Tuesday, June 9, 2009

MOPS Book Review: Life on Planet Mom

*Yes, there's an asteroid belt's worth of planetary and space references in this review. Between the title of the book, my lingual nerdiness, and the fact that I'm trying to put together a space unit study for my son, I just couldn't help it. You've been warned.*

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, moms must be from Mercury. I mean, think about it: wouldn't you describe much of your life post-baby as mercurial? One minute you're ecstatic; the next you're devastated. Monday your husband is The Man, but then Tuesday you wonder why on Earth you married him. And don't even get me started on your mother-in-law.

They say your whole life changes when you become a mom, and they're right. Everything from your body to your philosophy of life changes. Even our relationships change. Of course, our relationships to our husbands change, but the marital relationship isn't the only thing to change. Have you considered the other five key relationships in your life?

  1. Self - How do you see yourself now? More importantly, how do you treat yourself?

  2. Friends - Do you have as much in common with your friends now that you have kids, or do you sense a shift in the company you keep?

  3. Family of origin - Was Mom the smartest woman to ever live or did you learn more of what you don't want to do with your own kids? How does becoming a mom affect your relationship with your mom?

  4. Community - Did Mama Myopia set in or do you finally see the forest out there?

  5. God - You're a parent now. What does your Heavenly Father look like to you through your new eyes?

Lisa T. Bergen finally covers the whole galaxy of relationships in the new theme book for MOPS, Life on Planet Mom: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Your Changing Relationships. The mom of three and bestselling author of more than thirty books gives all moms something to love and learn in this book. Whether you like fiction, non-fiction, book clubs, or self-help, you'll find shining stars of relational wisdom - in small chunks you can read at warp speed, since we all know that's the only speed moms can read in when they're chasing preschoolers!

For the fiction gals, there's an on-going narrative at the beginning of each chapter about four friends exploring the universe of Mommydom. Stephanie, Jen, Amy, and Keisha will pull you right into their conversations, where you'll wonder if you're reading about fictional characters or conversations with your own friends. I'm more of a non-fiction girl myself, but I actually caught myself crying as I read Stephanie's difficult conversation with her mom at the beginning of chapter three.

Like non-fiction? Not to worry. The fictional bits are short so you won't get bogged down before you get to the nitty-gritty. Lisa includes wisdom both from her own Childfleet Academy career and others that have gone before her, including comments from some of the 500 other MOPS moms out there that responded to a survey she put out with MOPS International while researching for this book. You'll find anecdotes, statistics, and advice from professionals, as well as other moms.

Book discussion addicts will get their fill from this book, too. Lisa's put together questions at the end of each chapter for the Mamas of the Round Table. For those fearless mamas who boldly plan to read a chapter a week (or two weeks), you'll find a handful of questions to think about and discuss with your small group. These aren't namby-pamby "What did you think about this chapter?" questions, either. These are hard, thought-provoking questions to help you open up and relate to other women like you. Don't believe me? How about this one from chapter two: "Have you experienced the 'Is this all there is?' question in your marriage?" How's that for namby-pamby???

As if that wasn't deep enough, there are self-examining questions dotting the book to take you deeper into your motivations and feelings as a mom for those of us that want to answer questions and internalize the book without sharing. These questions hold up a mirror for us to really look at who we are as women and moms and how that affects the relationships with everyone around us. Chapter four has a great question I want each of us as moms to consider, whether you read the rest of this book or not:

Are you clique focused? How would you feel if you were on the outside, wishing to take part? Are you open to inviting others outside your group to come in? How do you do that now or how will you do that in the future? Are you willing, deep down, truly willing, to give people who don't pass your initial review one more chance (and another and another)? [emphasis mine]

Whether or not you're a paid-dues member of MOPS, or if your kids have graduated from preschool (or high school or college, for that matter), I recommend you get your hands on a copy of Life on Planet Mom as soon as possible. It may be a place where no man has gone before, but sister-girl, Planet Mom is full - of other women like you and camaraderie, laughs, and wisdom.


Lisa Bergren said...

Crystal, thanks for the thoughtful review and encouraging words--you made THIS mama smile by what caught your attention, and what you've passed on to others. I appreciate it!

Jean Blackmer said...

Thanks for reviewing MOPS books and helping us spread the word about these great resources for moms. JeanJean BlackmerPublishing Manager, MOPS Intl.

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