I had read several good things about this book, so when I saw it in the Holistic Mom’s Network library, I had to check it out myself. Especially because I’ve been in need lately of some more lighthearted reading, and a short mommy commentary seemed like just the ticket. The book was a mixed bag, though. I was impressed in some places, disappointed in others – and appalled in still others. Mead-Ferro’s writing style is not the casual, blog-like journaling found in How My Breasts Saved the World or Beyond One. It’s far more judgemental than that. And less well-written.
The general thrust of the book is that Mead-Ferro feels that too many things are marketed towards parents these days – too many things are considered “necessities” that really are not. This is a great thought, and one I completely agree with. (An interesting one, though, considering that Mead-Ferro is in marketing and writes advertising copy for a living.)
However, she really fails to discuss any of these ideas in any depth. Her main justification for feeling this way is that her parents didn’t get her many toys, childproof the house, or attend her sporting events, and she turned out fine. So, based on that, she’s discovered the formula for successful parenting. And that’s what each of the book’s chapters says.
Even more disappointing than the actual content is Mead-Ferro’s general attitude that she and her parents are the only ones in the whole world who are able to successfully parent children. That parents who do things like make scrapbooks, attend their children’s sporting events, or quit their careers to raise their children are somehow depriving their children of…something.
In places, it actually read – to me – as though she was trying to justify some of the choices she’s made in her life. She’s busy with her career – but that’s good for her kids because it gives them something to be proud of her for. She doesn’t have time to scrapbook – but people who scrapbook are child-obsessed fools. She has a nanny for her kids – but interacting with caregivers of all sorts beyond just family helps to expand her children’s social circles.
Finally, even though the book is rather short, it could even be half as long – at least half of the pages are filled with boringly repetitive comments about the Mead-Ferro’s upbringing on a cattle ranch, judgmental comments about parents who don’t slack as much or in the same ways as she does, and her rather shallow revelations about parenting.
When I picked up this book, I was hoping to read something that would validate my choice to be a slacker mom – or what I consider a slacker mom to be. For me, being a slacker means not being my son’s 24-hour Personal Entertainment Center. Letting him discover the consequences of his actions on his own. Letting him fall, fail, and struggle. Letting him play independently, secure in the knowledge that I’m right here if he needs me. I found some of that in Confessions of a Slacker Mom, but mostly I just found myself slightly bored and increasingly irritated.
Bottom line? That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. Fortunately, I read it while holding a sleeping, sick baby – something terrifically anti-slacker.
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