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The Art of Plate Spinning - Being a Mother with a Crowded Lifestyle

The Art of Plate Spinning
Being a Mother with a Crowded Lifestyle
By Sheila Bridges
Hodder & Stoughton. 178 pages. ?6.99
ISBN 0 340 66185 2

An arresting title; and also an irresistible book for any of us who identify with the subtitle. It may be possible to be a mother without a crowded lifestyle, but I have not met many who stay that way for long.
At first glance you may want to reject this book as another of those 'How to ...' books that either make you feel guilty and inadequate or turn you into a rebel against a tight, all-consuming, fail-safe system guaranteed to change your habits, your life and even your personality. But take another look into this practical book: full of empathy; endlessly amusing; realistic; down to earth; wonderfully reassuring and never judgmental.
Sheila Bridges has written an honest book for people who fulfil so many roles (wife, mother, homemaker, church worker, secular worker, etc.) that they are in danger of losing their sense of direction and sometimes their sense of worth. The chapters describe the different 'plates' one is likely to be spinning, such as motherhood, working in the home, working outside the home, church and non-church volunteer activities, relationships and your own inner (and outer) life. It is not prescriptive about what you as a Christian ought or ought not to do but one which helps us to work out what we really want to do and gives some tips to avoid feeling, in the author's phrase, 'done in' at the end of it.
A telling comment points out that: 'The way that people run their lives often reveals what they believe life is for.' And so we are urged to stand back, take stock and work out our priorities. From that we are encouraged to stop being merely 'reactive', never feeling in control and letting events of the life of you and your family totally dictate what you do, and start being 'pro-active'. This involves choosing to live your life according to God's unique plan for you. God is the master plate-spinner. He can help us hold things in balance.

Debbie Hardyman,
Cambridge