I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern MotherhoodFinished 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.