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The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity Paperback – September 6, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Q&A with Dr. Meg Meeker, Author of The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Q: Your book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters received very positive critical acclaim and was a national bestseller. Why did you decide to shift your focus to mothers?
A: I decided to write on mothers for two reasons. First, after I saw the overwhelmingly positive response to the encouragement I gave fathers in Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, I realized that there is a huge paucity of encouragement out there not just for fathers, but for mothers too. Second, over the past 25 years, I have witnessed a shift in the level of stress that all mothers feel. I believe (and research supports this) that mothers are more stressed today than they have ever been. I wanted to drill down and find the sources of the stress and offer solutions to mothers in a positive, encouraging way. I also learned one extremely important lesson very early on as a pediatrician: if I really want to keep kids emotionally and physically happy, the best thing I can do for them is help their mothers. Once she's happy, I didn't need to worry about the kids.)

Q: This new book discusses ten essential habits that mothers should abide by to reclaim the passion, purpose and sanity in their lives. How did you come up with these specific habits--were any of them based on your own personal experience as a mother?
A: I comprised a list of "habits" for mothers after I identified the key stressors in mothers' lives. For instance, I found that money, feeling overwhelmed with complicated schedules, and fear that they weren't parenting well enough were some key stressors. These habits counter those key stresses. Since there isn't much research available on mothers' attitudes toward fear or competitiveness, for instance, much of my advice comes from years of listening intently to the mothers I see in my practice.

Q: Why is solitude so important to mothers these days.
A: Solitude is extremely important for several reasons. First, as mothers, we are continually bombarded with another person's needs and demands. In order to stay sane, we need a reprieve from these. Also, we need solitude so that we can spend reflective time on deeper, important issues such as: what do we want from our lives, what is our purpose and what do we really want for our kids? Finally, solitude teaches us to learn to enjoy our own company. This cannot be understated because every mother needs to learn to like herself and like being with herself. Only solitude affords this.

Q: Whether you are a single mother or in a happy relationship, you assert that it is so important for women to form friendships with other women. Why?
A: Mothers need other women friends because one of our primary needs is to be in deep relationship with a few close people. Our kids cannot serve this need and our husbands can only do so to a certain extent. We mothers need women friends because women think like we do, they stick with us when others leave us and they love us in ways that many husbands, family members or children can't.

Q: There are a lot of advice books for parents on the market. What makes your approach to parenting and motherhood different?
A: My approach to parenting has always been to start where you are and move forward. Many parents ruminate on their mistakes and this prohibits them from becoming better parents and from enjoying parenting more. Mothers, in particular, beat themselves up so much for past mistakes and I always encourage mothers to look forward, not back. This book, is the only book I have ever seen that is written for mothers, not to be better parents, but to learn how to enjoy parenting once again. And I know that any mother can enjoy her role as a mother more!

