There was a time when the title — even the premise — of this book would have tripped my skepticism alarm. "What can a parenting 'expert' tell me about being happy, especially in ten little steps?" Harumph.
I'm now older and more experienced, and I know better than to pooh-pooh the wisdom contained in this slim volume, much of which I've had to learn on my own (in other words, the hard way).
The wisdom. Ironically, as a new mom, I might have ignored the book's ten "secrets" as too simplistic or obvious to produce something as lofty as Happiness. "#1: Take the easy way out," "#4: keep it real," and even "#7: make your bed" … c'mon, really?
Now that I'm eleven years into motherhood's surprises and challenges, I can say, "yes, really." Happiness as a mom has as much to do with high-level attitude shift as it does about day-to-day habits. The Happiest Mom recognizes this and lays out practical steps to help you with both. Don't be fooled by the cheerful presentation and quiz-and-checklist format: this is profound stuff. Profound and doable.
The author. Meagan Francis, mother of five and creator of The Happiest Mom blog, has been sharing her practical, positive advice for years. She's the best kind of parenting expert…one who has learned from her own experience and shares her discoveries with humor, perspective, and an open mind.
I got to know Meagan last summer at the BlogHer conference, and we spent time laughing and swapping ideas a couple weeks ago at the Mom 2.0 Summit. She's as funny and down-to-earth in person as she comes across in her writing. This is someone you want on your new motherhood team.
The delivery. Meagan manages to give advice without sounding preachy or saccharine. She shares her accomplishments with pride, and her foibles with humor and humility. It's not often you stumble upon someone you can identify with and admire at the same time.
This book is the ideal gift for a new- or expecting mother. Bonus: it comes with a free one-year subscription to the Early Years edition of Parenting magazine.
Win it! I've got three copies of The Happiest Mom to give away. To enter, leave a comment sharing your #1 new parent tip. If you could give your favorite expecting mom or dad a single piece of advice, what would it be?
I'll randomly choose three winners on Wednesday, April 27 at 5PM PST. Good luck!
The giveaway is now closed, and the winners have been announced.