I had read other Chicken Soup for the Soul books in years past and felt particularly inspired by them, so I was eager to read Power Moms – and I wasn’t disappointed! However, the nature of my joy was other than I expected – part of me feared that I’d have to read about Super Moms who could do everything and more, unlike us mere mortals, but instead what I found were vignettes, intellectually bite-sized stories and poems of as many different types as there are moms (and all of them more than human!) that one could read between dealing with one child and another!
There are just so many divergent themes, including: a mother seeing her daughter through a tempestuous and rebellious teenhood until she drives her back from camp and they encouter wild deer and the girl tells her mother she loves her (A Trip To Healing, by Jennifer Mallin); a young boy who sees his mother struggling to do the laundry and the ironing as her cheeks redden in the heat who puts a box on the washing machine encouraging other members of the family to tip her (Mom’s Tip Money, by Diane Dean White); and a treatise on intuition by the mother of Britney Spears (A Mother’s Intuition, by Lynne Spears).
In this book there are no medals awarded, or consciences totally resolved, about whether a mom should not work and stay at home, or work full-time using day care or a nanny for the children, or work from home while also raising her children. Each woman makes her own choice, what’s right for her and only her, and some even find their choices difficult, but then:
A lot of selfish reasons to just up and disappear;
But I can’t imagine all the love I’d miss if I were
Anywhere but here;
Anywhere but here.
Anywhere But Here, poem by Karen Fisher
One stay-at-home mother slacks off from her computer work to watch her two-year-old daughter sprinkling fairy dust around the room and expounds: “I just want to take her and hug her and drown her in kisses.
But while she is full of magic, I am cursed with a headset and laptop that keep my fingers typing” when she has to respond to the special bell that indicates someone is sending her a work-related IM message (Mama Esta Trabajando, by Cristina T. Lopez). Another mom realizes that her son is truly separate from her when he’s body-slammed by a playmate and doesn’t cry or get angry (as she would) but just laughs instead! (He May Be My Boy, But He’s His Own Person, by Patti Woods). Yet another mother offers some sage advice: “Staying at home is about creativity and cleverness because there is less income for things like decorating, landscaping and chic ensembles.” (Hearth Smart, by Janeen Lewis).
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms is tremendously successful because it is such a large compendium of varied stories: 101, to be exact! None is longer than a few pages so you don’t have to worry about losing your place or remembering what’s happened in case you have to run off to a sudden spill, an important pet chore or an emotional child emergency! The book is also helpfully divided into ten chapters on subects like The Daily Grind, Pink Slips, Dividends and Working From Home.
I remember magical summer nights when I was a child when the sky was so filled with large stars that you felt as if you could almost reach up and touch them, and all the mom writers in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms are just like those stars, shining brightly and hugely, each with her own special story to tell.
Reviewed by Christina Zawadiwsky
Christina Zawadiwsky is Ukrainian-American, born in New York City, has a degree in Fine Arts, and is a poet, artist, journalist and TV producer. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Award, two Wisconsin Arts Boards Awards, a Co-Ordinating Council of Literary Magazines Writer’s Award, and an Art Futures Award, among other honors. She was the originator and producer of “Where The Waters Meet”, a local TV series created to facilitate the voices of artists of all genres in the media, for which she won two national and twenty local awards, including a Commitment to Community Television Award. She is also a contributing editor to the annual Pushcart Prize Anthology, the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and has published four books of poetry.