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Book Review – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms

Cross-posted on my new My Opinion Matters blog!

I received Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Wendy Walker about a month and a half ago. And I had great intentions to read it from cover to cover right away…but a few things got in the way (you know, besides kids! heh)

The first thing was that I was actually embarrassed to read it in public. I mean…does this mean that I think *I’M* a power mom? Does it mean I want to strive to become one? (Yes, I know…the book was sent to me, I didn’t purchase it – but the people watching me read it don’t know that! …and yes, I’m always watched when I read. LOL!) No matter, I (mostly) got over myself and brought it out with me anyway.

The second thing is that the by-line is 101 Stories Celebrating the Power of Choice for Stay-at-Home and Work-from Home Moms. I had thought, “Sweet! I work from home…this should be right up my alley.” Ya. Not really.  At least, not at first. I had a really hard time getting into it because all of the first stories are about these SAHMs whose lives are all rainbows and flowers. “It’s the best decision I ever made!” yadda yadda yadda. Seriously? Not ONE of you thinks “OMG, get this kid AWAY from me??” It just didn’t seem real.

I ended up putting the book down for a while (mostly because I started reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. WOW!) …anyway…when I picked it back up, I figured I’d just skip around looking for stories I could relate to. (THIS is what I love about the Chicken Soup series! If you don’t relate to a story, skip it … you’ll soon find one you can get into.)

I found the work from home chapters and dug right in. YES! This is the stuff. There was one mom in particular who hit the nail on the head when she wrote about everyone envisioning that you’re playing with your kids all day when you work from home…and that it couldn’t be further from the truth. She also totally got the having to hide in your office stage when your kids are at the age when they are horrific if you show your face (and then you get dirty looks from your nanny).

As I read more though, I started to get an uneasy feeling again. And it didn’t hit me right away, but when it did, boy was it big. All of the stories that were written by non-corporate moms (writers and such) were telling their stories, but – at least to me – it felt like a big advertisement for their stuff! Don’t get me wrong – in the same position, I’d probably do the same thing. And I still enjoyed some of the stories…and might even check out some of the products/novels. But it still didn’t seem quite right.

Official Press Release

COS COB, Conn. Get up at 5:00 AM.  Make breakfast.  Get kids ready for school.  Drop off.  Check email.  Bake cupcakes for class party.  Plan PTA meeting.  Pick up kids.  Drive to soccer/ballet/Scouts.  Sound familiar? Every mom is a master juggler and a powerful multitasker – a “power mom” – and for her, life is a constant balancing act. These moms juggle the competing demands of children, husbands or single life, home maintenance, fitness, full or part-time work, pets, and volunteering, while struggling to maintain their own identities and carve out a little “me” time.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get some support from other power-moms-in-the-trenches?

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, March 2009, 978-1-935096-31-3, $14.95) offers stories, laughs, and encouragement for moms everywhere.  The book celebrates hard-working moms, with 101 stories written by “power moms” for each other, sharing their common experiences as new moms, experienced moms, or empty nesters who are finally getting a chance to reflect on their marathons. Stories by regular moms and celebrity moms such as Liz Lange, Melora Hardin, Jane Green, and Lynne Spears all sound the same themes – “power moms” juggle all day long, and they do it beautifully.

In her story “A Mother’s Intuition,” Britney Spears’ mother Lynne Spears writes about the sixth sense every mom possesses. “It’s our job as moms to act on that sixth sense we have, the one that tells us something is not as it seems,” she writes, recalling one of Britney’s first pageants – a pageant she reluctantly agreed to let her daughter do.  “The pageant lived up to my fears, and then some. The mothers were appalling backstage, fussing over their daughters and backstabbing the other contestants. I put her in the wrong dress (it didn’t even fit properly) and the wrong kind of socks. Britney ended up placing near the bottom, and the poor little thing was in tears.  When I ignored [my mother’s intuition], the result was tears and a very unpleasant day,” says Spears.

On the flip side, mother and bestselling author Jodi Picoult talks about a different kind of day: The day of a working mom.  In “The Second Shift,” she recalls her struggle transitioning from a nine-to-five writing schedule with a nanny to help with kids, to no nanny, no nine-to-five, writing only when her husband Tim came home after six.  “Some things you just can’t do with three kids who are awake,” writes Picoult.  “You can’t drink a cup of hot coffee – someone’s always tugging on your leg. You can shop for groceries, but it becomes an Olympian event.”

But once she embraced her role as a full-time mom, Picoult noticed an interesting shift.  “I stare at my computer, where I am supposed to be mulling over the plot and characters of a new novel,” she writes.  “But I find myself thinking instead of my own children, characters who have taken the story of my own life and have given it twists stranger and far sweeter than in any fiction.”

In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms, you’ll also read about:

  • How Terri Major-Kincade gave up her medical practice for a more fulfilling career as a stay-at-home mom
  • How Liz Lange raised her children while building a maternity clothing empire
  • How bestselling author Jane Green left an unhappy marriage and devoted herself to her kids and writing career
  • How Patti Woods learned to let go and nurture independence in her son
  • How Wendy Walker wrote her first novel from the backseat of her minivan

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Wendy Walker) released in March 2009. Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, publishes all the latest titles in the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series which are distributed through Simon and Schuster, Inc. Since 1993, books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have sold more than 112 million copies, with titles translated into more than 40 languages. Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing also licenses the right to use its famous trademark to high quality licensees through IMG, the world’s premier licensing agent. The company is currently implementing a plan to expand into all media, is working with TV networks on several TV shows and is developing a major Internet presence dedicated to life improvement, emotional support and inspiration.  In 2007, USA Today named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable and impactful books in the last quarter century. For more information visit: www.chickensoup.com.

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2 Responses

  1. Mark Victor Hansen is my favourite writer, a recent film featuring him and other successful inspiring book authors, talking about personal development

    ”The YES Movie”
    http://www.TheYESmovie.com.by Louis Lautman

  2. SAHM is not something I planned or wanted. I was going to be “power-attorney”…but a higher power (???) had a different plan for me….TWINS! I never made it to power-attorney, but at 6mths, when I looked at those little tiny people, it was too soon to RTW. And then 1 year rolled around, and 8 yrs later I’m still a SAHM. It’s not rosy and rainbows. I *work* at being a mom. I feel so inadequate when I see those moms that make it look easy. So yes, after 8 years, I consider a SAHM a job…which is why I have the title….VP of Domestic Affairs.

    I look forward to flipping through some of these stories. I always enjoyed some good chicken soup! :>)

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