The FAB Mom’s Guide by Jill Simonian: Book Review

In the seemingly endless pile of books about having a baby, there are a few that stand out as actually being worth your time and energy. The FAB Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby by Jill Simonian is worth the read for a few reasons.

The FAB Mom's Guide - book coverFirst, one look at Jill and you will think to yourself “How can I be like her?” Second, her down-to-earth voice and the nuggets of personal confession she shares in the book will make you laugh and remember that even glamorous women have their un-glamorous moments. Third, if you’re into this sort of thing, The FAB Mom’s Guide includes lots of up-close-and-personal advice and confessions from celebrity moms.

I’ll admit that celebrity moms are not my role models for anything, really. I don’t have fashion sense, I barely wear makeup, and I celebrate the long stretches of days when I don’t have to get dressed and leave the house. And my kids are 9 and 12 now! But I remember those days of new motherhood. I had no intention of bouncing back to anything. I just wanted a nap.

Not Jill. She is a force of nature, and if you’ve ever watched her on the local morning news show or on any of the online programs she has hosted over the last several years, you’ll see what I mean. She is warm, kind, funny, self-deprecating, and drop-dead gorgeous. (Sorry, Jill. It has to be said.) Her kids are adorable, she’s super successful at everything she tries, and she’s so nice and normal that you can’t even hate her for it all.

So, much like you’d look to self-made rich people to get advice about how to earn and save money, or fit people for how to get in shape, you can look to Jill Simonian for some advice about how to “bounce back” to your pre-mom self if you are facing new motherhood and you want to climb up out of the slump and get back to business. Whatever your business is. Because Jill did just that.

In The FAB Mom’s Guide, Jill shares some of the quirky tricks that worked for her as she prepared for the births of her daughters, and as she mothered them to toddlerhood. All along the way, she worked at getting more television hosting jobs and building up her blog. Celebrity moms were her role models, and she certainly knows plenty of them as you will read in the book. I would be intimidated by their beauty and ability to be put together out in public, but Jill took their poise as inspiration and used their examples to keep herself energetic and resilient, while cherishing her daughters and her new motherhood at the same time.

There are chapters about exercise and fashion tips, advice about necessary baby gear, how Jill kept herself connected to the world even though she had infants, and more. She is always careful to add disclaimers to her words—this book is her experience and not advice, “this is what worked for me maybe not for you,” etc. But I don’t think she needed as much of that qualification, because this is obviously one woman’s story. It certainly won’t work for everyone (stiletto heels to give you confidence? I would surely twist my ankle) but that’s okay. Not every parenting book is for every parent.

For a woman working in Hollywood, having and raising a baby is very difficult if you want to keep your career and not feel like you are neglecting your family. One thing I have learned from so many accomplished colleagues who are also mothers is that there is no need to apologize for wanting to do good work and be successful. Those are the moms who seem to be the happiest. And Jill is always the happiest of them all when I see her, so even for this not-new mom, The FAB Mom’s Guide was an inspiring book to read.

The FAB Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby
by Jill Simonian
Hardcover ($13.59 on Amazon) and Kindle

The Little Prince Movie Opens August 5

littleprinceBased on the beloved book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince is an animated feature that will be released on Netflix and in select theaters simultaneously this Friday, August 5. Using both CGI and stop motion animation (using paper and clay in different scenes), the film brings the story to modern audiences by nesting it inside a new story.

A Little Girl, voiced by Mackenzie Foy (famous for playing the love child of a vampire and a human in Twilight: Breaking Dawn), strives to live up to her Single Mom’s exacting standards, hopping out of bed right on time and keeping to a rigorous schedule of study and exercise, all in preparation for her first day at a new school in an industrious town of workers, where every house looks the same. Except one. Their neighbor, The Aviator, lives in a quirky treehouse-like home next door, where he tinkers with his old airplane and eventually makes friends with The Little Girl. She is curious and entertained by his story about a Little Prince he met a long time ago, so she gradually gives up on her schedule and simply plays and explores like a regular child.

As The Aviator relates his tale to the Little Girl, the pair grows closer, but of course, in their tidy world such things cannot last. Single Mom gets wind of their unusual relationship and forbids it. The Aviator grows older and gets ill. But bolstered by the wonders of the story, the Little Girl takes matters into her own hands, refusing to believe that the Little Prince is no longer out there.

mackenzie foy mark osborne

Actor Mackenzie Foy and director Mark Osborne at press interview for The Little Prince

Director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) assembled a star-studded cast, with Jeff Bridges as The Aviator, Rachel McAdams as the Mother, and a long list of other noteworthy names playing the friends that the Little Prince encounters on his trip around the cosmos. The Little Prince himself is voiced by the director’s son, Riley Osborne, whose scratch tracks proved remarkably perfect for the feeling the filmmaker wanted to create. Riley is 15 now, but he was 11 when the voices were recorded, and even in foreign-language versions of the movie, the boy’s voice remains. For Osborne, who spent many years working on this film, that captured laughter is a gift that will last.

I took my own children (little Princes, themselves) to see a screening of the movie, and I recommend you go see it in the theater if you can. It’ll be great to replay it on Netflix, but the experience of seeing a film in a theater is so special and grand, and The Little Prince is visually beautiful. On the big screen you will be able to see details that you might look for on repeated viewings at home – one that caught my eye was that the pages of the Aviator’s story are written in French. Osborne told me that was a nod to the French heritage of the book – he actually hired a forger to copy de Saint-Exupéry’s handwriting so that it could be recreated in animation.

The film is also very moving, emotionally. Touching on themes of friendship, love, and loss, the movie made me more than a little bit teary, and when I looked over at my kids I saw at least one of them wiping a tear away, too. If you haven’t had the chance to read The Little Prince to or with your kids, this is a great opportunity to get to know the story together, and then dive into the text to get a deeper level of appreciation for this classic title.