Stretched Too Thin, a book about not just motherhood, but WORKING motherhood.
I know this is not the first, nor will it be the last, but I think as a mother who has been working all of her children’s lives I think this is the first book I read that is DEDICATED to working mothers. It is not a book for mothers that has a section about those of us that work. Or a book that references working mothers throughout the chapters.
If you are a woman who is fortunate enough to stay home with their kids, who does not have to work. This is not a review or a book to belittle what you do every day. There are many days that I am thankful for the distraction of work; to have a reason to leave the house. Being a working mother will be the hardest thing I will ever do, I am sure of it. Every day I wonder how my mother (who also worked while I was growing up) did it without modern-day technology like email (to keep in touch with teachers) or Amazon or BOXED or a grocery delivery service for those really hectic weeks.
Stretched Too Thin in my opinion, is a collection of lessons I have learned over the years all put into one place. Plus there is a “study guide” you can download online and fill out as you read the book. The questions asked are really good for reflection purposes. You are asked to reflect on your current situation, and set goals for yourself and your time. One exercise that is on my to-do list is this idea of tracking your time for a week. EVERYONE says they are just so busy. They don’t have time for this, that or the other thing. I am trying really hard to get those words out of my vocabulary but I know I feel like I just have no time to do all of the things I need to do outside of my dedicated 40-hours a week to my job. I know I feel like I don’t have enough time to dedicate to this blog, or the books I want to read and talk about; the movies and shows I want to watch. Compared to this time last year I think I am doing an amazing job. I definitely feel like I am more present for my kids, but I feel like I still lack the time for everything else I want to do.
The book also touches on what in our lives makes us feel guilty; who in your life causes that guilt. Why you feel that guilty; what can you do to change that guilt? Do you compare yourself to others? Who and why?
Don’t should yourself…
Self-care is a big one. As mothers, everyone else comes first, all of the time. Are we making sure we take some time for ourselves and our mental health? My favorite analogy is that of the oxygen mask on an airplane – you are told to put your mask on first before helping anyone with theirs. As moms, we tend to help everyone else with their masks.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and got a little something from each section. And if there was a section I did not necessarily get anything from I found myself saying PREACH! For instance, I am glad I am not the only one who feels that kids can and should be given some household responsibilities. They live in the home, they can do their part to help take care of it. Where the book lost some steam for me was the section on friendship.
I get it. Friendship is important. We are humans, we as mothers, we need friends. But I felt like the author made it seem a little to easy to make friends. The assumption was made that as working mothers we don’t value our friendship; we let them suffer. I would love to have friends. I have tried over the years to make and sustain friendships. Even friendships with people I did not necessarily have much in common with just so that I had another distraction from life. I have never had luck with friends. My luck with friends is so bad, I am not even sure how I am married. Every single close friend I have had over the years at one point or another has just disappeared. Some could not be bothered to keep plans that were made well in advance; phone calls and messages never answered. Or there are the few co-workers that became friends and all that we really have in common is work. (And I am the type of person when I am not at work, I don’t want to talk about work so there is not much to talk about with those people) The book and the study guide does an excellent job of reflecting on the hurdles some working mothers have it creating and sustaining friendships. Otherwise, the whole section was a buzz kill. Probably because friendship is such a sore and lonely topic for me and I don’t want to hear how important friendships are because I know.
GOOD ENOUGH IS THE NEW PERFECT.
The two biggest takeaways from this book were that “men are like waffles and women are spaghetti” and that we’re all juggling balls. Some of those balls are glass, and some of them are rubber. Obviously, if we drop the glass balls… they will break; while the rubber ones will bounce. And as a mother, whether working or not, you have to figure out which are your glass balls and which are your rubber balls.
I think any mother could get something from this book, whether they are working or not. It was nice to have a book dedicated surely to those of us that are in my husband’s uncle’s term – “bringing home the bacon and cooking it.”