Mama Reads

[Lewis is still feeling stuffy and unwell with his cold, and I have the pleasure of now also having a cold. He’s been more needy than usual and I have less energy than normal, so I’ve been pretty much just focusing on him and letting everything else go by the wayside. Hopefully we are both over this soon and I will be able to get back to my normal things like cooking dinner and writing here a bit more often. I have been working on this post for a week, and part of it is just copy-pasted from my Amazon review of the book. No photos in this post as WordPress is giving me a hard time and won’t let me upload anything today.]

Lewis loves a lot of attention and Mommy-time pretty constantly throughout the day, and the “free time” he gives me is often used for things like eating breakfast, peeing, and doing laundry, but I’ve found that I am able to get some reading done while he nurses. He is a “snacker” and eats frequently throughout the day – at almost 7 months he still likes to nurse every 1 1/2 to 2 hours (and even more often while he has been sick.) But each nursing session is pretty short, usually just 5-10 minutes. This means that I get lots of tiny opportunities to do a little bit of reading. I’ve found that the Kindle is perfect for this since it is easy to hold or prop up where I can see it and also easy to keep track of my place without fumbling with bookmarks and lost pages.

I’m sure there are those who would say that I should keep my attention focused on Lewis while he is nursing and gaze lovingly into his eyes the entire time, not read books and ignore him. I of course don’t read every time he nurses, or for the entire nursing session usually. As I mentioned, I like the Kindle because it is so easy to pick up and put down quickly and I can read, or not, while paying attention to him and his wants/needs. If he seems to want some extra attention or is looking up at me while he nurses of course I pay attention to him and not the book. However, he has always been a pretty focused nurser and usually isn’t interested in making eye contact while he eats. When he was younger he would even get upset and stop nursing if I were watching him too much, so I just follow his cues.

I’m not usually big on writing book reviews, but since this is a book on Mommying it seems appropriate. (Is “book review” even what I should call this? Makes me think I’m in 8th grade English class again.) I download a lot of random free books from Amazon, but I also buy books for myself now and then when there is something specific I want to read. Recently it seems that many of the books I buy end up being parenting related. I decided to buy Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller after hearing some good things about it and reading the description. I thought it might be nice to add a little more “zen” to my busy days with Lewis. Well, it turns out this book just really wasn’t right for me. (The rest of this is from my Amazon review, with a few little changes.)

I was looking forward to reading this but found that I had a very hard time connecting with this book. The first half of the book I especially didn’t enjoy, as the writing sounded very negative and resentful. I know motherhood has its hard parts, but I expected more positivity mixed in with the stories of struggles. While the author clearly loves her daughter, she seems to feel that her life is over now that she is a mother.

I also disliked the way she wrote as if her story is exactly the same as any mother’s story. She assumes that since she resents losing her career so does every woman; she had issues with her marriage after their daughter was born, so must everyone, etc. While of course I have had my own difficult moments as a mother, they have been completely different from those described by the author as universal experience.

I could tell from the first few chapters that I wasn’t really connecting with the book, and I considered stopping half way through. I decided that since I had spent the money on it, and have heard good things about this book, I might as well continue and see if it got any better. There were a couple of chapters later in the book that I felt a little more connected with, but over all this book was just not for me. One of the few points that I did like was when she talks about being there in the moment with your child and in your life (which I guess is what zen is all about) rather than allowing your mind to always be busy thinking about everything you did earlier, need to do later, etc. The book did make me a little curious to learn more about Zen Buddhism, but I didn’t feel that this book had what I was looking for or expecting as far as knowledge/advice/positive stories.

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