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May 17, 2007

PBN-Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box

I have to admit I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book with almost too much excitement. ‘Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box’, by Ann Dunnewold, Ph.D. offers “workable solutions to the Mommy Madness”. I could not wait to crack it open and prove that I am right in my parenting ways. The idea of extreme parenting has always been a hot issue with me. Before I had T.D., it got me riled up and now that my daughter is here, it’s even worse. I have to bite my tongue so hard sometimes from flipping out on some of the judgy Mom’s out there. I get so sick of defending my belief about having "me" time or date nights. After I defend myself though, I sometimes wonder and guilt myself into a cyclical series of worries about T.D.’s future. If I let her keep the pacifier now will she talk like Jamie Gumb and wear a skin suit later? Will the fact that I let her listen to non-kid friendly books on CD in the car create a scary mastermind? If she’s not in playgroups everyday will she be socially awkward later? I needed this book and bad if only to stop those voices in my head. I was not prepared however, to find a bit of that extreme parenting in me as I read through Dunnewold’s masterpiece. And yes, it is a masterpiece.

The simple to follow mantras, practical advice, and tips sprinkled throughout the book reinforce Dunnewold’s theories and ideas. The quiz to figure out what type of extreme parent you are (Hi, my name is Vicky and I can be an overproducer at times.) made it easy for me to see where I tend to spin out of control. I have whole strings of days where automatic thoughts run rampant through my mind making me binge out on educational toy sprees and wanting to sign T.D. up for every class in the state. These are followed by more days where I feel wracked with guilt if we haven’t done flashcards and the only reading material she’s had is me reading Newsweek aloud to her. ‘Even June Cleaver’ helped me to realize the ways I do this and that it’s ok to cut myself some slack and talk myself down from my overproducing ledge. Dunnewold discusses how important it is to really find time for you in order to be a better parent. Nothing runs on empty for very long. Having this laid out right in front of me on a page clarified and reinforced it in just the way I need.

I particularly appreciated the helpful websites (hello! peppered throughout the book. Not only are they good resources, but I felt encouraged to know that there were places for me to go and learn more. I sometimes feel lost at sea with my lack of parenting skills and knowledge. More than all this Dunnewold’s premise of how to become a perfectly good parent just really rang true with me. The reassurance I garnered from this book about how it is perfectly alright to lose my temper, have a bad day, be sad, and essentially a human being helped immensely. I often feel I’m on the right path by going against the grain (I live in a hot bed of extreme parenting) so it does wonders to know others back me up and I am heading in the right direction. I could never mold myself into June and am always miserable when I try. The women I see extreme parenting have misery written all over their faces. I oftentimes don’t understand how we got ourselves into this vicious cycle of extreme parenting, judging other parents and scorekeeping with our spouses. Dunnewold’s book laid it all out historically and factually with ways to combat it in ourselves and how to deal with the extreme parenters in our own lives.

‘Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box’ made me sigh with relief that I’m working towards that goal of being a perfectly good parent already while nailing some of my own extreme parenting hang ups. That in itself is worth buying the book for. It is a great reality check. It’s also a steal at $14.95! I cannot wait to share it with other parents and I hope they don’t think I’m judging them by doing so!

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