I have been reading a variety of books this summer. Several of my friends have given me books to borrow including The Robe, Breakfast with the Pope, the Outlander series, and the book I would like to talk about today, A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn.
One day I must have looked especially harried, because my friend, Carmen, recommended this book and let me borrow it. Thank you Carmen! Now, I know I am not raising a large family, only two very precocious girls, ages six and almost four. However, I could identify with many aspects of this book.
First, some background on the author, Mary Ostyn, is a mother of ten children, six who came to her family through adoption. She home schools her children, and written many articles on parenting and adoption. She als had written a cookbook and shopping list entitled Family Feast for $75 a week. She blogs about her adventures at Owlhaven where she shares her stories, her recipes, and her beautiful photos.
To me, women like her are rock stars. How she can keep it all together is amazing to me. I hoped by reading her book I might gleam some insight and pick up some tips.
The first part of the book dealt with overcoming the financial obsacles of having a large family and what creative ways her family did so. Although, my family is much smaller, we too struggled as we reduced our income by 65% when after the adoption of our second daughter, I resigned from my corporate job and became a stay-at-home Mom.
Lately, I have been struggling with is my reaction to my children when they are being contrary or argumentative. I feel I need to "fix" the behavior immediately, but often times my own irritability only adds fuel to the fire. In her chapter entitled "The Super Mom Myth", Mary addresses this situation. She offers this insight:
"When I disengage when the negativity starts and take time to think about my response, I am almost always a more effective parent."
Sage advice, indeed.
There is also much humor is the book. The story of her husband, her oldest daughter, Amanda, and a binkie, made me laugh out loud!
Her calm, common sense approach is easy to read, and never made me feel incompetent. She offers practical tip about finances, meal planning, chores and everything else that came with raising a family. I highly recommend this book.
Two things I am going to do this week I am subscribing to Owlhaven, Mary's blog and I am ordering this book to keep on my nightstand.