Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Book Review: The Rookie Mom’s Handbook
Excuse me while I strap on my vagina. Don’t worry, it’s only plastic and doesn’t imbue me with any superhuman powers.
The special occasion is the arrival of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook at our home. Whitney Moss and Heather Gibbs Flett, the moms over at the Rookie Moms blog, have packed 250 activities (and sometimes tips) into a book for new mothers.
This isn’t one of those generic parenting books where they insultingly exclude dads for the sake of a catchy title. It’s just not a dad thing to plop your baby in a stroller and "pretend you’re in Paris" by heading to your favorite cafe with a journal or trashy magazine. Yes, the book has its appropriately girly moments.
So… of the 250 activities in the book, about half come from the
800+ found on the website and half are new. They’ve been rewritten to
have a singular voice. Activities are organized by how many months
old your baby is, although they don’t always involve your baby, and
vary in length from one paragraph to two pages, usually brief and to the point.
Perhaps what I like most about the book is its consistent theme: get out of the house!
Having a wife who was in the 10 to 15 percent of new moms who
experience depression, I know that shaking up one’s routine with fun
diversions and time with friends is important for every mother.
Here are a few of my favorites from the book:
Month 1: #14 Make a time capsule. I love its suggestion of taking
and printing photos of the things in your home and in your life. That’s
what always fascinated me when looking at photos from my youth. I
remember that couch!
Month 5: #87 Play in another kind of nursery. A garden nursery.
We’ve done things like visit the local pet store. I never thought to
visit a nursery to experience a lot of different plant textures and the obligatory wind chimes. Incidentally, we have a set of wind chimes in
our boy’s room. They’re magical for ending a cryfest and consuming his
Month 6: #126 Party like you have a 6-month-old. Plan a Mom’s Night
Out. It seems obvious, but my wife has always been invited to such
things, never planned one. What’s to plan? Dinner out and a movie, and
the dads deal with the kids. I’ll see if I can finagle her into doing
Month 10: #195 Host a board-game night. Oh, yes. You have friends
over, then a few weeks later they invite you over. Sometimes
babysitters are used. Sometimes you bring your babe or toddler with
you, she goes to sleep, then you cart her back home at the end of the
evening. It’s most certainly doable. And in a few years your kid stays for a sleepover.
Month 11: #212 Document baby’s birthplace. The idea is to take
photos of your baby at postcard-worthy places in your hometown. It’s
cool enough, especially if you move towns in the next 10 years. But
that sparks another idea… revisit the hospital and take photos of the
birth room (when it’s empty). Or at least, get a photo of your older
baby revisiting some aspect of the place.
Month 12: #231 Meow, bark and tweet at the pet store. Ahh, damn, they don’t miss a beat.
Here are three favorites from my wife. I limited her to three because, hey, get your own blog.
Month 5: #104 Kick off some family traditions. Brainstorm about what
holiday and other traditions are important, whether you’ll start new
ones, and try them out before your toddler gets too old.
Month 7: #141 Document examples of bad parenting. Take photos of
what not to do and share with your friends and relatives (and hope they
don’t report you).
Month 9: #183 Make dinner after dinner. Bond with your partner by planning and preparing tomorrow’s dinner tonight.
I say: the book is a lot easier to digest for new mothers than
pouring over the entirety of the Rookie Moms website. Blogs are not up most peoples’
alleys, and here you’re getting the best ideas (so far) without
spending hours sitting at a computer.
My wife says: The book is cute and I’d give it as a baby shower gift.
Grab The Rookie Mom’s Handbook at Amazon.