Audience: New moms
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (May 14, 2008)
Prize on Amazon: $10.17
When my daughter was born almost 15 months ago, the first couple of weeks at home were full of visitors. I was never lonely, and in fact, I yearned for one day when I could just be alone with my new baby. That day finally came when she was about two weeks old. My mother who came to help out had gone home, and my husband had gone back to work. I remember looking at the baby thinking: "Now what?" "What are we going to do today?" "Will I be able to do it all by myself?" Too bad I didn't have a copy of the Rookie Mom's Handbook with me.
Co-authored by two mothers, Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss, and based on their popular website, The Rookie Mom's Handbook contains 250 activities you can do with (and without) your child in the first year of his/her life. Organized into sections based on the baby's age, there are a variety of activities sure to appeal to every mother. Most of the activities don't cost a thing or are inexpensive, and many are designed to help mothers bond with their new babies and also preserve their sanity.
I particularly liked #17: Pretend You're in Paris, designed for moms with very new babies who will happily sleep in a stroller for an hour or two:
"This outing is perfect for beginners. Gather your baby and go to your favorite outdoor breakfast venue. Pack a journal, a trashy magazine, or a pile of thank you notes and head to a cafe. Park the stroller right next to you and breathe in the fresh air. Before you leave, buy some baked treats for dessert tonight. C'est magnifique!" (p. 24).I'm also strong believer in mothers taking time out to do things just for themselves, so I appreciate the fact that the book offers a number of "mom-only" activities.
#126: Party like you have a 6-month old.
"Plan a mom's night out with some girlfriends to celebrate your six-month milestone. Go somewhere you used to enjoy in your old life. Indulge in a new restaurant, visit a favorite bar, or just see a movie together. Ask your partner in advance to cover the morning shift so you can sleep in a little." (p. 107)
Finally, a new mom's relationship with her significant other can definitely become strained when a newborn baby arrives, and there are a variety of activities moms and their partners can do to stay in tune with each other. I particularly liked this simple, yet romantic activity:
#78: Hold Hands
"One advantage of the hands-free baby carrier over a stroller is that either you or your partner can wear it while simultaneously doing something romantic with your hands. Grab your partner's hand (or butt) while walking merrily down the street. Skipping, however, is not recommended." (page 72)
The tone of the book is very casual, yet supportive. As I was reading, I felt like my girlfriends were talking to me. Never once does it downplay the difficulty and stress related with being a new mom. Instead, it welcomes new mothers into motherhood by offering down-to-earth, friendly advice.
This would make a great gift for a new or expectant mother. Check out the Rookie Mom's blog and other reviews in Cool Mom Picks and iVillage.
Review sponsored by MotherTalk.