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.

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

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy) says:

    I love the title of that book! Before Vance was born,I would wonder why some moms would let their kids do certain things. After he was born, I found out why and, overall, he wasn’t a difficult kid. Always remember that your best is good enough. Every little thing you do isn’t as critical as some people make it out to be. This book sounds wonderful!!

  2. Tea Time with Marce says:

    I want to read this now, I have days that I say why did I do this. I agree no book needed to know the joys but when there are unhappy thoughts it is nice to know your not alone and how others get through it. Adding it to the Wishlist.

    BTW – I totally forgot, you won my giveaway, I need to email you.

  3. Tami says:

    Even though my kids are grown, I still think I could gain something from this book. I was a stay-at-home mom and wouldn’t have it any other way, but there were a lot of times (still are) of thinking I wasn’t doing it right, or that it wasn’t “my thing”. Sounds like a wonderful read for those who are still in the middle of it.

  4. Jenners says:

    I so need to get this! There are days I struggle with mothering and thinking I’m a terrible mother because there are just days that I find it incredibly tiring and inconvenient and I just want to go away by myself. I feel horrible just thinking that but its the truth. Hearing these thoughts from other mothers would make me feel so much better.

    I’m right there with you!

  5. Mary says:

    Sounds like a book that should be handed out to new moms the day they leave the hospital with the new baby. I think every mom feels like she should be doing better and even the moms that seem like they have it all together probably feel that they don’t. I need to pick up this book for my kids now that they are having kids. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  6. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I wish this book was out there when I was a new mom in 1991…thank goodness though that my own mother was such a great support system!

  7. Bumble says:

    I distrust moms who never acknowledge stress or struggles. All that is going to do is make them feel awful inside and teach their kids that perfection is the only option, when that option is impossible. I felt so stupid and useless those first few months, but loving friends and fellow moms shared their tales of weakness and made me feel competent again. I strive for competent, not perfect ;0)

  8. hmsgofita says:

    What an amazing book. My friend also just read this and I now know i need to get this one. THat’s one of the things that bothers me about parenting books in general. They offer all these how-tos and need-to-dos and they act as if this is so easy for them. Show me a bit of reality and let me know I’m not alone! Thanks for this review, Stacy. I’m going to pick it up now.

  9. boardinginmyforties says:

    This sounds like a must read for all new moms. I agree that moms struggle to be honest about their less than positive feelings about motherhood and that we would all be better off if we could talk about it. I love being a mom and never regret my decision to have children. That being said I have had my “moments” over the last 17 years!

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