About a month ago I was honored to be chosen as a "Don't Sweat" Mom. The title doesn't come with a cool tiara or a guest spot on Ellen or anything like that. What it does come with is an opportunity to share some insights and support with lots of other moms out there, many of whom have held me up during more than one difficult parenting situation. It also comes with an awesome new book called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms, by Kristine Carlson.
Kristine Carlson is a mother and grandmother and the wife of the late Dr. Richard Carlson who authored the highly successful "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" series. Kristine created her own very successful Don't Sweat series by writing 3 bestsellers of her own, including Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women.
In her latest book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms, Kristine talks to moms about finding joy in everyday parenting and reveals how to:
- be a mom (not a friend)
- balance being a woman and a mom
- pursue your passion (but not at the expense of your children)
- and reclaim your family time.
Personally, as a mother, I tend to be a "sweater." I DO sweat the small stuff. Everyday. All of the time. I know why I'm that way. I have this overexaggerated need to make sure that my kids have a home life that is very different from the kind of home life (or lack thereof) that I experienced. Many times though, that drive creates the opposite effect and my micromanaging makes things very unenjoyable at home, for ALL OF US! So it's been good for me to step back and get some input from other women who have figured it out, ya know?
Kristine's book lays out some good advice, in short concise chapters, that helps busy and stressed out moms gain some perspective as they navigate the daily challenges that sometimes prevent us from enjoying our families more. One of the most helpful chapters for me as a mom at this particular time is called "When Things Fall Apart".
"Then, they enter puberty and somehow we feel as though we've hit a wall. We are exhausted; we've lost all confidence in ourselves, in our future, in our ability to mother with the wisdom and pleasure we once had. What happened, we ask ourselves. Nothing much - unless you notice that our own lives are convulsing too. One might think that Mother Nature is playing a terrible joke when we stop to realize that our kids' teenage years are taking place alongside the emergence of our own midlife issues that can exacerbate the stresses we feel with our children."
BOOM! Someone just defined exactly how I am feeling!! How relieved am I to know that a) I am not the only person who does not feel at all prepared to deal with teenagers at this particular juncture of my own messed up life and b) that this midlife crisis thing that I feel like I have been going through for-freaking-EVER is also a somewhat normal, albeit unpleasant, part of the parenting journey?!? I don't know that this realization will make this part of the process any easier, but at least now I have a definition of what the problem is so I can work on developing the parenting tools I will need to make sure my family survives this period of growth.
It is truly amazing to me how things and people come into our lives when we need them the most. This is the second book I have read in the last few weeks that has spoken directly to the issues I am facing as a mother trying to hold her family together during a difficult time and as a woman looking for fulfillment in her personal life.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms reminded me that I'm not going to get everything right when it comes to raising my boys. I know that, but it's hard to let go of the warped idea that just maybe, if I try hard enough, things might go exactly as planned and my two boys might have a shot at being amazing people. I get too uptight when things go wrong, which seems to happen a lot the last few years. And knowing how it feels to be on the receiving end of someone else's poor choices or mistakes, it causes me great pain to think that I might wreck their lives because of choices I make. So I try to control everything and I fail miserably and we all end up depressed. As Kristine says, "there's no such thing as a perfect mom." As much as I want their childhood to be safe and happy, things are going to happen that will be difficult for our family to navigate and no amount of micromanaging is going to change the fact that life is messy and my kids might get a little dirtied up trying to figure it all out. The best gift I can give them is to let go of the "small stuff" that undermines my confidence and find a way to be happy with who I am. When I can learn to do that, I will be free to create a home that allows them to feel safe and loved while they figure out who they are and what they want from their own lives.
So...now that you know my thoughts about Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms, wanna win a copy of your own? To enter, leave a comment that tells us some of the best parenting advice you've recieved. Contest will end on June 9th @ 12 pm MST. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email or announced on this blog.
To extra entries you can do any of the following, just leave a comment letting me know what you did:
- Connect with the Don’t Sweat Moms:
Didn't win the giveaway? Don't sweat it!! (Did ya see what I just did there? Sorry, couldn't resist.) Everyone's a winner here! You can still get a free gift! Kristine is giving moms a chance to get the first chapter of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms for FREE!! Woot! Just click the link below.
**Disclosure: I received a free copy of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms to facilitate this book review. My thoughts and opinions about the book are honest and are my own.**