Finished 2-5-12, rating 4/5, parenting, 172 pages, pub. 2007
I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids is the book that sparked my post about how hard mothering is. I really enjoyed all of the wonderful and insightful comments on that post. It’s probably one of my favorites and I have this book to thank for it.
These two moms wrote this book when they figured out that they couldn’t be the only mothers who felt less than positively about motherhood. They interviewed over 100 moms trying to answer a few of these questions: what happened to the people we were before we became moms, why do we constantly feel that we’ve made the wrong choices, why do we feel guilty all the time, how come nobody talks about how hard motherhood truly is. It’s really that last one that this book met head on and for the first time I felt like I wasn’t alone with some of my less than positive feelings.
This book never feels like a pity party, but it does focus on the difficulties of motherhood. If you need a book on the joys of being a mother I might look somewhere else. But really, who needs to read about the joys? That’s the easy part, isn’t it? The smiles and laughs and talking and walking. I was happy to read about the dark side without the book feeling dark or heavy at all.
It’s a quick read if you want it to be, but it took me 2 months to finish because I would pick it up and read a chapter or two and not come back until I needed another reality check. Here’s what I learned – there are a whole lot of women feeling overwhelmed same as me. The chapters address things like how expectations and reality often cause the most frustration, judging other moms harshly, making your relationship work, honoring yourself, and living in the moment. The chapter on expectations spoke to me the most, but I got something out of each of the chapters. I tend to expect too much from myself and this helped me step back and analyze my new role.
It was really the quotes by moms sprinkled liberally throughout the book that I appreciated most. I was shocked by their honesty.
My husband’s expectations are higher for me after I decided to stay home. I feel like he expects me to be happier. I get to raise my kids, so I should be happy, right? I can’t really complain, so I turn into a martyr. I don’t even realize I’m doing it, but he does. He says, “Get more help if you need it.” But I know that if I did it would feel like I wasn’t doing my job. (page 36)
There are times I wonder why I had kids at all. I’m not sure why I’m doing it. I worry that I don’t have time to help them grow in all the ways I’d like them to grow. (page 60)
I totally relate to the first and the second one only half speaks for me. I know why I had Gage and I don’t ever question the decision, but I do worry about being the mom that he needs me so that he can be the best person he can be.
Anyway, I think this is perfect for any new mom. I think it will make her feel less isolated during those first few years of motherhood.
This was from my own library.
I grew up thinking I’d have lots of kids. As an only child I thought the grass was greener in the big, noisy home, I guess. Then I went off to college and after moved on to Washington DC with a serious relationship or two under my belt, but nothing that stuck and babies seemed as far away as Brad Pitt. So, when I married Jason at the perfect age of 27, I kinda figured kids would happen a few years later. Every time we had the discussion kids were always a few years away until 36 hit and I suddenly felt my eggs drying up at an alarming rate. Yes, I could feel them ;)
Anyhoo, we had a miscarriage a month after we started trying to have a baby and it took us over a year to try again. We considered our life together and whether children had to be a part of it. Honestly, I was scared to try again. We both decided our lives would be great either way. And over a year later Gage was cooking.
All of this is just to show that I didn’t set out to become an older mom. Sometimes the years get away from you and it happens. But, there are a few distinct differences between older and younger moms. For me (certainly not all), I was in so much better shape when I was younger and now that Gage is starting to walk I realize that even when I lose some weight there will be aches and pains that wouldn’t have been there 15 years ago.
Also, I know so much more than I did in my 20’s. This is both a good and bad thing. From watching news (something I didn’t do much of back then) I am more aware of the dangers of pregnancy, childbirth, what to feed them, organic vs. not, etc. but there is something to be said for going into motherhood blind and full of naive excitement. Let’s be honest, we’re all a little naive until we are trying to comfort a screaming baby at 4 am when there’s been no sleep for days.
I do know myself and am happy and content with life, which is a good thing for Gage to see. At 27, I was still trying to figure out how to make that happen. I spent my late 20’s and early 30’s moving a few times, traveling quite a bit, trying a few different jobs and having lots of very cool experiences. But I know lots of friends that were happy and content to be having kids at that age and their kids will also benefit from personally fulfilled mothers. A few of my friends are grandmothers already, something I will have to wait a while to experience, if ever.
So, for every child rearing experience there are two sides and one is not necessarily better, they are just different. I do feel my age with Gage, but when I take him to storytime or to the gym, the younger moms are surprised that I’m 40, so I must be wearing it well :) (Of course, they only say they are surprised if my gray hairs have recently been returned to their rightful dark brown)
What was the best thing about the age that you (or your mother) became a parent. For me, being an older mom, the best thing is being exactly where I want to be in life and having some great experiences and wisdom to pass on to Gage.
Looks, free, giveawayeave a comment, tell me which book you want and I’ll get the book to you for FREE either by mail or personally if I’ll see you soon. The first one to request each book wins. Once you’ve ‘won’ the book I can get your shipping address if I need it. Also, you can come back and get a free book every month if you want. These have all been read a few times, unless stated otherwise.
1. The Bachelor by Carly Phillips – paperback romance that has been read a few times. for Em
2. The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver (#2 in the Lincoln Rhyme series)- paperback thriller that has been read a few times. for Renee
3. Mommy Grace by Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman – Brand new hardcover non-fiction about erasing Mommy guilt. for Andrea
4. Stitches by David Small – ARC graphic memoir that I read once (it did travel with me to DC on vacation) for Violet
Thanks for helping me clear my shelves. Happy reading!