What I’m Reading: I Quit! Oh Wait, I’m the Mom.
A few days ago, my four-year-old asked me for a grilled cheese sandwich. Like the good mama I am, I whipped one up and served it to him. “Noooo!” I heard. “I didn’t want it cut like THAT!” I was kinda hungry so I ate his and made him another, cut the “right” way. Then heard “Mommy, I don’t want a grilled cheese. I want a peanut butter sandwich.” Ok, seriously, if you worked for someone that acted like this, wouldn’t you want to throw your hands up in the air and say “I Quit!”?
So it should come as no surprise that the title of this book caught my eye. “I Quit! Oh Wait, I’m the Mom” is written by Michelle McVittie, a parenting expert, mental health professional and educator from Hamilton, Ontario.
I’m an avid reader, but honestly, I haven’t read many parenting books. I delved into the parenting section big time after having my baby boy but I found most of the books were heightening my new mom anxiety. All these books telling me how to put my baby to sleep, the “right” way to feed him, and when it didn’t work I felt like I was just doing everything wrong and failing as a mom.
That’s why the title of this book got me. I knew it would be one I could relate to. I hadn’t met Michelle in person until her book launch last fall, but I had a feeling this local mama would “get me” in that “we could be friends” kind of way. And I wasn’t wrong. Michelle not only writes as though she’s your best friend, the one who tells you like it is in the nicest possible way, and she’s also a terrific human, the kind you want to know and have in your circle.
Michelle shows that she gets the busy mama. The entire book is written in small sections, broken up by motivational and inspirational quotes. You can read a one-page section during your morning coffee, then come back during baby’s naptime and read another.
What I love the most is that this isn’t a book that tells you how to do it all. In fact, Michelle says: “there’s no such thing as a SUPERMOM! It’s like the monster under the bed – we’ve never seen it, but we believed it was there”.
The internet is so full of stories and photos that perpetuate the myth of the “supermom”; photos of these incredibly put together women who seem to be able to do it all – have the high-powered career, the well-behaved kids in matching outfits, the clean houses, the Pinterest-worthy dinners.
Supermom Wannabe Syndrome (ok, I gave it that nickname) is easy to catch in this digital age. We can’t help but compare ourselves to the picture-perfect images of momlife portrayed online. Do you ever look on Instagram and wonder “how does this woman have three kids and a house that looks so clean and I only have one kid and I’m pretty sure there are three-day-old cheerios under the couch cushion”?
Worrying about how to keep up with these “supermoms” heightens that frustration when your kids spill their cheerios on the floor (“how will I ever have a clean house if you keep acting like that?”) and leads to that “I want to quit” feeling.
Well guess what, Michelle gives you permission not to have the cleanest house. I knew I would love this lady! Making time for self-care, she says, rather than cleaning floors at 10pm, is the key to finding your joy in motherhood and being your best self for your kids, your partner and your friends.
Now, if you’re thinking: “Self-care? I don’t have time for that”, you’re not alone. Michelle says she often hears women say they don’t have time to take care of themselves. But, think of this. If you have time to clean your floors, surely you have time to do something for yourself, even if it’s something as small as a 10-minute meditation, reciting some positive affirmations, or calling a friend that always lifts your spirits.
Why is it that we feel the need to pour everything we have into other people’s cups – our kids’ cups, our partners’ cup, our employers’ cup, our friends’ cups – and we leave nothing in our own cup.
You know how the safety brochure on an airplane tells you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others? Michelle says by spending a little bit of time filling our own cups will not only impact the way we feel and behave, but the way our children feel and behave as well.
To some, self-care might sound selfish. But, think of it this way: wouldn’t it be great if your kids could get the best version of you? The more energetic you, the happier you, the more fulfilled you? What would your life look like if you were calmer, more patient, more resilient? Is a little time away from everyone else’s wants and needs worth at least that?