It’s Okay to Take a Nap by Debra Sansing Woods
Reviewed by Victoria Akselsen Fisher

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This is the best Mom’s gift book of 2008.

Okay, so perhaps that is a little presumptuous. After all, Debra Sansing Woods could come out with a new book before the end of 2008 that may steal the number 1 spot, but barring that, I will stick to my statement above.

Debra Woods, whose debut book Mothering with Spiritual Power quickly became an LDS favorite, has with this second book established a firm place in the LDS mother’s heart. That said, this book is geared to a wider audience than just Mormon moms, so go ahead and get a copy for your nonmember friend, too.

I say it is the best gift book because there is no side dish of guilt in this meal. This book is in so many ways a Balm of Gilead to a mother’s mental health. Woods gives a funny, personal account and glimpses into her life and the mothering of her own five children. But above all, this book boosts a mother’s feelings of self-worth and confidence. The prolific as well as the reluctant reader would enjoy it.

At the size of a DVD case, I found it perfect to stick in my purse. Chapters are short and engaging – ideal for a mother’s pick-up-and-put-down-again reading style.

One may wonder when hearing Elder Ballard’s talk in Sunday afternoon session of April 2008 General Conference, if he had not read It’s Okay to Take a Nap before writing his talk – but then again, he was not privy to an advanced review copy, as I was. Debra Woods and Elder Ballard must simply be on the same wavelength.

What I learned from It’s Okay to Take a Nap:

My identity is not that of a maid! I also don’t have to do it all today.

Lighthearted subjects such as, exercise, wonderful mothering surprises and, my personal favorite, complete thoughts are addressed, along with weightier matters like how much our love matters, today is a gift and the importance of being kind to ourselves. Moms will recognize the scenarios and dilemmas described. Allow me to share two paragraphs. First from the chapter “You Really Can complete Thoughts While Raising Kids”:

Scene One: I’m in the kitchen making my family’s favorite chocolate cake. My four-month-old is sitting in her stroller beside me. I finish mixing the cake and take one last look at the recipe to make sure I have included everything. Enter nine-year old daughter. “Mom, can I please have a friend over? Oh, please, please can she eat dinner with us? I haven’t had anyone over since yesterday!” Listen to daughter, plan response, anticipate reaction, smile at now fussy baby, and pop cake into oven. Mission accomplished. Five minutes later, pull cake out of oven and attempt somewhat successfully to stir in forgotten baking soda. (page 59)

Here is another excerpt from the chapter “You Are an Amazing Mom”:

While I believe there is value in identifying what’s not working and what we think we should be doing better, I think most moms could benefit from taking some time to note the good that they’re already doing. In the workplace, positive feedback comes in the form of performance evaluations received from your supervisor. In motherhood, we serve as our own bosses, and if we’re going to be anything approaching fair bosses to ourselves, we should do well to give ourselves a break and acknowledge the good we are doing as the mothers to our children. (page 54)

This delightful little book ends each chapter with a list of Invitations & Inspirations, featuring a plethora of good ideas, book titles and other resources addressing the topic of the chapter, so it is not just a spirit-booster but a practical resource as well.

Something that made an immediate impact on our family life since my reading the book comes from Woods’ description of how important hellos and good-byes are in their family. I decided this was a simple yet powerful way to tie family members closer together in our own home.

The book is full of little tidbits such as that. Which ones will stand out to you? There is only one way to find out.

 
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