Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review - Mom Rules: Because Even Super Heroes Need Help Sometimes

Well, I realize I'm just missing the Mother's Day gift buying timeframe with this review, but maybe this will come in handy for a "just because" gift for mom/wife/etc. Or maybe you can pick it up and hold onto it until next Mother's Day. Whatever suits your fancy. :)

As the adage goes, there is no manual about how to be a good parent. As more and more time goes on, that adage isn't quite as accurate as it once was. Each year there is a new smattering of parenting books, magazines, posts and articles filled with new or modified advice for prospective parents, new parents or long time parents. A lot of the advice is similar though sometimes the different books contradict one another or try to come up with some radical new idea to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Whatever your take on parenting, you'll find that there are a ton of places to turn for advice.

Mom Rules begins by graciously acknowledging that moms are superheroes but then also acknowledges, as the cover points out, that even superheroes need help sometimes. This book is the follow up and companion book to Dad Rules released last year. Like its predecessor, Mom Rules is filled with dozens of "rules" for parents ranging from prospective parents to empty nesters. Each rule is short and to the point often taking no more than a single page. The rules are divided into three main sections of parenting advice and often reference other rules in this book as well as corresponding rules in the Dad Rules book.

For readers or parents looking for deep psychological insight into parenting and child rearing, this is not the book for you. Similarly for those looking for specific tactical advice or in-depth instructions to put into practice, you may want to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for some quick insightful ideas that can make your parenting smoother and more effective, this book is a great place to dive in. Don't take that to mean that this lightweight book doesn't have merit. Many of the rules include reference to scientific studies and many of them also include humorous and poignant real-life examples to illustrate their points.

The light, easily accessible nature of the rules is actually one of the strengths of the read. Rather than getting bogged down in a lot of psychology or analytics, the authors "cut to the chase" and present straight forward no-nonsense advice to help work your way through the parenting minefields.

As with many advice and self-help books you'll find that a lot of the rules may seem like "common sense." Again, that shouldn't diminish their value. As someone once said, "common sense isn't that common and sometimes it doesn't make sense." If you look at some of the rules and say "well, duh, I already do that", that just means you're ahead of the curve.

The trick to these rules aren't that they are revolutionary or surprising, it's that they are hard to remember when you get into the emotional forays of raising a child.

For example it's easy to think you'll have no problem with Rule 34 "When your child is Right, say so" until you find yourself in a heated discussion and realize that maybe your 6 year old is smarter than you. You might also think you'll never break Rule 35 "Never say, 'Because I said so, that's why.'" until you're at the end of a super long day and dealing with a seemingly belligerent child who isn't willing to do anything without an in-depth manifesto providing them good motivation.

Some rules are created with new technology in mind such as Rule 73, "Beware of what you post Online" and Rule 61, "Be social-media smart." Once again, these rules don't provide specific instructions for doing this but trust that you can rely on your own common sense and make good decisions depending on your individual situation.

The purpose of this book isn't to give you some major psychological trick to try on your kids or to help you develop a specific routine or process for raising perfect kids. Rather this book exists to act as a quick reference reminder or the small and simple (though not always simple) things you can and should be doing every day to make sure you are connecting with your kids and keeping your eye on the the big picture of parenting and family life.

Every child is different. Every family is different. But some principles and paradigms are generally universal and should be remembered. This book helps focus on some of those key principles in order to keep them at the front of your mind amid the chaos and different motivations of the world outside your home. Children need to be loved, to be wanted, to be nourished and to be cared for. If you keep that in mind while also remembering that they are "just children", hopefully you'll be able to keep things in perspective and raise happy, well adjusted kids who will thank you…just as soon as they grow out of adolescence. :)

4 out of 5 stars

View all of my reviews on

1 comment:

Brian Miller said...

sounds like a pretty straight forward book...and you are right that these are things we can easily forget in the moment when you most need them...