Simple advice for moms trying to balance it all

Healthy reading

March 24, 2006|By MARY BETH REGAN

Woman First, Family Always

By Kathryn Sansone

Meredith Books/$24.95

This book is surprisingly refreshing - especially if you are a busy mother trying to stay afloat in a hectic world.

First up, Kathryn Sansone, the mother of 10 children from St. Louis, skips over the debate about stay-at-home moms versus working mothers. She assumes you are doing your best regardless of your decision to work at home or work outside the house.

Next, she walks you through her journey to serenity by isolating her various roles and showing you how each needs to be balanced in order to keep the whole from careening out of control.

She starts with herself. Years ago, she felt overwhelmed with three young children. Today, she looks fabulous, easily managing a brood ranging in age from 8 months to 18 years. How? She reconnected with her spiritual center and remembered to take care of herself.

Once she reclaimed her sense of self, she was able to stay connected to her husband. That relationship, she says, is the center of her family.

She offers tips for partners, including leaving kids home on Saturday mornings to enjoy coffee with your spouse. Her strong marriage, she says, enables her to create calm in the midst of chaos.

Plus, she keeps life in perspective. One example: Her disorganized first-grader keeps forgetting his reading story every Wednesday. He tells her: "Look at the bright side. I have no homework." Her solution: She kisses him. Then, she explains about responsibility and organization.

This isn't the best-written book you will find. But it's an inspiring, uplifting read, and sometimes that's as valuable as great literature.

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