Book Review: The Hot Mom-To-Be Handbook, by Jessica Denay

The subtitle to this book is “Look and Feel Great from Bump to Baby.”  When I bought this book I was looking for some advice about the best way to go about this pregnancy thing, without losing myself, my sanity, or my life savings.  In the bookstore this seemed like a rational option and I happily took the book along with me on vacation to read on the beach.  I was looking forward to a guide to help me figure out just what the heck kind of equipment I would need, you know, what to register for.  And what “hot moms” get that make them hot.

So here I was on the beach, sans sunscreen, reading how to be a “hot mom.”  Turns out being a “hot mom” in Denay’s mind is either having the most fashionable stuff or making sure you continue to spend lots of money on yourself.  Either way you’re spending money.  This is essentially a handbook to things to buy, and unfortunately because of how quickly tastes change in our consumer-driven economy, sadly a lot of her advice, websites, or taste choices were out of date.  Such is the way of books, though, because they are static; and this concept for a book is probably best served in a blog or website that can be constantly updated and tweeted.  I haven’t actually checked to see if she has a blog but I have a feeling that’s how she got a book deal in the first place.

Every chapter has a different theme of “stuff,” and presumably each chapter coincides with the month of pregnancy that you’re in.  I really honestly only read up through “Daddy Gadget-itis” before I gave up on the book entirely, so I freely admit this review is based on a half-reading of it.  Granted, she at least breaks some of the items she suggest you buy or register for into different categories, like budget-friendly (which I still thought were more expensive than I liked), eco-minded, and splurge items.  I just found a lot of the advice and suggestions unnecessary or obvious, as in something I could have learned for free from BabyCenter.

The rest of her advice had to do with maintaining your friendships with your girlfriends and with your husband/partner.  I honestly thought it was going to give me advice on how to dress hot, how to do my hair in a pregnancy-friendly way, how to wear heels that don’t kill your back, how to exercise and be hot, etc.  But instead it all said the obvious…  communicate with your husband…  make girls nights with your friends…  rely on help from those who offer it to you.  I have to say, though, that Denay lost some credibility with me early in the book with this kind of advice, particularly in the relationship area.  Denay is divorced from her kids’ father, and for her relationship advice she talks about what she and her ex used to do when she was pregnant.  (I got the feeling they divorced soon after she gave birth).  Now, I don’t know why she got divorced and I don’t really care, but as someone who’s writing in an expert voice to young women you at least owe it to your audience to provide a disclaimer – such as, “This is what I wish I had done with my husband (and maybe my marriage would have been stronger)” or “Even though I’m divorced now, I had a loving relationship that mutually ended and we still provide a loving, nurturing environment for our children.”  I’m not saying I need the details.  But if I didn’t know what I was doing in the relationship/marriage department, I’d at least want to know that the person giving me advice wasn’t giving me bad or misguided advice.  Again, not that her advice was bad, per se – just not rocket science.  And I’m not easily impressionable, but I’m sure there are a lot of young women out there who are.

My final thoughts: Skip the book, buy yourself (or a friend) something nice instead.

You can buy the book at Amazon here.

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