Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Busy Couple's Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy, a MamaBuzz Review

As part of MamaBuzz, I was given a review copy of The Busy Couple's Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy by Kathy Peel with advice for men from Bill Peel, 220 pages, list price $16.99 from Tyndale .

I'm not sure if my getting this one to review is ironic or serendipitous. More probably, it's another example of my being given exactly what I need at the right time. A God-incidence.

I figured this one would send my guilt soaring and overwhelm me.

I was prepared to not like it when it sent my guilt sky high as I went into "extreme overwhelmed" mode. (I'm overwhelmed to begin with-I don't know why I think a book would make that worse.)

And you know what? I am pleasantly surprised.

Kathy Peel and Bill Peel have packed the pages of this book with information, facts, anecdotes, forms and worksheets. Yes, you'll need a pen or pencil, a highlighter, and maybe some sticky notes as you read this one. The intro is available here.

Page 42, left side bar, has a "CAUTION!" for us: "The every day tasks of home life have become so burdensome that one in three Americans say some days they would rather sta at work than go home and face their list of household to-dos, according to iRobot Corporation's 'Balance at Home' survey."

And this book breaks down and tears apart the little details and big details of how to make home life NOT so burdensome. The Peels begin with relationships (the introduction is called, "Getting from Me to We"). (If you're familiar w/ the intervention often associated for autism, RDI(r), the authors and this book remind me of an RDI(r) Program Certified Consultant for the HOME and FAMILY.)

After the introduction, readers are given nine chapters:

Chapter One: The Business of Doing Family
Chapter Two: Managing Your Time and Schedule
Chapter Three: Managing Your Home and Property
Chapter Four: Managing Menus and Meals
Chapter Five: Managing Relationships with Family and Friends
Chapter Six: Managing Your Finances
Chapter Seven: Managing Special Events
Chapter Eight: Managing Yourself
Chapter Nine: Family Team-Building Workshop

The Peels give readers a section of resources in the back of the book.

In the "Busy Couple's Guide", the Peels compare running a family to running a business. They set up a family model based on the model that successful businesses use, beginning with the seven family manager departments (chapters two through eight are developed around the seven departments).

The Peels give me permission to read the book out of order (I tend to read books like this out of order anyway). They tell readers in the introduction, "Don't try to make too many changes at once!"

The Peels write as if they're chatting with me in the family room, and they share anecdotes from their own marriage, which makes them authentic to me. I relate to a lot of what they tell me.

Suggestions are simple and practical, and there are some that I think I can make right away without feeling overwhelmed. (My mind wanders to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of habit formation, and the Peels are right to tell readers not to make too many changes at once. We want to get some new and positive habits established, habits that will stick.)

I'd like to have two copies, one for me and one for my husband, to work through at the same time. It's not exactly Bible study material, although the Peels do incorporate scripture and Biblical foundations, yet, I think it would be a wonderful book for a small group study.

Reflection on our situation: In the "Managing Your Time and Schedule" chapter, Peel makes a comment about a time when "Mom and Dad were readjusting to the nonnegotiables of a small baby." Autism sent us into that time of "nonnegotiables" for a much longer time that is typical, that added more to our "to do" lists of things to manage and schedule. That was a time when I was under an incredible amount of stress that seemed unmanageable. The Peels don't address special circumstances that can create even more unbalance in a family such as a child with a disability like autism. When my daughter w/ asd wasn't sleeping much (the first five years), I spent the bulk of my time, attention, and energy on her needs (from therapies and therapists to diet to all things biomedical). I look back and don't know how I'd have done anything any differently. We needed another person or two to stand alongside and help us.

The timing of my receipt of the book is really good for me. I've recognized the need for some changes; I'm read to tackle some of the changes; now I've got the book to help me prioritize and begin.

The book's focus on relationships and on the family as a "team" hits close to my heart. As the challenges of autism decrease at home, we as a family are more equipped than ever to grow into a team. We're a little bit delayed (by the challenges we had in the past), but that doesn't mean we're out of the game.

I google everything. (I google; therefore I am. *wink*) I found Kathy Peel's web site HERE, where she offers free forms and information.

Publisher: Tyndale House
Price: Softcover $16.99

Author Bio (from Tyndale Site)
Kathy Peel

Kathy Peel is founder and CEO of Family Manager, a company that trains women in the art of family management. She has written 21 books, selling more than 2 million copies. Her latest works are The Busy Mom's Guide to a Happy, Organized Home (winner of the 2009 Gold Mom's Choice Award) and Desperate Households. She is AOL's Kids & Family Coach, and she contributes to many publications, including FamilyFun, Parents, Woman's World, Family Circle, and HomeLife. A popular speaker and media personality, Kathy's Family Manager makeover stories have appeared on programs such as Oprah, The Early Show, The Today Show, and HGTV.

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