I usually have somewhere between 3 – 5 books on my nightstand. Some are daily reading but the others usually fall into this rotation thing I do. Some books will capture my complete attention and I’ll read it straight through until I get to the end.
The other books like work-related stuff sometimes take a bit longer. I’ll read a chapter or two and another book will catch my attention so I start to rotate between the two. I just recently finished one of those OTHER books called What Happy Working Mothers Know. It felt like it took forever to finish that thing. Normally, I would have given up on a book that took months to read. But it was about being a working mom and as a working mom, I’m always looking for words of wisdom to make my life easier.
So what did I find out?
While I was able to pull a few well-placed nuggets of ah-ha moments, I thought most of the book was filled with too much information that I wouldn’t really use in my busy working mom life. If there’s one thing I did get from this book, it was this: Tell authors writing books for working moms here’s what NOT to do in your book.
No busy mom has the time to read over 200 pages of details about our psychological breakdown, take all those tests and write out the answers to a ‘ten question exercise’ in the hopes that we’ll truly discover who we really are. I barely have time to do the laundry, meet my work deadlines and help my son with his homework to spend the time needed to really dig deep down and find myself.
Let’s be honest, we’d all buy the book if it was about 25 pages and short enough to read while waiting for the doctor to give your child his flu shot. And if I could just get a psychologist to tell me how many times I need to repeat myself before my child actually hears me then I think we can all call it day.
In case any aspiring authors are reading this post, I’d like to give you some advice from a real working mom about what we want to know. Here is my version of the ‘Happy Working Mom’ book and how to find your happy-balance in 25 pages or less.
Chapter 1: I Know You Hear Me
In this chapter, we’ll all learn how to stop repeating “Eat your breakfast, get dressed, brush your teeth” more than 200 times in one morning. I’ll include tips from a hypnotherapist to learn Jedi mind tricks to ensure your kids do what is asked of them with just ONE request. And that request is made in a normal, non-yelling voice.
Chapter 2: How to Make Your Kids Room Clean by the Time You Get Upstairs
This chapter will include more Jedi mind tricks as well as a list of cleaning techniques that are approved by Supernanny. If none of these tricks work, then you move on to Plan B which is a fold-out garbage bag attached to the back of the book. You’ll learn to wave the bag around while saying several tried and true threats to how you will throw everything away if they don’t gather up all their toys, clothes and other odd pieces off the floor.
Chapter 3: Feelings Have Nothing to Do With Doing Your Homework
This chapter will address the whining from your kids that include statements like “I don’t feel like doing my homework” and the “If you loved me, you wouldn’t make me do this.” In my household, my son Jake takes more time complaining about doing his homework than it does for him to actually do it. This section of the book will tell us how to create a ‘homework plan’ as well as several snappy comebacks to avoid the inevitable fight that makes homework time take longer then it needs to.
Chapter 4: No, You Can’t Have Skittles for Dinner But I Still Love You
Our last and final chapter discusses how your child is too full to finish his vegetables at dinner but somehow can find room to eat 3 mini-bags of Skittles from his Halloween candy. This is the part where I’ll have a nutritionist provide us with food that looks so good your kids won’t know its good for them.
And to help people like me who can’t cook, everything can be made in your microwave or toaster oven. None of the recipes will take more than 10 minutes to prepare and each meal comes with it own response to answer your kid when he asks “what the heck is this?” All snappy answers will be followed by the phrase, “And I do this because I love you …”
When Jake was a toddler, most of his problems could be answered by three simple questions – is he hungry, tired or bored? Now that he’s gotten older, these questions don’t give me much help with my more complex and growing child. It seems the time is ripe for a new kind of book with practical solutions to help us with our kids while not taking 6 months to read.
To wrap this up, I’d like to share with you one of the wisdom nuggets from the book that did make sense:
“You now know that your happiness is the most important element to your children’s happiness and that your kids don’t suffer as a result of you working, providing that your work makes you happy. When things get tough, reach out for support because no one can do it all alone. And be authentic. The only person you can be successfully is you and you will be your best when you are happy.”
Photo credit: Be Happy Graffiti on Bridge