A Mom's Guide to Home Organization: Review

A week and a half ago I received my copy of A Mom's Guide to Home Organization by Debbie Lillard to read and review.  I was really looking forward to reading through the book for some tips on how to be less of a Red Hot Mess and start organizing my home and life.  I decided my first project would be to organize the small mountain of papers taking up residence on my side of our office desk.  No easy task considering our main filing cabinet is still living at our old house, but I figured there's no time like the present to get started, even if I don't have the proper place for all my papers at our new house.  And having the proper place didn't stop me from having a mountain of papers on my desk at our old house, so I know that's not the real reason for the mountain.  I know my two biggest problems to organization are time management (so many things I'd rather be doing), and a proper place to put everything.  If you remember, this is what my side of the desk looked like back on the 5th:


First, let me say that I wasn't planning on reading this book cover to cover.  I had limited time and figured I'd just read the parts that applied to organizing desk/paper clutter and time management and skimming over the rest.  The Table of Contents looked really promising.  The very first part of the book was called "Organize Your Time".  Perfect!  Part 1 was broken down into 4 chapters:  "The Housework Never Ends!", "We're at the Baby's Beck and Call", "When Will They Learn...?", and "Are We Having Fun Yet?".

The first chapter, "The Housework Never Ends", gave some pretty sound advice.  The first suggestion was to wake early, before anyone else, so us "busy moms" can have a minute or two to ourselves.  I like this idea, but I am not a morning person at all and waking early would put me in such a bad mood all day and I really wouldn't get anything done.  But that's okay, lots of books and sites give this same advice and I might not ever take it.  The next bit of advice, work when you are at your best, I can do.  Mid day and evenings I can get stuff done.  Finally, "permission" to work around my own circadian rhythm!  Next she says to use a daily planner, family calendar, and to keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas as they come to you.  Done, done, and done.

Then things started to go downhill.  Lillard dedicated a few paragraphs to working moms.  I might only work part time, but I am far from a stay-at-home mom, so I was hoping there would be some really useful advice for those of us who work outside the home.  I actually laughed audibly when I read her advice for working moms:  hire help!  Wouldn't that be nice.  Let me tell you, if I could afford to hire help around the house, you wouldn't be reading this blog post because my house would be clean and I wouldn't have to worry about it!!!  Far fetched and unrealistic "advice" from someone who can (probably) afford a housekeeper.  But I kept reading.

The title of the next chapter, "We're at the Baby's Beck and Call," didn't really resonate with me.  I practice attachment parenting, and while I do sometimes feel I am at Jack's beck and call, I know that his needs are important and need to be met almost immediately.  At his age, what he wants is what he needs, and he isn't being selfish or manipulative or asking for anything that he doesn't need.  Yes, he is reaching the age where we have to say no to some things (like playing in the cat bowls and not giving him scissors no matter how much he wants them), but by and large whatever he needs takes priority.  It's sometimes difficult, but worth it, and it feels very negative and condescending to say we're at his beck and call (even if we sort of are).  I just don't like the way that sounds.

The first thing Lillard talks about in this chapter is setting a schedule for the baby.  Which I scoff at and absolutely will not do.  As part of my parenting beliefs, I follow(ed) Jack's lead and guide(d) him into the pattern of sleep/eat/play that works for our family.  I have always and will always feed on demand and not by the clock, as this is more natural and a much better way to establish and keep up a breast milk supply.  I have had trouble writing about this part of the book because it offended me and angered me so much.  To the point that if I had a hard copy of the book instead of a digital copy, I would've thrown it across the room and then straight into the recycling bin (I wouldn't even donate this book anywhere). Who does this woman think she is to be giving health advice for a baby's schedule?  A little anecdotal story does not an expert make and she should stick to what she knows:  organization.  Instead of getting snarky here and saying mean, hateful things, I will show a much more eloquently written Amazon review that sums up how I also feel:

That's when I stopped reading this book.  There are so many different books about organization that I absolutely will not continue reading a book promoting such a detrimental schedule for babies.  This is a topic I am very sensitive about, and her "advice" goes so far against what I stand for as a parent that I will have nothing further to do with this book.  Like the Amazon reviewer says, "I understand it's unlikely that anyone is buying this book for breastfeeding and/or baby care advice," but I am angered so greatly by what the author is suggesting that I cannot and will not recommend this book to anyone.  If her so called advice negatively affects even one mother that is one mother too many.  I put my money where my mouth is and this is not the first product or company that I have boycotted (or will boycott) because it goes against something I believe in.

So, don't buy this book.  Find a different book about organizing.  I bet you'll still get the same results.  And a side note, I'm still working on my side of the desk. 

This is a sponsored post.  I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are (obviously) my own.


  1. I don't think I have ever read a negative review before, way to keep it real! I find being organized takes baby steps if it isn't natural, trying to do a huge overhaul all at once never works. I have slowly become a more clean and organized person as I have gotten older, but I don't have any kids to contend with either so it's pretty easy for me.

  2. I really try to stand by my word and put my money where my mouth is. There are products and companies that I boycott and have boycotted for years because of policies I don't agree with, unfair treatment of employees, crappy service, etc. We're so lucky to have such a wide variety of businesses and products to choose from that I can always find what I want from someone else who have values more closely aligned with my own. It can be tough, but it's worth it.

    I'm also trying to take this whole getting my ish together one little thing at a time. I still don't have a filing cabinet, so my papers are now in neat stacks on my desk, but at least it's not that crazy mountain of crap that it was a few weeks ago!

  3. Your honesty is awesome. I hate that when people are all condescending about stuff like that "hire help" thing. Say what? Yeah, some of us live on a budget that doesn't include hiring housekeepers or an au pair. Some people are very out-of-touch with what reality is for most others. I enjoyed this post and REALLY enjoyed the picture of your little guy getting into the papers and has that card or whatever - thing? stuck on his head. :) Made me smile so big.


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