michelle said...

You know since I had my little one I have found out that being a stay-at-home mom is a lot harder than it looks from the outside. It's very tiring and trying and I, like you, am very glad to hear it's not just me :) Sounds like a wonderful book.

April said...

Funny I almost cried when I read the "If there's one thing I hope women will learn from this book, it's that it is okay to sometimes not love being a Stay-at-Home mom." All my life all I ever wanted to apsire to be is a stay-at-home mommy. I have two kids - 4 and almost 2 years old and at times I feel like a total failure. This is the job I have been waiting for!! Why is it so hard sometimes? I want to do better, and be better.. I look at moms with more than two kids and wonder how they do it.. I don't think I could. I really need to read this book.

Sue said...

It sounds like a great book. It's great when you find something that makes you feel better about how you've been feeling!

Robert said...

sounds like a must read! I'll be adding a link from out site to yours. love the idea of the give-away! thanks Michelle! We all need reminders that we're not alone!
(This is posted by Aimee... not sure why my hubby's name came up. ;o)

amanda said...

First-I'm not commenting because of wanting to try and win the book-although that would be nice, but I intend to possess this book as soon as possible-lol

I'm a sahm to 3 children, who I love being able to be home with, but somedays I'm going in all different directions with a 17 yr old, a 4 yr old, and a 2 yr old. It was really bad when I had a 15 yr old, a 2 yr old, and a newborn-lol. People wold say-"Oh you have a built in babysitter." Ha-that's what you think. I felt like I had all the stages/bases covered with a teen, a toddler, and a newborn.

Verge of tears. I say cry it out because sometimes you have too. I've cried many-lol and I have to say I do feel better afterwards. I've tried to hold my verge of tears, but I haven't always been able to contain them around my children, so to not upset them I'll just go to another room and let them spill out until I can contain them better-lol

It's great to see this post and all the other comments on this post.

It's great to see I'm not the only one who has told their children they don't want to be a mommy anymore.

It's great to see I'm not the only one who feels inadeqaute as a mom-especially when I have seen/thought the same about other mother's being so put together, and everything just flows so smoothly for them or so it seems.

It's great to see the words "isolation, frustration, and insanity." It's great to see the word "guilt" written or not.

It's great to see I'm not alone.

It's great to see other husbands don't understand....-even though I do think they sometimes try to.

It's great to see all the negative thoughts and emotions related to being a sahm, or a working mom.

It's great to see all of the negatives-because in the end all of the negatives are really the positives.

Those negatives just show how much we love/care for our children, and how important it is to all of us to be the best mother's we can be for them.

In the end-You all are awesome!

amanda said...

Michelle-In my comment I meant to say thank you for sharing your self and this wonderful book, but I was getting a little outside interference-I hurried and forgot to tell you.