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Arguing that many moms have gone overboard in their quest for perfection, the Michigan-based pediatrician and mother of four presents 10 "new habits" that will help moms maintain their passion, purpose, and sanity. In separate chapters, Meeker addresses understanding your value as a mother, maintaining key friendships, valuing and practicing faith, saying no to competition, creating a healthier relationship with money, making time for solitude, giving and getting love in healthy ways, finding ways to live simply, letting go of fear, and embracing hope. Meeker urges mothers to dig deep to find their life's purpose, rejecting cute but superficial one-liners such as "I'm here to drive my kids around." Though she claims to be "a scientist at heart," Meeker, a Christian, waxes philosophical on many issues, including the importance of faith and spirituality. She also urges moms to seek solitude and live more simply while rejecting such "toxic" cultural messages as being thinner, looking hot, and making more money. Readers in search of tips on how to help their kids excel won't find them here; this is a sincere and thoughtful discussion of what really matters in a mother's life. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345518071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345518071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By bluekitten on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled upon this book when browsing a bookstore during my lunch break. On that particular day, I was feeling really down on myself. Was I being the best mom I could be? Did my friends and family hate me because I wasn't as available as I used to be now that I had a young child? And geez, when will I EVER lose the baby weight? I nearly cried reading just the first chapter, in which Meeker describes the value of a mother, and why it has nothing to do with her employment status, weight and looks, housekeeping abilities, etc. I simply had to buy this book. Finally, a book about motherhood from an author who GETS IT. I love my son deeply and am so happy to be a mother, but just 16 months into this gig, I felt myself drowning in unrealistic expectations -- from myself and from parenting culture in general. I was constantly beating myself up for not being perfect, and those feelings were starting to crowd out the generally positive feelings I have about parenthood. Meeker does a great job of building women up and encouraging them to understand their value. She coaches mothers to pay attention to nurturing themselves and surrounding themselves with people and activities that make them more resilient to handling the challenges of parenting and give them the energy needed to raise children. I suppose deep in my gut, I knew these things were true, but it felt good to hear it from someone else. Taking time to reflect on the author's words and the questions she asked was much better than the therapy I'd been tempted to seek.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By David Crumm on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Meg Meeker will surprise you. I write this as a journalist who has read both of her books: this new volume for women and her earlier Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know. If you've seen Dr. Meeker in one of her brief TV appearances or you automatically associate her books with the work of other self-help gurus out there, you may not anticipate the breadth of what she offers readers. And you may not expect the depth of her advice.

Most self-help books tick off a list that begins with popular desires like weight loss, controlling the family budget, reducing stress at work--all tied up in a neat bundle of tips to help you do more with less. If that's what you're seeking, then you don't want Dr. Meeker's books.

She starts with substance. Dr. Meeker is a woman of deep faith, although she writes for a general audience and her books welcome readers of many spiritual backgrounds. She understands that happiness stems from deep spiritual satisfaction and the truly urgent spiritual questions in our lives are not about doctrine. They're about why we should climb out of bed in the morning, how we can make it through another stressful day and what truly matters in our lives at the end of each day.

That's why she began her first book with a chapter on the basic value of men and fathers: the "what-truly-matters" message. Now, she begins this new book with an entire chapter on the value of women and mothers. Why? Because, if we appreciate our value as human beings, she writes, "We would wake up every morning excited for the day rather than feeling as though we'd been hit by a truck during the night." This is a wise woman.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Marijo Tinlin on April 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Meeker's new book "The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers" is full of great insight about remembering exactly WHY you became a mom. It's not just to run to soccer practice and to make your 1 millionth peanut butter sandwich. It's to love and enjoy your children. To truly love and enjoy your children, you have to be happy yourself. It's like when you hear people say you can love someone fully until you love yourself. That's exactly what Dr. Meeker says for moms too! Instead of trying to decode all the hype around what type of parent to be (Tiger Mom, Panda Dad, whatever) just be happy and things fall in to place. As a mom with five kids in the family, I absolutely see how her approach works! This is a great read and I recommend it for all moms.
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90 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Barbara B. on June 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a disappointment to me. I've listened to Meg on radio and basically enjoyed what she had to say. This book made me feel that if I'm not doing something outside the home, then my full potential is not being realized. That my God given vocation is not being fulfilled. I've got 6 kids that I home school, I've got plenty of vocation right here at home. God doesn't call everyone to fulfill themselves outside the home.

Next chapter about girl friends.......having an interior circle and exterior circle. Well, isn't that special. She does touch on the importance of choosing your friends wisely and does mention that some friends can be problematic (like the ones that always need us to do something for them), but the number of people that we're to have around us to keep us 'happy moms' is just staggering! These friends are to be able and take the kids to soccer practice and bring us a meal, even clean our house! I'm feeling like a bad friend, because I couldn't even do this for any of my friends....not on that big of a scale. Sorry Meg, but it seems that you're writing to a different mom than what I am. 8-(
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