Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms

Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms by Tami Kiser

For some reason (that would be not reading the description completely), I expected this book to focus more on how to like Mary than how to be organized. It's actually an organizational book written to help moms (especially Catholic or Christian moms) shape their homes and responsibilities around their families rather than the other way around.

I am a Martha, you see. I have always been a Martha, but having children made the mean Martha in me come out even more. In just the past few years, I have been paying closer attention to the areas of our lives that cause me to start focusing more on stuff like how clean the house is rather than keeping the house clean enough so I can spend time with my family. I really do not want to be the kind of mom who yells at her kids to clean up all the time or who stresses out so much about a mess that I never let them use glue. If I don't keep an eye on my anxiety levels and plan accordingly, I am totally that mom.

I've read a bunch of organizing books and spend plenty of time skimming Pinterest for ideas for problem spots, so I was surprised to find some great ideas. One of the best so far has been the chore wheel. I should have taken a picture of mine, but you can find a bunch of them online like this one. Ours is just for dinner and is only for the three oldest (the youngest of whom needs mom or dad to closely supervise). It's already cut down on arguments about whose turn it is.

The best thing about this planning and organizing book is how the focus is not on being super-planned or super-organized, but about meeting the minimum needs of your family so you can actually spend time with your family, so you can be at your best (and the kids are at their best) for playing games or enjoying dinner together or taking a nature walk.

She's also reasonable.
Deciding which activities to be involved in is by no means an easy process. It's a balancing act that parents have to perform. Often, both choice are right: you are okay if you do sign up for Little League, and you are okay if you don't.
I also found lots of great ideas for handling technology and issues that grow as the children grow. I don't have teenagers yet, but I'm closer than I used to be! I liked reading a little about what we can expect, some proactive ideas, and (maybe most of all) the assurance that all these opportunities for growth do not have to be huge battlegrounds.

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