November 12, 2015

A Guide for Enjoying the Little Years with Your Kids: A Book Review

A Guide for Enjoying the Little Years with Your Kids: Stop and Smell Your Children Book Review by Collecting Moments Blog

I’ve learned many things since becoming a mother. I’ve learned patience, for my daughter and for others, empathy for other moms who are equally trying their best, and acceptance for imperfections and mistakes I’m inevitably going to make.

In the exhausting, yet satisfying reality of motherhood, I’ve also learned that it can be lonely. To have days where nothing goes your way, where you lose part of yourself to someone else completely, you can’t help but feel the solitude; that you’re doing it all by yourself, that no one else feels that agonizing dichotomy between sacrificing everything to be the best, and craving that old self to help you become THE best.

That all changed when I read Leah Spina’s Stop and Smell Your Children. Suddenly, that parenting solitude that always hung above my head was lifted slightly. Sharing her parenting experience, from the birth of her first child, potty training and everything in between, offered me a different mindset as a mother. It showed me that despite the chaos, I wasn’t alone in my struggles and triumphs, that there were other parents out there (Leah included) who were experiencing the wild ride of parenting in the very same way I am. Finally my insecurities were validated. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t asking myself, “Is it just me? Am I the only mom that does this, that reacts this way?”

Through her words and natural humor, Leah Spina made me realize that insecurities, fear, and mishaps were all part of the new my new normal. And rather than wallowing in self-pity that I can’t do it all, I could simply cherish the little moments parenting brings instead.  

Aside from her comforting words, and her honest humor, Ms. Spina also included one of my favorite features in her book-- a reflection section in every chapter. After every tale, she encourages her reader to “stop and smell” an experience from motherhood.  Whether it’s nursing, playtime, or even sleep deprivation, she inspires her readers to relish these moments with questions, advice, or just words of encouragement.  It’s fantastic way for new parents to gain perspective, to see things in a different light,  and to focus on the little things that often gets lost in the chaos of parenting.

So to say that I loved Spina’s collection of stories would be an understatement. Every experience she shares,  from the downright humorous to the tearfully truthful was enlightening and eye-opening.  I learned more from her tales than from the countless of parenting websites and magazine articles I reference almost daily.  She offered her readers an unprecedented look at motherhood--its joys, its triumphs, its hardships and its sacrifices. In 31 chapters and 176 pages, Ms. Spina manages to affirm that motherhood is more than just dirty diapers, scattered toys, and constant demand from children.  It’s an identity women wear proudly and a calling that we  fulfill selflessly.

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