So this year MOPS sent me their "theme" book again to review (for free!! LOVE IT!). And like last year, it was well worth the read. This year's theme is "Momology: The Art and Science of Mothering," so it makes very good sense for the theme book to be called "Momology: A Mom's Guide to Shaping Great Kids." It was written by Shelly Radic, the Chief of Staff for MOPS, International with a foreword by Naomi Cramer Overton, the president of MOPS. It's published by Revell (the actual ones responsible for sending me my free copy), is just over 200 pgs long, and normally retails for $13.99 (Amazon has it for $10.07). It is available here. (This is an affiliate link, so I get like $0.02 if you buy the book through that link.)
So now for the review. I'll start with what I didn't like about it (not a whole lot and mostly picky, stupid things), then move on to what I _did_ like.
- In an effort to make it look like the insets were actually sticky notes, the book is printed with two colors - black and sticky-note yellow. It's not a big deal for the notes themselves, but for some (stupid) reason, it bothers me in the header. Like I said, stupid.
- There are statistics quoted in various insets that I frankly just don't believe. Now, I'm pretty sure these were unscientific polls taken from a subset of the population (probably mostly made up of MOPS moms who are proactive enough to fill out a survey), but to say that 71.4% of people "know the God-given purpose for their life?" (That's on pg 196.) Isn't that supposed to be the biggest problem that most people have? In the introduction it says that the stats were from surveys taken of 1800 moms, but I just don't believe that one in particular. Maybe that's just me though!
- Last year, MOPS, International was rolling out a new steering team position - Service/Outreach. That was right up my alley, so not only did I take on that role, but I also REALLY appreciated that one of the main aspects of the theme last year centered on serving others. This year, serving others accounts for like half a paragraph, buried in the middle of a chapter/section on something else. It seems to me like serving others should be a large part of the "recipe" that makes up being a mom, but I recognize that not everyone is the same in that regard.
- This too, is relatively stupid, but I LOVE well-edited books. There's nothing more annoying to me than an inset placed such that there's no natural pause in the text for the reader to read the inset. There are a _LOT_ of insets in this book (just flipping through, it's probably something close to 50% of the pages). I think I remember ONE time that I had to flip back to read the inset. That's some DARN good editing/formatting.
- I also appreciated the "scientific" chapter/section notation (i.e., 3.2.1 Neighbors, etc.).
- I like that they're trying very hard to make this an interactive experience, opening up moms to more opportunities for community. Often throughout the text or in a "Practicum," examples will be given for some strategies to use in a given situation and the reader is encouraged to go to mom-ology.org to add their own strategies or discuss dilemmas they are having.
- While I wasn't quoted this year, I enjoy the "Voices" sections where they quote actual moms as they discuss the topic at hand.
- I also enjoyed the "Field Study" and "Practicum" sections of the text. The Field Studies are insets where one mom tells her story (that relates to the subject at hand) and the Practicums are either specific tasks the reader can do to put that subject matter into practice or they are questions for discussion/thought.
- One other structural aspect of the book was how short each section was. It was handy for frequent interruptions. The sections flowed well enough into each other that it was never a problem to continue on to the next section if I was able, but it was also always very easy to quickly finish the section I was on and put the book down to tend to whatever emergency was at hand!
- Now, as for the subject matter, while it seemed at times to stay on the surface of some of the topics, I think it went through a good range of topics that are issues with almost all moms. Occasionally there was something that would be unique to a married mom, but I think that's to be expected. Topics range from body issues to discipline to dealing with family to figuring out your purpose in life, and are centered around four ideas:
- "Knowing who we are: building a healthy, resilient mom CORE
- Knowing what we're capable of: developing FINESSE in the ways we daily interact with our kids
- Knowing who we can count on: interacting within a CIRCLE of relationships that support us and our kids
- Knowing who God is: engaging with him in his GRANDSCAPE"
All in all I enjoyed this book and definitely look forward to another great year in MOPS!