Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Mommy Manual

Sometime last year, Monica passed on a book called The Mommy Manual. It sat in my reading pile for quite awhile before I finally picked it up, but once I did, I plowed through it. Author Barbara Curtis is the mom of twelve children, and reading this book feels like getting letters from a motherhood mentor.

In the last paragraph of the book's introduction, Barbara writes, "Being a mommy and helping your child realize their potential is the best way for you to realize your own." Wow!

Barbara's background is in the Montessori method of teaching so that plays in to her mothering style quite a bit. She talks a lot about observing your children, which she says makes our hearts more tender to them. Among other things, she suggests observing how each child sits, what frustrates or distracts them, and what satisfies them.

Barbara also encourages moms to see the world through our children's eyes: "To understand kids, we first need to step into their very small shoes, cope with the king-sized obstacles they encounter, and process it all with their unsophisticated thinking." And if we think we don't have the patience for that, she reminds us that "any mommy can become more patient with willingness and prayer."

Barbara challenges us to encourage our child's independence by looking for ways to make things possible for him, because she says it's "an important investment in the future." "The ability to discern between rebellion and the drive for independence is key, because mommies need to be doing two things at once: setting boundaries to curb negative behavior and keep the children safe, and encouraging their drive for independence in a positive direction."

The book includes a section on the keys to gracious character, the first of which is gratitude. "If my children are grateful," Barbara writes, "it will be easier for them to be respectful, honest, compassionate, and generous." (Those four qualities are the basis of the additional keys to gracoius character.) In addition, there is a fun section on Barbara's personal recommendations for read-aloud books, family films, and holiday traditions!

In closing the book, Barbara writes, "Motherhood is something that writes itself daily in our hearts, as we are transformed--growing in grace to become the mommies God wants us to be."

Other notes and quotes:

"They {kids} bring out the best and the worst in you even as you're sifting through the best and worst in them."

"As you find more joy and satisfaction in parenting, your child finds more joy nad satisfaction, too, thus bringing you still more joy and satisfaction."

"We all start out as helpless, demanding, and self-centered little creatures. Growing up is all about learning to think beyond our own needs and desires and learning to meet those of others . . . The gift of cheerful, selfless service is a spiritual distinctive that sets us apart and truly enables our light to shine."

"Seven strategies that build a strong work ethic: start early, accept what you get, know your children, teach delayed gratification, equip them to learn, encourage volunteering, and be a role model."

"A mommy with healthy self-esteem, quiet confidence, and a sense that she deserves respect will receive it from her children."

Have any of you read this book? What did you think?
We have family arriving tomorrow for the long weekend, so I look forward to checking back in next week with pictures of our time together!


thehomespunheart said...

So glad you enjoyed it, Carrie!

Katie said...

Sounds like I could glean quite a bit from this manual! I hadn't heard of it before. Thanks for sharing those great quotes!

Stephanie said...

Great timing--I just checked this book out from the library! :) I had never heard of it before but just decided to try it after a quick scan. After reading your take on it I'm looking forward to digging in.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I haven't read it, but some of those quotes are intriguing...I'm going to add it to my (huge) list of things I want to read!

Hayley said...

Lots of great things here....sounds like I need to check this book out. I've been struggling so much with my Gracey just seems like we are always on each others nerves....I'm at a loss for what to do. :(

Jamie said...

Sounds interesting! I'll have to see if our library has it. Hope you are doing well!!