A selection of lighthearted, sometimes very funny newspaper and magazine columns about the perils of raising children and holding a job at the same time. A columnist/feature writer for the New Haven Register and for Working Mother magazine, Shelton gets great mileage from her descriptions of life with a husband (her second), two teenagers, and a toddler. Maternal survival (and sanity), she suggests, demands a sense of humor and a respect for the idiosyncrasies of one's family members. Shelton has both. Her topics range from ``sock bumps'' (socks were also a favorite topic of the late Erma Bombeck, to whom Shelton is perhaps prematurely compared) to the moment when she fell from the pedestal as an Enlightened Parent of the 1990s. That happened, she explains, when she heard herself abandon reason, empathy, and alternatives--the power tools of modern parenting--to fall back on such old-fashioned imperatives as ``get down [off that table] right this minute, or you're going to fall off and break your neck and you'll never walk again.'' Several columns offer the seemingly obligatory confessions of electronic ineptness (is there no popular writer who understands and enjoys technology?). Most charming are the tales of her daughter Stephanie, who goes from being a toddler to attending kindergarten in the course of these tales, and who is as enchanting to the reader as she is to her parents. Stephanie is the doyenne of an Object Relocation Program, which assigns Mom's wallet as a sleeping bag for Barbie and Mrs. Butterworth (a pancake syrup bottle) to babysit Barbie's baby. Shelton also muses on more adult concerns, including meditation, the dangerous month of February (``too cold, too difficult, and just too much trouble''), and the nature of family loyalty. A cheerful, flippant view of family life, with a compassionate undercurrent that gives these observations weight.