Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review: My Mother Wears Combat Boots by Jessica Mills

This book is amazing. Really. I am a parent who never quite fit the image that most mainstream parenting books think I should have. And it is quite refreshing to read a parenting book that loses all that pretense. If your family is poor, working class, alternative or minority in any way- I think  that you are going to love this book.

Written by a touring musician and activist (and mother of two), this book helps parents navigate the often perplexing decisions and stages of your kid's first five years. Not just the basics covered by other books (basics,  life stages, and discipline), but also the "controversies" (the diaper, babywearing, and co-sleeping debates) and all from a unique perspective that you don't often hear in the published world of parenting guides.

I really appreciated the sections on being a thrifty mama. It is disheartening to see how much all that baby gear costs when you first start looking into it. It was great to hear (from a real mama who knows) what was really needed and what was fluff. There are some great resources in here on finding free and nearly free gear, too.  As someone on a grad student's budget (and qualifies for public assistance) any help I can get acquiring things I need for Rowan is much appreciated. With the help of friends who were getting rid of a bunch of baby stuff (thanks Niki and Adam!), a baby shower where community members and friends really came through with what we asked for, and freecycle- we've had to pay for very little. As our doula said, "Don't worry- you don't have to be rich to have a baby!" This book helps you raise your family on a limited income.

But what sets this guide apart are the sections on gender coding, fostering independent thinkers, and building community to support your family- be it an art center, a co-op daycare, or a co-op school. I admire this lady's movin' and shakin' and all while giving her children an excellent life. Jessica Mills is a powerhouse!

Real punk rock has always been about DIY- Do It Yourself. And honestly, what is more DIY than having and raising a baby? 

Formal Rating:
Title: My Mother Wears Combat Boots, A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us
Author: Jessica Mills
Publisher: AK Press
Price: $16.95 USD, $20.95 CAN, 10.00 UK 
ISBN: 978-1904859727

Topics Covered: Parenting up to age 5, Pregnancy and Birth, Alternative Families, Co-op schooling, frugal living, much more

Target Audience: Alternative families of any stripe, but written by a punk rock mama.
Witch Mom Rating: Three Hats
Tackles serious issues such as gender-coding, co-sleeping, and temper tantrums with humor and grace. The section on building a co-op alone is worth getting the book. Very resourceful author, helping others to be as organized!

1 comment:

  1. This book rock SO HARD. It is my number one parenting book recommendation. So glad you love it too! Babies need nothing but arms and boobs, if you get right down to it. This book is a total inspiration. I find myself re-reading whole sections - especially when I need a parenting pick-me-up.


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