Lessons From Chicken Soup For the Soul.
Title : Chicken Soup for the Soul. Power Moms
Compiled by : Jack Canfield, Mark Victor & Wendy Walker
Publisher : Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing
Date of Publication : 2009
Number of Pages : 381
My Rating : 5 out of 5
Why Read This Book ?
Somebody in my family gave me ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul – Power Moms’. I still do not know who it was as it was part of the Secret Santa Christmas gift exchange that we do every year with my extended family.
At the time, I wondered why this beloved relative thought this was an appropriate gift for me. Not that I did not consider myself a Power Mom. On the contrary, I knew this description had aptly described me for many years since I became a mother. The issue was that this series consisted of 101 Stories Celebrating the Power of Choice for Stay-at-Home and Work-from-Home Moms.
You see, I did not consider myself as either one of these. I had almost always been a Work from Work Mom, except with my most recent job where I had occasionally been allowed to work from home, one day a week. Before that, apart from maternity leave and the other usual leave days, I was not to be typically found staying at home or working from home.
Not that I did not want to, the choices were just limited. None of my previous positions had provided for a flexible working schedule. So why did this relative think that this book was a good gift for me? Perhaps he/she was predicting my future. You see, for the better part of that year; I had been at home. This was not out of choice but due to a retrenchment exercise, which led to me being laid off.
In as much as I had been home, I did not consider myself a Stay-at-Home-Mom. I was busy searching for employment and any additional day I spent at home and not in an office genuinely felt like a punishment. I did not expect to take so long to get back into employment. Thus looking for work had become my full-time job.
Given that, I did not fully appreciate how good it was that I was at home. I felt that my kids were grown, at 15 and 11 years, and did not need me around. Besides, my son was away at a boarding school and was only around during the holidays.
There are only so many CVs you can send out in a day, so I had plenty of free time. My favorite thing to do with free time is read, so I decided to read the book and see what it was about.
Inspiring Stories by Power Moms.
The book comprises 101 short stories mostly written by Moms about their working lives and the choices they made after getting children. There are also some stories from a few men. It was compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Wendy Walker. There are stories from Jane Green, Melora Hardin, Liz Lange, Jodi Picoult, and Lynne Spears, among many others. The foreword was written by Lisa Belkin.
Moms who share their stories have different professional backgrounds. There are lawyers, doctors, writers, marketers, professors, journalists and so on. The stories are grouped into 10 chapters, based on different themes. They detail the reasons why many women decide to quit their jobs and stay at home. Through their stories, different Moms share experiences that they went through after they made this critical decision.
They talk about financial sacrifices and the effects of spending days with babies or young children at home as opposed to adults in a professional environment. They highlight the satisfaction that ultimately comes from being there for your children and watching them grow without missing out on any important milestones.
Several Moms tell us how they dealt with additional challenges such as children with special needs. Moms who work part-time from home as they care for their children share the struggles involved in balancing the two roles as well as successes achieved as they carved their paths.
We also get to hear from several men. They write about experiences with stay at home moms, be it their wives or mothers. Some men also share their own experiences of staying at home and caring for their children. Finally, we take a look at how it feels when it is time for the kids to move on and start their own lives. The writers relate their experiences with letting go and watching their children start their own lives.
My Reflections on The Stories.
Once I started reading these compelling stories, I instantly realized how I had inadvertently been presented with a golden opportunity to be with my two children and spend more time with them. The genuine joy of being at home to greet my daughter when she came home in the evening was beyond anything I had ever experienced in the past. Previously, I had always arrived home after her. To a greater extent, I would be too exhausted to constructively engage in any meaningful conversation.
Now, we could take a stroll around our gated compound as she narrated to me what had happened to her in school that day. I got to properly know her problem areas in school and could adequately support her as she completed her homework. When schools closed and my son came home for the holidays, we were able to spend time just talking or playing all manner of board games. I guided them to explore different skills like cooking, baking and even ironing. We danced, exercised and told stories.
With time, I came to sufficiently appreciate the opportunity that I had to be home with my children. It is not just a simple issue of being there physically when they need me. It is about being fully present as I am not bone-tired every night from an exhausting workday and a long commute.
The stories started to resonate with me. My kids are much older than those featured in the stories and I do not have the crazy schedules that they narrated. Still, I remember those days. These remarkable women demonstrate to us how rewarding it is to be present in your children’s life. They highlight the key challenges and the rewards of doing this. Additionally, they illustrate how a proper balance at times becomes necessary and show us how they were able to achieve it, either by taking on part time work away from the home or working from home.
I respectfully salute all these women for their amazing strength and incredible dedication. Many of them fully deserve the noble Super Mom title! I was inspired by their tales to look for work opportunities that allow me to spend more time on that most important job of all- being a Mom!
I fully recommend that you pick up this book and browse through these inspiring stories. Whether you are looking for some practical advice, comfort or just a laugh, this book has it all!