Book written by Rachel Campos-Duffy
Campos-Duffy’s light hearted "how-to" manual on stepping joyfully into the roll of stay at home mom is a welcome departure from the usual line up. Without a hint of self-righteousness, Campos-Duffy presents the notion of motherhood as the noblest of professions. Emphasizing her desire to provide for her family "spiritually, intellectually and practically," she explains in conversational style how being the parent-at-home doesn’t mean being the parent-without-the-job.
"Whether you choose at-home motherhood or, as in my case, it chooses you, [there’s] good news – at-home motherhood is a powerful mission, and you can carry it out with a daily sense of balance, joy, and adventure." The author continually returns to the freedom she has experienced in her own domestic career – a far cry from the bleak prison many envision when they hear the term "homemaking." Stressing the importance of positive feedback and self respect, she points out that many moms who stay home are not truly unhappy, but are seriously underappreciated.
"It’s important for dad to do his part. In our family we make a point of praising one another’s contributions to the family in front of the kids, even pointing out a specific action." Campos-Duffy adds that she points out her own jobs well done to the kids, explaining the necessity of showing your kids real life examples of jobs well done – by you!
The importance of positive regard for the joys and trials of parenting, and a mutual respect between spouses, is woven into each chapter of the book. Chapter Four: "Share the Load" specifically addresses the disparity in gender roles which can sometimes leave moms feeling frustrated and dads shaking their heads in confusion. Emphasizing the importance of communication of expectations, Campos-Duffy goes on to lay out a plan for setting realistic goals for household tasks, insisting that there can be harmony and order in a home regardless of who’s home full time.
She reminds her readers that it is crucial to care for oneself in order to be able to care for anyone else. "If we do not take excellent care of ourselves first, we cannot do our very best to take care of others. If we are running on empty, there’s not much that we can give. [This book] is grounded in this simple and yet overlooked fact."
Campos-Duffy goes to great lengths encouraging moms to care for themselves spiritually, mentally, and physically, outlining everything from simple work out tips to instructions for administering an at home "spa day." She emphasizes the importance of prayer, stressing how great her own need to connect with God early each day is. Both she and her husband rely on prayer – in whatever form and quantity the day permits – to give them the strength to parent their large brood with grace.
With the tone of a co-conspirator or an older sister, Campus-Duffy communicates some essential truths to the reader on the art of homemaking and the dignity of marriage and motherhood. Her obvious joy in caring for her husband and children comes through on each page, resulting in an entertaining and practical read. For any mother who is considering staying at home with kids – or who is already home and trying to maintain her sanity – Stay Home, Stay Happy is an absolute gift.
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.