“The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose and Sanity” by Meg Meeker. Ballantine Books (New York, 2011). 220 pp., $25.

Reviewed by Regina Lordan
Catholic News Service

A book for Catholic mothers makes a nice alternative this year to the typical Mother’s Day gifts of flowers and kitchen appliances.

Dr. Meg Meeker offers suggestions for happy mothers in her book, “The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose and Sanity.”

A mother and pediatrician for more than 25 years, Meeker knows a little about the fears, frustration and inadequacy associated with motherhood. {{more}}

She, her friends and acquaintances have battled with the same self-deprecation, worry and disappointment that come with the job. But she and her friends also have felt satisfaction and security in motherhood after reflection and reprioritization.

After collecting and analyzing these experiences, Meeker has found a common theme separating the happy mothers from the rest: 10 habits that help women refocus motherhood as a valued, noncompetitive, loving role. And the author’s nonjudgmental analysis and anecdotal stories will make the reader want to adopt Meeker as their pediatrician, psychiatrist and friend.

On the surface, the habits may sound redundant and even cliche (how many times have busy mothers been advised to find time for themselves and simplify life?).

But suggestions such as to maintain solid friendships and “create a healthier relationship with money” are practical and effective, and Meeker offers personal stories to help illustrate these points.

For example, she uses the story of “Lexi” to show that simplifying things can bring order and peace to life.

Lexi downsized her workload and consequently her house. Lexi found that a shorter workday left many more hours to spend with her children, and she became happier with the better relationships with her children and without the big house.

Meeker also offers the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata as a model of service and solitude as well as discusses the importance that faith has in a happy mother’s life.