“If you picked up this book hoping that I would give you a list of ten things to do as a parent, you are by now sorely disappointed.”
Matthew Kelly is correct in this statement about Building Better Families. I am sorely disappointed in this book. After having read The Rhythm of Life and finding it life changing I am disappointed.
While I understand that he is attempting to lead the readers of his book towards their own thoughtful consideration of parenting and becoming the best version of themselves – I was hoping for more.
It seems to me that the world he sees parents living in doesn’t exist – at least not for me.
I don’t know if it is because I am just lucky or if his view is a little skewed by listening too much to what the world is telling him about the difficulties of parenting.
He talks about being at war for our children, but I have never felt that way.
The only thing I have ever wanted to be was a mother and when we were finally blessed with children my entire focus was on them – helping them learn, helping them grow, helping them understand the world. (Helping them make messes – and I have the photos to prove it.)
No doubt the fact that my oldest is autistic and had to be taught all of the social norms that other children just pick up on their own effected our lives – we searched for and found wonderful teachers and specialists whose only focus was on helping our child become the best she could be. She has been surrounded by people who are constantly trying to help her be a better person – not smarter or prettier or thinner or more popular.
We have all worked hard to help her learn how to interact effectively with others while remaining true to herself. She is not defective. She is not broken. She is more wonderful than I have the words to express.
When her sister was born she kind of came along for the ride as most of our time was focused on the older sister and again she was surrounded by people who have worked to help her become the best version of herself. She isn’t on the autism spectrum and is perfectly ‘normal.’ But she learned right along with her sister.
The girls are devoted to each other, despite the age difference, and we are so proud of both of them.
Are we perfect parents, of course not – we have made our share of mistakes and continue to make news ones every day. But I have truly enjoyed being a mother. I can look back on the past 17 years and see the joy in them.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t times I was ready to scream – there were many. In fact there was a time where I would take Mommycations – a day or more away from my family – just to rest and recharge.
I still get frustrated with my kids – why can’t they just DO THE CHORES instead of arguing with me about them? Why can’t they just do the homework? Why do they think I am going to know where their socks are?
But the reality is that I am Mom and am always going to be there to support them – no matter what.
In the final chapter of his book Matthew Kelly states,
“The family is the cornerstone of all great societies. Anyone who wishes to play any role in shaping the future should focus his or her efforts there.”
I am not concerned with building a better society – I am concerned with my life, my family and my own small corner of the world.
Maybe that is why I am so disappointed in this book.