If the cheerful and competent neighbor next door could polish her phrases a bit more, she might turn out the same leisurely advice contained here. The author, a mother of four, knows her onions, her formulas, and how to hide the wash when company arrives, but her management tips, although helpful for the neophyte, offer less to oldtimers than the intelligence. It comes from life in a roaring household of children-- that the average mother is living in ""a crowd of competitive individuals,"" and one suits the action to the word, yell, whisper and sulk of each. ""Give all you can. Permit all you dare"" is the watchword, and Mrs. Featheringill's relaxed and affectionate attitude toward the vagaries of the tot and teen seems the proof of the pudding. Anyone familiar with the pleasantry that ""people who smack each other with shovels aren't ready for shovels yet"" will recognize a seasoned housewife and mother. Almost every aspect of family life is touched upon -- food, shelter (advice on selecting living quarters) and clothing (buying, preserving), to traveling, discipline, and even combating boredom. This is not for the unhappily house-bound as much as for the mother who loves to stay home but who would like a fresh and friendly approach. A fine suggestion for the maternity ward visit.