Oct 2, 2009

Confessions of a Slacker Mom

by Muffy Mead-Ferro

I first picked up this title just because it made me laugh. Slacker mom? I thought it was going to be a guilt confession of some mom selfishly ignoring her child, but instead what I got was a friendly, frank, down-to-earth discussion of how relaxing a bit more as a parent could be better for your kids. Parenting doesn't have to be a competition. Do kids really need all the lessons and coached sports, the prestigious preschools and packed schedules? Mead-Ferro points out they might do better learning how to think for themselves and come up with their own games once in a while. To learn from their own mistakes occasionally. Confessions of a Slacker Mom was right up my alley- I grew up in a family that often made do, not swamping me with the latest fad in lessons or gadgety toys. I remember spending hours playing outdoors with my sisters- one favorite activity was making mud spas for our barbie dolls in an old red ryder wagon. Talk about getting dirty! Some germs and hard knocks are okay, it helps kids be more resilient and self-reliant as they grow up. This book reaffirmed a lot of my own ideas on parenting, ones I need a reminder on from time to time. (My own daughter is pretty squeamish about getting her hands sticky, and I'm often over protective). I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's funny, thoughtful and brief enough to read in a few hours.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 137 pages, 2004

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20 comments:

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I read this book pre-blog, I think while I was pregnant with my second and going through a rash of parenting books. I really liked it. Have you read Confessions of a Slacker Wife?

bermudaonion said...

At first I thought you'd read a book about me! This sounds great!

Holly said...

I picked this up at a school book fair on a whim and it's hysterical!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I think I'd enjoy this. I'm definitely more laid back (at least I think so!). Have you read the book (or do you read the blog) free range kids (www.freerangekids.com) I go against the grain with this, too, and allow my kids many of the freedoms and responsibilities I had back in the 70s and 80s.

Sandy Nawrot said...

YES! Finally, a book that doesn't make me feel all bad about myself!

Jeane said...

Natasha- I read tons of parenting books back when mine was real little, too. No, haven't read Slacker Wife yet. Is it in the same vein?

Bermudaonion- Ha! Glad to know I'm not the only one sitting back more.

Holly- it's been a while since I laughed out loud so much at a book

Dawn- Never heard of free range kids! I'm going to take a look at it.

Sandy Nawrot- I felt the same way. Relieved!

Gavin said...

Jeane - There is a surprise for you here.

Jenny said...

I got distracted by the fact that the author's name is Muffy. Do you think that's her birth certificate name, or do you think it's short for something?

Jeane said...

Gavin- Thanks!

Jenny- I had exactly the same question in mind. No idea. Maybe it's her pen name?

Sherrie said...

Hi Jeane,
Sounds like a great book! I'll have to keep an eye for it. You asked if Lungwort has flowers. Yes it does, a very delicate white 5 petal flower in early spring. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!

Sherrie

Susan said...

I had to read your post because I thought you were going to confess, and I would be relieved (ie I'm slacker mom, totally....)! Even better, it's about a book that we all seem to share similarities with!! I'm with you, I value free time, and playing, far beyond organized sports and lessons. I remember playing , and while I had swimming lessons, that was about it. I got to read instead. If i wanted to do something extra-curricular, that was up to me. And I valued being able to choose that, too. You've added another book to my To-get list!

Jeane said...

Susan- that's funny. Most of my "slacking" (I don't like that word because I'm such a believer in hard work!) is either because we don't have money to pay for lessons, or I want to have a little me-time to read- so I give her lots of suggestions for play that gets her creative. Like building a tent of blankets, or making her own paper dolls, something like that.

Bybee said...

I'd love to see someone in my family read this book and comment on it...she is totally un-slacker mom, which makes her seem really uptight about parenting.

xalwaysdreamx said...

I think the less gadgets you give your kids the more fun they can invent on their own! Our family wasn't that well-to-do when I was younger, however, despite having fewer toys and gadgets, my siblings and I had tons of fun. We would spend days and days just inventing epic stories out of bits and pieces lying around the house. Fun times!

--Sharry

Petunia said...

This sounds so much like me. We have no TV, no video game consols, do no extracurricular sports. We prefer to make our own costumes to play Nomads or Romans or Indiana Jones. We prefer playdough and writing books and creating things with whatever craft supplies we have on hand. This book is going on the list. Thanks for the review.

Jen - devourer of books said...

his sounds really interesting, I think I'm going to pick it up.

Jeane said...

Bybee- She might just dismiss it. I saw quite a number of critical, unfavorable reviews of it on Amazon, and had to think they were from moms who held the other viewpoint.

Alwaysdream- My family was much the same. The less the toys do, the more kids think for themselves and get creative!

Petunia, Jen- I hope you like it!

Fre said...

Slacker dad here - I think I ought to read this book. I did lots of extra curricular stuff as a kid, but my parents were hardly ever involved - in fact they were total slackers and the sports and dancing contributed to that. I lived in the city, was a latch key kid, and hardly ever saw either of them at the games or events. My co-worker was telling me recently how her kids' ec activities had her running around mad for years and years. I thought to myself how absurd. Then I thought about the kind of sprawled out suburban neighborhoods we live in and realized that it would be pretty much impossible for my daughter to grow up like I did unless me or mrs. dogear were chauffeuring her about.

Jeane said...

Is that my very own Fre? Hello, hello! Welcome. So nice of you to stop by.

The Slacker Mom kept referring to her childhood growing up in a suburb, so I could relate to that, but I can imagine it's different from growing up in the city. Although she does talk about kids being taught how to navigate bus and subway systems safely so they can be out and about visiting museums, libraries, etc indepently. Here where we are yeah, I'd need to be chauffeur. And what about costs? Did your folks pay for the sports and other activities you were in? buy you uniforms? That's something.

Fre said...

No. The other benefit of living in a city (or rather, a city as wonderfully communal as San Francisco) was that sports, dance lessons, music lessons, etc. were all had for little more than the cost of equipment and bus fare. Between school, park and rec, boys and girls club, and other non-profit youth orgs, on could partake in a lot of extra curricular activity on the cheap.