Book review: Just what kind of mother are you

One of my favorite things to do at the library is to browse the just checked-in books on the cart before the librarians pack them into their correct shelves. The authors and genres are completely jumbled on the cart and not chronologically ordered as on the shelves. It excites me to discover new authors this way. This is how I stumbled upon this book, Just what kind of mother are you? by Paula Daly.

Just what kind of mother are you? - Paula DalyI am not gonna lie, I rolled my eyes a bit when I first read the title of the book. I though it was another self-help parenting book. Then I read the synopsis and it was so intriguing that I knew I had to read it!

What is the book about?

What if your best friend’s child disappears? And it was all your fault.

This is a sinister thriller for readers who like Gone Girl. I personally did not enjoy that movie but this story made me feel just as uncomfortable and fraught with anxiety.

Imagine your best friend’s child disappeared as the result of something you did?

This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December. She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into the stuff of nightmares. Because, not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing, and not only is it all Lisa’s fault, but she’s the second teenage girl to disappear within this small tight knit community over two weeks. The first girl turned up stripped bare, dumped on a busy high street, after suffering from a terrifying ordeal.

Wracked with guilt over her mistake and after being publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda’s disappearance, Lisa learns that the small, posh, quiet town she lives in isn’t what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear, either. Excerpt from

It’s such a relateable story

Getting to know Lisa in this book has been an interesting experience. It’s so easy to put yourself in her shoes. Most of my friends are working moms and we have a lot to manage.

In the past all we needed to manage was ourselves but with kids and a husband as in the case of Lisa, there’s just so much more to manage!

When your child is sick everything is out of sync. You’re worried about your child and taking care of sick child while trying to get time off work. It’s completely understandable to imagine that a mother in our position could forget arrangements she made before her child got sick.

Most of us have dropped the ball with our school kids. There have been so many times that I’ve had to shoot a last minute text to another mom asking what time school let out, or if it was a civvies day, etc. My friends do too and that’s why we rely on one another.

It can happen to anyone

Although I’ve never actually forgotten something as big as fetching my kids or my friends’ kids, this book really shook me thinking of how easy it can happen.

As managers of our home and families, we’re always distracted with taking care of the family. It’s so scary to think of how easy it is to be in Lisa’s shoes with a sick kid at home and forgetting that a friend was supposed to sleep over.

Things happen in an instant

Thankfully there is more to this story with many plot twists but it is a scary thought.

How many times do we read about children being forgotten in locked cars? I’ve seen many stories like that. Even in my own city there was a similar story and it had a tragic ending. In every one of these cases the common factor seems to have been genuine absent-mindedness and not negligence.

What to take away from the book

A major lesson to take away from this book is how easy it is to forget things. For this reason I use multiple reminders and systems to help me manage my home.

Tips to help you stay on top of managing your family:

  • Use a day planner or white board system
    I have a day planner / diary and so do my kids. If it’s not in there it won’t be happening is our rule.
  • Add important events / to-do’s / pickup times to Google calendar
    I use my Google calendar on my phone for everything including doctor’s appointments, reminders of assessment dates of the kids, birthday parties, play dates, birthdays, etc. Don’t forget to add custom notifications so you can be warned ahead of time via email or an alarm.
  • Post-its on the fridge
    All party invitations or special school days are posted on the fridge to increase visibility. If you have a special space dedicated to notes like these you are less likely to forget. I use the fridge because chances are good that I’ll see it during the million times a day I open and close it.

Let’s discuss

What is the worst thing you’ve forgotten as a mom? How do you remind yourself of important plans? Post a comment in the area below.