I am as in need of scheduling advice as the next person, and so last Mother's Day when my own mom sent me A Mother's Rule of Life I thought that perhaps this would be a useful tool for getting my home and life into a more scheduled routine. The subtitle is "How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to your Soul", and though my soul is already peaceful, my house could certainly use a little order.
Unfortunately, my first reading of it left a distinctly bad taste in my mouth. I wedged it into a bookshelf and left it there until last week, when the organizational urge struck again. Maybe I'd been too hasty with my first impressions and so overlooked some good advice. After re-reading it, I can say, upon careful consideration: Nah.
I just can't take this book seriously. My first presentiment of trouble came from the first page of the first chapter, in which the author recounts how she was pounding the table and issuing her husband ultimatums about schooling, the house, and yelling about how she just couldn't take it anymore. I could tell at that moment that the author and I had already diverged wildly in terms of personality and coping mechanisms for stress, but hey! the Lord works in mysterious ways, and if He had revealed the secret of organization to this woman then who was I to naysay?
Unfortunately, the rest of the book bore out my initial impressions. The book was more about the author's transformation than about the practicalities of creating and following a rule of life, and I simply couldn't get over her personal problems, emotional neediness, and relationship struggles. Merely discovering that using some common sense and a bit of stepping into the other's shoes will make a relationship a lot less stressful isn't going to fly with me as wisdom from on high -- I already knew at 18 what she was discovering at 30. I found myself irritated and bemused by her insistence that God was calling her to take every other Saturday "off" from her family. I felt sorry for her husband.
Also, it's no news to me that I need a schedule; this book didn't tell me anything I didn't know already. My problem is one of motivation, and for that I find books on housewifery almost useless. It strikes me that A Mother's Rule of Life is a book that will be of greatest assistance to women who are from the same mold as the author. However, if emotional displays annoy you and a lack of common sense vexes you, go straight to the source and pull your inspiration from the Rule of St. Benedict. At least he won't burden you with chapters of irrelevant personal details.