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Mar212011

The Happiest Mom (New Book Release by Meagan Francis)

When Julian was little and I started spending time on attachment parenting forums, everyone was raving about Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block. An anti-thesis to many of the baby trainers and baby schedulers, this book offered suggestions for creating a "fourth-trimester" like environment to help ease your baby's transition into the world.  There are mantras out there that a happy baby makes a happy mom and others that a happy mom makes a happy baby. In reality, I don't think that one makes the other. I believe that we (babies and moms) each have unique needs, but that those needs also intersect in amazing and sometimes frustrating ways.

So while I've spent a lot of time focusing on the needs and happiness of my children and while I get great joy from their happiness, I also recognize the need to focus on my own happiness. That is why I was thrilled to learn that my friend Meagan Francis was writing a book on the topic. I've been reading Meagan's blog and following Meagan on twitter for a long time and I recently had the great pleasure of finally meeting her at the Blissdom Conference in Nashville.

Meagan's book, called The Happiest Mom, has just been released. The official launch date is in early April, but it is already available in some stores and online.  Although she doesn't call herself an attachment parent anymore, I know that her parenting style is quite compatible with many of us in the attachment parenting community. With 5 kids and 13 years of parenting under her belt she's had plenty of time to practice her ideas and hone her skills.  The previews of her book over on her blog and her writing in general on her journey as a happy mom provide excellent insight on focusing on yourself and enjoying motherhood.

I hope you'll take the opportunity to check out Meagan's blog and her book. I know that I'll be picking up a copy of it myself.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for or asked to write this post. I plan to purchase a copy of the book myself.
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Reader Comments (10)

Looks interesting. The library doesn't have it yet, so I requested it :)

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary @ Parenthood

That's a great idea, Mary. :)

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

This is really timely for me. A friend of mine just sent me a link to a post from her blog this morning. Maybe it's a sign (if I believed in that sort of thing) to read her blog and check out this book.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Thanks so much for the very nice recommendation, Annie! I'm honored.

This looks interesting, though I'm wondering how you feel about it being linked with Parenting magazine? I've been continually unimpressed by that magazine - it panders to mothers' fears, is filled with formula ads, "it's okay to cry-it-out", and other very mainstream parenting advice, etc. The reason the liason concerns me (beyond the previous reasons given and the fact that it's mentioned prominently on the cover) is that is also seems that it may be written in a very "Parenting Magazine" style. One of the sample pages in the book on amazon, shows a self-evaluation "quiz" very similar to those given in the parenting (and all the similar mainstream parenting magazines) magazines. So while I think the topic of the book seems intriguing, particularly when endorsed by you, I have to be honest I'm less inclined to purchase it if it is going to read like an extension of Parenting Magazine, instead of a helpful, down-to-earth, mother-to-mother book.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

Kelly, I'm actually glad you brought that up and I hope you and Annie don't mind me weighing in here.

Yes, the book was written in cooperation with Parenting Magazine, which essentially meant I had two sets of editors--one on the West coast (my publisher) and the Parenting eds on the East coast! While the ideas presented in the book are almost all mine, the format (short & sweet) came from my publisher while the tone is heavily influenced by Parenting. That means that, yes, it's a far more mainstream-appealing book than what you might be accustomed to reading. As somebody who can rarely stay under 1000 words in a blog post, I think of the book as a diet version of my blog--but without the aspartame, because, well, yuck.

That said, the advice and ideas came straight from me (I think there were only a handful of references that slipped through that I wasn't crazy about--one in particular about canned soup that's been nagging at me) and it's not a parenting manual so much as it is a guidebook to help moms work through some common obstacles to their own happiness. So you won't really find much in there about specific parenting techniques, pro or con (though we did get in a few subtle anti-CIO references!) But you will find tips on how to evaluate your own parenting goals and values and priorities to come up with a style that works for you. I can accept that might seem wishy-washy to some, but my ultimate goal with the book is to help the most mothers possible get more joy, fun, and satisfaction out of motherhood, because I really do believe a happier generation of moms is going to lead to a happier (healthier) generation of children, whether those moms are using cloth diapers or not, breastfeeding or not, etc.

Thank you so much for commenting Meagan; I had hoped you would! I appreciate your honesty, and, perhaps because of this:

"As somebody who can rarely stay under 1000 words in a blog post, I think of the book as a diet version of my blog–but without the aspartame, because, well, yuck. "

I am more likely now to want to check it out in person than I was before. :)

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

kelly:

I'm of two minds on the issue.

On the one hand, I completely agree with you about Parenting magazine. On the other hand, I hope that some of the Parenting magazine crowd/readers can be reached with more positive messages if authors like Meagan get published by them.

I feel similarly about Teresa Pitman (one of the co-authors of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, an LLL Leader, and key figure in LLL Canada) writing for Today's Parent (a Canadian parenting magazine). The magazine is fairly mainstream and filled with formula ads, but at least I know the breastfeeding stories will be accurate because of Teresa's work there.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

All my new-mom friends are struggling with balance and a sense of self-worth, exhaustion and fear they're "ruining" their babies. A book like this is timely in today's atmosphere of the myth of the perfect parent; we need as many supports as possible to give us ideas on how to support ourselves.

I see your disclosure and raise you the admission that I am waiting on a free review copy. And I can't wait to read it.

I interviewed Meagan yesterday for my new podcast, and she was fabulous. :)

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

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