After I finished my first book, 7 Tips for a Successful Marriage, I quickly realized that this was not the kind of book I wanted to write. I love a good story, and while I had added some personal illustrations, this book was mainly an explanation of what I thought worked in a marriage. What I really wanted to do was to tell a good story. And I had shared many in my classroom about my own children, from things they said to how we handled parenting. My funny stories about my sons engaged my students and allowed them to see the mom side of me, not just the English teacher. I loved being both a mother and a teacher, and I juggled the mixed roles by bringing my four sons to many of my extra-curricular activities, from play practices after school to football games on the weekends. They knew my students and my students knew them. Sharing some of these stories was closer to what I wanted to write, so my second book became Raising the Roses.  While 7 Tips for a Successful Marriage was more expository with a few personal anecdotes, Raising the Roses was a memoir of motherhood, with lessons learned at the end of each chapter. They make a great pair for people who are just starting their families. 

Raising the Roses begins with “Soulmates,” and covers my choosing a college and later the husband I found there.  I move on to “The Wedding,” “The Newlywed Game,” and “Having Babies 101”.  They all share the idea that finding your partner and starting a family are usually not like you expected them to be.  You have to learn to compromise and be flexible as you quibble over everything from choosing baby names to defining husband and wife roles. I learned to juggle time and money as the boys grew older, to debunk the “Superwoman myth” that society tells us we have to take on,  and I share some of my tips in the middle chapters. We laughed as our teenaged sons explained their reluctance to choose and settle in “The Shelf Life of Girlfriends,” and I end the book when my oldest gets married and I start the cycle all over again as a grandmother. 

In the video below, I discuss Raising the Roses and what prompted me to write it.