Book Review: ‘Stop and Smell Your Children’, by Leah Spina
About the author:
Leah Spina is a former journalist of a national newsweekly magazine and also worked as a childbirth coordinator at a large adoption agency. She has her B.S in Business Administration from Thomas Edison State College. She has two adorable children – Samson and Esther – and resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, David. When she’s not changing diapers, she enjoys singing Broadway, sun tanning on Italian beaches and riding horses. Leah blogs and is active on Facebook and Twitter.
About the book:
Ready to laugh about motherhood and be encouraged? Tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out in the baby and toddler season? Need some fresh vision and perspective so you can enjoy—not just endure—your young children?
Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years offers moms-to-be and moms of young children short, real-life parenting stories that encourage and inspire. Leah Spina, mother of three children ages five and under, and former journalist, unleashes humor and perspective for tired moms who are parenting the “little” years. From the excitement of the positive pregnancy test to morning sickness and the banes of pregnancy, to childbirth, babies, toddlers and new parent struggles, the stories will make you laugh and see beauty in the chaos. Each story also includes thought-provoking takeaways to help busy moms gain a fresh outlook.
Strangers remind us that our children will be small only for a short time and to enjoy each moment. But then we return to the wild reality of parenting young children! All-night crying sessions. Never-ending laundry. Every-three-hour feeding schedules. Diaper explosions and projectile spit-up. Teething. Potty training. Yes, we enjoy our children, but we’d also like to enjoy a shower that lasts more than two minutes, or a meal that isn’t lukewarm (if we’re lucky). The truth is, pregnancy and parenting young children can be hard at times. But it can also be one of the best chapters of our lives, if we can learn to laugh and change our mindset.
Young children are one of life’s greatest gifts. Each page of this easy read will help you truly enjoy the “little” years!
An entertaining read meant for not just parents of small children, but also those of us looking to understand what our family and friends are going through, Leah Spina’s Stop and Smell Your Children comes off as the excited conversation with a good friend about what she learned during her struggles during what she calls her children’s “little years”. Spina mentions that she doesn’t want parents to just survive this time of their child’s life, but rather “to thrive and love them”. To do that, she is quite adamant: she needed to change her parenting perspective, and that’s what she wants everyone to do. So each day, she “started to search for extraordinary, ordinary parenting moments” which helped her see “humour instead of defeat in the diaper war” and helped her attain a mind space in which she can try to treasure each day with her kids as “a gift to savor” rather than as “a duty to endure.”
To help readers achieve this, Spina ends each chapter with two sections: “Stop and Smell” and “Stop and Reflect.” In the former, she shares a learning she has had which helped her enjoy her children’s little years more. In the latter, she asks readers questions that are meant to help change their perspective on parenting. Another little detail in the book that I particularly enjoyed are the quotes that kick off each chapter, such as: “’What day is it?’ ‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.” and “I live in a madhouse ruled by a tiny army that I made myself.”
Of course there are some aspects in Spina’s life that will no doubt be quite different from that of her readers’, but the focus is on the universal experiences that bind all parents of young children, allowing the book to have a much broader appeal than if Spina had focused on how to deal with the specifics of her situation.
Spina’s Stop and Smell Your Children is an often hilarious yet inspiring read that will help not only parents but those around them reconsider how they deal with the reality of children’s little years.
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