Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cupcake not included.

I am always looking for titles to add to my books-to-read list and recently got a great tip from a facebook status update (Thanks LPS). The book is I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile. It's a quick read that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. At many moments, I found myself nodding in recognition. One great thing this book has going for it is that it does not devote a lot of energy to questions of working moms versus stay-at-home moms; rather, the authors assume that most moms experience similar joys, frustrations, pleasures, insecurities, and challenges, regardless of their "day jobs."

I don't want to say too much about the content of the book because I would love for you to read it yourself. I will give you the chapter topics/tips though:
* Align Your Expectations With Reality
* Make Peace With Your Choices
* Lose the Judgment
* Let Go of the Guilt
* Tell Him What You Need
* Honor Your Whole Self
* Just Say No
* Live in the Moment

What I would really love is to discuss this book with friends in a setting that involves wine, food, comfortable seating, cozy lighting, and children who are sleeping.

In case such a gathering never transpires, I will share some of my insights, as inspired by reading this book.
* We owe it to ourselves and to other moms to be honest about our experiences as moms. Being honest does not have to mean complaining or whining, though sometimes we need to do a bit of that. I have plenty of moments when I feel inadequate, unsure, and frustrated as a mom. When I'm honest about how I'm feeling, I can ask for help and receive reassurance that I am not alone, that uncertainty is sometimes part of the job. On the flip side, it is good for moms to share joys and successes and we should feel able to do so without fearing it will be perceived as bragging or competitiveness.

* Going along with the above, when moms are sharing experiences and being honest, can we all just take it as a given that everyone LOVES and is GRATEFUL FOR their kids? It gets old feeling like you have to preface everything with, "I love my kids, but . . ." Of course you love your kids. We all do. I'm not saying moms don't need perspective from time to time or reminders to be grateful, but we also don't need to feel like we have no right to struggle or be uncertain.

* Judge less. The more I judge other moms, the more I assume I am being judged. I am most judgmental when I am feeling insecure. I try to tell myself, "Hey, I'm doing the best I can. So is she. We're all doing the best we can."

* I'm not perfect, and I'm not going to wait until I am to start enjoying my kids and my life. Life's too short to be so darn hard on yourself. My house is usually a mess. My preschooler watches television and is familiar with the Happy Meal. I love naptime. I buy organic milk but that's it. Our toys are not organized in bins with labels. I don't always wash the baby's clothes in Dreft. I'm not above bribing . . . the list could go on and on. I'm not perfect, but that doesn't mean I'm not a good mom, a really good mom.

To that end, I really have to quote a passage from near the end of the book:

"And if it's not enough to realign your expectations for yourself or for the other moms, then do it for your kids. Our children are watching us. They're seeing our stress, our anxiety, how we beat ourselves up. We're teaching them that good enough is not good enough. We're showing them that anything less than perfect is not OK. By example, you may be demonstrating that taking care of yourself is a low priority, that it's fine to back-burner your passions, that the choices everybody else makes are the right choices for you. . ."

There's more good stuff that follows, but go to the library and get the book already.
One warning though, the cover of the book is a close-up photograph of a cupcake which is sadly, not included, even though you totally deserve it.


Steph said...

I can completely understand the NEED for Girl Scout cookies! My favorite is the Samoa. Yumm. I like the new background! I've seen that site but haven't been brave enough to try one. Maybe I will now!

lap said...

First of all, love the new blog background. I think this one's a keeper.

This sounds like a good read. I find that my favorite "mom friends" are those who have the attitude the authors are pitching.

kmv said...

My husband alerted me to this blog this morning. He is convinced that I somehow caused the "bins with labels" comment in asterisk #4. I hope he's wrong! And btw, the labels don't work... :-p

CaraBee said...

I am putting this on my list, stat. I have to admit, though, that knowing all of this stuff and doing it are two very different things. That's the gap I'm trying to bridge right now. The success of that venture is yet to be determined.

Amy Nobile said...

Yeah! We are thrilled that the book is resonating with you. Just knowing you are not alone can be helpful! Stay tuned...our next book is out in April: "I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper: Loving Your Marriage After the Baby Carriage."

Amy Nobile & Trisha Ashworth, co-authors
"I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids"

Lap said...

What happened to the pink plaid background? Just a tease?

Actchy said...

MEP, you have so, so many great qualities, but among my favorites is your devotion to honesty. Great post, as it illustrates your honesty and its role in your life.

I, too, like the new background. It reminds me of scrapbooking (and as you know, I hate the act of scrapbooking but love all things related to it.)

Amy said...

Thanks for the book suggestion. I will have to read it.

Anonymous said...

Looking back on the week I had with the girl, I may need to go and buy this book today...
Seriously though, I am with LAP, the moms that I enjoy hanging out with are the ones that live by these beliefs (especially, let go of the guilt and make peace with your choices). Something I always try to tell myself to keep things in "perspective" is...Do I really have a single memory before age 5 or 6??? and the memories I do have of my childhood aren't tantrums or discipline or anything we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves, they aren't going to remember anyway...
Thanks for the book suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Um, I don't even know what Dreft is.

(P.S. You're a great mom. I witness it.)

Sara G.

Blog Designed by : NW Designs