Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unraveled, by Maria Housden

I finished this yesterday, but due to a new goal, I had to wait till today to post my review.

This was a hard book for me to read.  I wrote out a review for it yesterday while my thoughts were still in my head, but even now, I find myself abandoning even those thoughts to record new ones. 

First, what the book was about.  Maria Housden writes a memoir, basically, telling of her choice to abandon her role as a stay-at-home mom while turning over full custody of her kids to her husband.  She faces objection from her friends and eventually loses them all when she decides to move across the country from her kids to live with the man she had an affair with.  Her path is one of self-discovery, of being honest about who she is and what she wants out of life.  That, in a nutshell, is what the book was about.

Now, my thoughts.  A quick disclaimer, though.  If you're easily offended by other's opinions, read no further.  If you can appreciate my opinion for what it is while still standing firm in your own, by all means, keep reading.  I'm a stay-at-home mom.  I chose this.  I'm a firm believer that if you're going to have children, you should be the one to raise them.  I do my best to not condemn the choices of others when they go against my own beliefs.  This is hard for me, I'm very opinionated.  If anything, I pity this woman.  It almost sounds as if she has to keep re-convincing herself that she's done the right thing, that adultery isn't bad (ha), and that by doing what she's doing, she's becoming closer to God.  I cannot judge someone's relationship with the Almighty, nor is it my place to judge her for her decisions, hard as they may have been.  Her marriage was falling apart, and from the things she says her husband said, I can imagine why.  So, they get a divorce, which is hard enough for children.  But children need their mother.  She had them every other weekend, and during the summer.  She wasn't there for several milestones of their life.  She claims that her decision to be selfish (my way of putting it) and "live a simpler life" was for the benefit of not only her, but for her children as well.  I think she's been diluted in to thinking these things.

As far as the book goes, it was well-written, portrayed her thoughts well, and kept me turning pages till the very end.  It's a book that I'm sure many modern women can relate to.  I'm a modern mother, yet I cling to old fashioned ideas.  In reading this book, I've learned that I really do choose this (being a mother).  I truly appreciate her example in being honest with oneself and being "unapologetically" who you really are instead of trying to please others and fitting the mold other people think you should fit.  I am grateful to have read this book for this very reason.  I've been insecure as a mother, to say the least, but this book helped me realize that I can be my own version of what I think a good mother is, that I don't need to compare myself to others or be the kind of mother others think I should be.  I think it's very important for mothers to take time for themselves in order to preserve who they are as a person, but I think she should also be committed to her children.  My own mom always told me you need to feel 100% if you're to have anything to give to anyone else.  Being a full time mom is a selfless job, but that doesn't mean you have to keep yourself on the back burner or abandon it altogether to "find yourself".  I know who I am, and I'm grateful for that.  I'm a mother.  I chose this.  I'm going to be there for my children until they don't need me anymore.  I choose to be here when they get home from school.  I choose to be the one to teach them their first words, see them take their first step, and be the last one they see at night when they go to bed.  But, that doesn't mean I don't do things for myself or that interest me.  I'm going to make sure my life is what I choose it to be and that I'm always honest with myself and others and be true to who I am.  I'm thinking that was more for me than for you.  ;)


Maria Housden said...

Thank you for your thoughtful and honest perspective.

Are you on Facebook? If so, I'd love to connect with you there.

Jami said...

Wow! Never did I ever think that an author of a book I've read would read (let alone find) my blog! That is so cool! I was really trying not to be judgemental, but as you can see, that is something I know about myself and struggle with. :) Wow. I AM on facebook. And actually, there WERE some things I would absolutely love to talk to you about but never in a million years thought I'd ever be able to be in touch with you. How did you find me, by the way? And, I appreciate honesty probably more than any other value, so thank YOU for yours. :)

Maria said...

One of the things I appreciate most as a writer is connecting with readers via the internet. Google alerts me when something is posted about me or my books. I hope you found my profile and sent an add.

I value your choices as a parent and your willingness to consider other perspectives. If my story makes others feel more confident and certain about decisions they've made, even if their choices are different to mine, I'm happy. I don't expect one path to be right for everyone.