the essential stay at home mom manual by shannon hyland tassava

The great thing about blogging is that you can meet so many women from all across the globe, without even leaving your laptop! One mom I had the pleasure of “meeting” online was Shannon Hyland-Tassava, a blogger, stay-at-home mom, psychologist, and most recently author of the new book, The Essential Stay at Home Mom Manual.

Shannon is still a clincial psychologist and wellness coach, despite being home-based. I think the book could well be called “the work at home mom’s” manual, too, but it does delve into a lot of aspects that only apply to mothers who are not relying on a second income, or are working full time from home.

For a work-at-home mom like me, the book really serves as a guide for (1) re-working your household management systems so that they consider your personal needs as a woman, not just as a mom, and (2) establishing a purposive structure to your family life, one that is based on a sound, intentional mission to be the best mom you can be, imperfections and all.

Readability and take-home points

The book is an easy read. A tad bit long for my taste, though, but Shannon is a psychologist after all, and therefore posits many situations in the book, which may add to its length. That said, the chapters are not long, and can be read in little “bite size” portions. The key is to read a little bit of the book each day, or go through a chapter that is specific to your situation. For example: I found myself frequently consulting the chapter “Building Your Tribe,” which focused on how to establish friendships with like-minded moms, whether online or in my community. As a work-at-home mom, isolation is one of my biggest setbacks to authentic relationships. Shannon, through the steps outlined in this particular chapter, was able to empower me.

The book does a great job of reframing: or, turning negative self-talk into motivation. For example: If you feel bummed out or alone about your situation as a stay-at-home mom, Shannon provides a method in the chapter “Mastering Your Moods.” Here, Shannon outlines specific strategies to help you awaken to a healthy self-concept, through a combination of exercise, re-organization of the home, and  motivational thinking.

You’ve really got to read it to experience the full benefits. It really is like a manual, and reads very much like one. The only difference is, it’s written from Shannon’s perspective of “me talking to you, because I totally get you.” Recently, I had the chance to ask Shannon some questions about the book:

Dainty Mom (DM): What was it like, writing this book from start to finish? Please tell us about how you wrote it and saw it flourish? 

Shannon: Writing this book was a journey, and a labor of love! I’d had the idea for it for a few years, based on and inspired by my parent-blog “Mama in Wonderland,” but I always felt too busy to begin writing. [As] a full-time at-home mom to two babies/toddlers, the idea of writing an entire book felt very daunting. Plus, I felt that my chances at landing a book deal were a million to one, given the competitive nature of the publishing industry, so I was too intimidated to take the leap. But then suddenly, at the end of 2009, after a couple of years of musing on this book idea, I had an “aha” moment: I realized life would NEVER be less busy–which meant that, if I didn’t write the book anyway, it would never get written. I also decided that even if I never got a book contract and the manuscript was never seen by any other eyes beyond my two daughters’ when they are grown, that would be enough; it would still be worth it.

So I vowed that I’d write a chapter a month in 2010, and be done by New Year’s 2011 (a month before my 40th birthday, too). Then I hunkered down, wrote during every naptime and after bedtime and on weekends and any chance I could get; I was driven. Once I experienced that epiphany about having the courage and tenacity to JUST DO IT, no one could stop me.

Tell us some trivia about yourself.


  • I’ve always had really good teeth and I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 31 (at which point I was really indignant and offended because I had assumed I’d never get one)
  • I’m a northern-plains Scandinavian who grew up on the flat prairies of northwestern Minnesota, and, as such, am a pale, blue-eyed natural-blonde who has never had a suntan
  • This year I taught myself to hula hoop with my daughters–after a LOT of trying and failing. 🙂

Giveaway: WIN a copy of The Essential Stay-at-Home Mom Manual!

OPEN only to U.S. residents. I’m giving away one copy of Shannon’s book to a fabulous mom! All you have to do is the following:

  1. “LIKE” the following pages on Facebook:
  2. Leave a comment in this blog entry, telling me what’s the most challenging thing about being a mom these days? Leave your name, Facebook URL, Twitter handle, and your blog URL.
  3. I’ll select a winner on July, and announce it on Facebook and this blog!

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Essential Stay-at-Home Manual for review. No other compensation was received.