I’ve just finished Better Together: Because You’re not Meant to Mom Alone. I mentioned before that I had been chosen to be part of the launch team for this book, and the book is not yet released for purchase, but you can pre-order it! Here’s a quick run down of my overall impression of the book.
The book puts into words what I think all moms and perhaps even most adults realize: we need strong friendships in our lives. It’s so easy to let friendships fade to the point where you wake up one day and realize it’s been a month (or more!) since you last talked to your best friend! The book reassures us that this is normal, but it also gives us a lot of ways to keep this from happening! For example, the book gives suggestions like forming book clubs or dinner clubs. The great thing about formal clubs/groups like those is that you put it on your calendar and, therefore, it happens!
Better Together also gives lots of suggestions on ways to make new fellow mom friends. The suggestions are really pretty obvious as they revolve around finding possible future events while participating in events that are common to mom life suggest as children’s sporting events. The genius of this is that you’ll automatically have two things in common: a similar aged child and an event. The downside: I felt that this list was pretty obvious and it actually never gave any suggestions for finding friends in the work place.
One area that I thought the authors of Better Together really did well in was describing the process of forming friends. Friends don’t just happen. You start with Might be Friends and move to Trying to be Friends. This is where you start to spend time with that person perhaps through playdates at the park with the kids. After spending regular time with that other person and starting to have deeper conversations, the friendship may develop further into Good Girlfriends. At this point you are at the “Hang out in my family room” stage as the authors put it. You’re comfortable with one another and not really trying to impress the other person. Finally, a really great friendship might make the leap from Good Girlfriend to Best Friend Forever. Those are the friends who don’t ring the doorbell before walking into your home. It’s the type of friendship where you can genuinely refer to the other person as a sister.
This progression is important, I think, to understand. While I actually kind of really hate the terminology that the authors use to label the different levels of friendship (and I hate even more that they refer to them by acronym throughout the book), I do appreciate the point. Friendships don’t happen overnight. You must spend time and experiences with that other person in order to really develop the foundation upon which a friendship relationship can develop.
I also liked the way that the authors of Better Together challenged the readers to really help out friends and potential friends. Basically, if you have a friend who needs some help, help them out! If there’s a surgery coming up, take over dinner and maybe help pick up the house. The other mom needs a break from the children in order to run some errands, volunteer to watch them. The book really emphasizes giving.
I was a little bit disappointed that the book seemed to focus on stay at home moms. Yes, many of the examples can also be applied to mothers who work outside of the home, but it’s much more difficult. I would have liked to have seen a chapter devoted to mothers who work out side of the home. Of course, the authors have both spent their children’s formative years as stay at home moms so I understand that is their experience, but they often did reach out to other moms for examples in this book. They could have tapped a mom who worked outside of the home to give her perspective on these tips and strategies, and also to show how she manages to balance it all.
In the end, I’m not sure that I really can recommend this book to my friends. I really enjoyed the first half three chapters of the book, but I felt like it went downhill from there. So much of the book was common sense that I can’t really imagine paying for it.