The Good Mother Myth + Giveaway!

{The winner has been announced.  See the Rafflecopter widget below for results. Thanks to everyone who entered!}

A lot changes between Baby #1 and Baby #3. As a new mother, I had high expectations of myself. I had big plans for my first foray into motherhood. I “retired” from teaching and became a pregnant housewife,  which left me with way too much time on my hands to obsess over all things baby on the internet and to read Ina Mae and fantasize about giving birth on The Farm. Alice arrived, and I got to finally earn my earth mother cred, except for that pesky unplanned but planned c-section. We nursed, we co-slept, we played, we didn’t sleep train, we took a music class, we Baby-Led Weaned, we babywore, WE DID ALL THE THINGS.

Baby #2 came fast on the heels of #1 and I did it all again, and the same (except for the holy grail VBAC) but with a two year old in tow.  No biggie. But now there was more Trader Joes and more TV and more crying it out (really, just crying while waiting for her turn). It was a total “shit just got real” scene.
Baby #3 came a few years later. I’m doing it all again, and the same, and shit is even realer. More junk, more TV, more yelling, less patience, earth mother cred shriveling up and dying a slow death with every spoonful of frozen peas and Trader Joe’s fish nuggets I dish out.

But in between Baby #2 and Baby #3, I did a terrible thing. I left my children for a week. To go to Europe. With a friend.  I’m pretty sure some people thought I should be fired! But I went with Henry’s encouragement and blessing. He’d gone to Italy by himself for a week earlier in the year. So, it was my turn. My week in Copenhagen was amazingly revitalizing. I did nothing healthy, mind you– I completely reverted to my singlehood days, chain-smoking and drinking my face off. But for one week, I wiped no tushes. I woke up when I wanted to wake up. I didn’t do laundry. I spent approximately ten minutes in the kitchen. I drank my coffee hot. I walked slow. I walked fast. I had uninterrupted conversations. I peed alone.  Big things, big things.

After that trip, I grasped the importance of self-care. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is vital to being the best mother I can be to my children. I don’t need to go to Europe every time I need a break. A hot shower will do. Or a quiet hour with a cup of coffee and a book in a coffeeshop. Sleeping in does the trick, too.

My point is this: in the beginning, I fell victim to The Good Mother Myth– mother as martyr, in particular. But I wised up and not a moment too soon because Baby #3 revealed itself two months after my trip. Back to life, back to reality.

Avital Norman Nathman came up with The Good Mother Myth after discovering that her reality of mothering didn’t match up with media’s portrayal of mothering. Her story, and 35 others are told by the powerful voices of mothers that have rejected the media myth of motherhood to embrace what is real, what is truth, and to let the rest of us know, “hey, it’s okay, you’re not the only one.”

I am so excited to be going to the book release party for The Good Mother Myth at Hinge in Northampton, MA on Friday, January 17 at 7pm. I’m even more excited that this book is finally out in the world. My friend Tara, who is an amazing writer, is a contributor to the book so the book has been on my radar for months. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of the book.  Good luck! And remember, if you don’t win, you can order the book from your local independent bookseller

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{Disclaimer: I am personally sponsoring this giveaway and purchased the book with my own funds. All opinions here are my own. I have received no compensation. This post contains affiliate links}

21 thoughts on “The Good Mother Myth + Giveaway!

  1. erika estey says:

    I really enjoyed this entry, and I'm excited about the book! My best self-care tip is to take a steamy bath with candles burning, wine to drink, and a good book!

  2. Some Suburban Mom says:

    Oh, how I love this post! I fell victim to the 'good mother' myth with the birth of my first as well, and you are absolutely right about self-care. What I need in terms of self-care varies from day to day and I carve out my time accordingly, but I am also past those wonderful and trying baby/toddler years. I really want to read this book!

  3. thejoyofcaitlin says:

    My most important self care tip is setting boundaries. It is sometimes hard for me to remember to do simple things like shut and lock the door when I go to the bathroom, put on clothes that make me feel like I look good, and tell my kids to wait while I finish doing something for myself (eating, reading, anything really). When I treat myself like a human, I treat my kids better too! Add in some nice extras like a delicious omelette for breakfast and a hot bubble bath, and I will be really nice to everyone LOL!

  4. Kristi Campbell says:

    Self care. It's so hard. And so necessary. YAYAYY you to going to EU with a friend!!! I had a hard time when my son turned about three and I realized I gave up a job that was even better than my husband's. I don't regret it to this day (although I do work part time). But still, learning what the self care was was HARD.

  5. Unknown says:

    My best self care tip is to tell everyone around you that you are planning [weekly yoga classes, daily 10 minute walks, monthly writing retreats, whatever it is you need] and then ask for support in actually doing it! They will help you be accountable to yourself, with love.

  6. Nancy Cavillones says:

    That is so true and I admit to keeping things to myself for precisely that reason– because I have a terrible habit of copping out and it's easier to do when I don't tell anyone! LOL

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