So do you wanna read it? Click here to buy

REVIEW: The Smart Woman's Guide to Staying At Home By Melissa Hill

Is giving it up about giving in?

Melissa Hill's book is as smart as the title and practical too with bits on the stuff that make working mums cringe - such as walking away from much needed cash to be with your expensive offspring.

Melissa begins by running through all your other options first: job-shares, telecommuting, special arrangements at work. But she makes it clear from the outset that spending time with your kids at home is a winner - IF you are smart enough to sustain the independence and identity that you get from working.

And here lies the crux of her argument. Staying at home is a smart move - if you can get on top of the business of mothering.

The part about mothering is the easy part. What Melissa has observed (acutely) is that it is not so much the nitty gritty of mothering (ie. nappies, finances, housewifery) that gets you down, it's your new status - or your new status as perceived by others. That's why she's got a chapter titled "Building a Positive Foundation for Life" which encourages the mums who have started nurturing a low self-esteem to shake off this self-destructive state and seek inspiration.

This may involve editing out friends who are cynical and put you down, being discriminating about the media you read, making time for creativity, and giving up TV. Good advice - though, confirmed couch potato that I am, I would have preferred a less definitive take on TV watching.

What I question is the emphasis on being smart throughout. The message is that smart women too can stay at home. Because normally smart women wouldn't. Which is disturbing because it unintentionally implies that intelligent women have a low regard for staying at home.

It also implies that successful motherhood is dependent on one's IQ. Sure, the brain may have a role to play in successful motherhood. But staying in love with the little brats will ensure their (and your) survival.

And most importantly of all, you 've got to have stamina.

CLICK HERE to read reader reviews and order the book

CLICK HERE to go to Melissa Hill's website