Are you happy?: A book review

I just finished reading a book that I just HAD to tell you about.  I was browsing the library shelves when I saw Happy Housewives by Darla Shine.  The front of the book says “I was a whining, miserable. desperate Housewife- But I Finally Snapped Out of It . . . You Can, Too!”  See, why I had to get it?  I would read it, report back, and then we would all have fun making fun of it.  Brilliant.

Except half way though I realized, except for one of two things, she actually made some sense.  Well, that went that post.

You know me.  I’m not miserable.  Usually.  Unless I’m puking and peeing at the same time because I’ve been poisoned by proestrogen.  Unless I’m sick.  Unless the boys decide to try to cage fight; while I’m too tired to care and busy trying to get dinner on.  But on the whole, I’m a happy . . . homemaker?  Really, I don’t know if there’s a title I like. 

As I read Shine, I realized she wasn’t really talking to me at first.  She started talking to the upper-class moms who stay at home with the kids but have a nanny and/or cleaning lady.  We’ve all heard about them, and we’ve all heard about their complaining.  Really, Shine tells them to fire the help and do it themselves.  My grandma would say these women were just too bored and needed to work to stop whining.

But as the book went on, I realized she was talking to all moms.  She talked about enjoying your house because that’s where you stay all day, making it a place you want to be.  Shine wrote about how moms need to take care of themselves, feel good about themselves, encouraging our kids through our example of being healthy adults.  She encouraged moms to have a social life, to have hobbies, to have some me time.  Really, that’s what so many stay-at-home moms need, a balance between mom, wife and woman.  And I agreed with her and stopped making fun of when she wrote about fixing your lipstick before your husband comes home.

While at first, I couldn’t stand her writing style of breaking out of “character” to tell me she needed to do something for one of the kids.  I’m a trained writer, so I saw it as poor writing skills, but I then realized she was just being a mom, showing her street cred, if you will.  How many times are we talking to someone on the phone and have to ask for a minute to deal with a kid issue?  My only problem became that she dropped this style three-fourths into the book.  She should have taken it through to the end.

Since I can’t leave it all rainbows and sunshine, I will criticize some of her suggestions.  Like throwing out all your clothes that are older than a year, so that you always have a fresh wardrobe.  That must be nice when you’re rich, but most of us can’t do that.  Or the fact that she says that all houses should have a playroom with a door, so you can shut the door on the mess.  At one point, I could I hide the toys in a kiddie corner, hidden by the couch, but now in my itty, bitty house, the toys are taking over.  (Send reinforcements if I ever miss three days in a row because it means a regime change of the toys.)

But the best part, that I actually tossed the book down so I could call my BFF and howl with laughter with someone, is when Shine talked about her healthy eating.  Talking about Susan Powter’s books, Shine writes, “She gives oatmeal as one example.  She says everyone thinks oatmeal is a healthy food, but have you ever heard of an oat tree?”  Well, no, I haven’t, but that’s because oats grow on grasses like wheat.

So if you’re browsing and in the mood for some light reading to encourage you through your path of stay-at-home motherhood, I suggest you pick up Darla Shine’s Happy Housewives.  Just take some of it with a grain of salt.

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