"Without this kid, the world wouldn't be half so beautiful, or half so meaningful, or half so large. How I love you darling boy, you'll never know the half of it and that's just fine." -Jennifer Senior
Since there's no manual to help you understand the transition and transformation to being a mom (coming soon!), most of you here know there is this intense fog that you and your partner walk through for the amount of time it takes for the two of you to orient yourselves to raising a family, and raising yourselves. Every couple has a different time frame, which is difficult because pregnancy is defined by time, but growing up is not. Heck, growing up is constant from birth to death. At the beginning of 2014, I made a commitment to you while growing up in your new role. My commitment is to help you find vibrance in your world, to continue to research all the voices and experts in the fields of parenting and raising children, and do my best to deliver that information here to improve your health outcomes (and health outcomes across the country). This week, to wrap up a month on burnout prevention, I want you to know about two rich and valuable resources that were recently published and launched into the motherhood section of your favorite book stop.
1. The Good Mother Myth, by Avital Norman Nathman, Foreword by Christy Turlington Burns.
This is a collection of essays written by mothers for mothers, and offers a glimpse into motherhood this day and age (maybe something excellent to buy for your mother or grandmother or mother-in-law to help them understand you better). As one review states, "All of us being different, each of us may relate in different ways – if at all – to any given one of the essays in this book. But in the end, that’s only part of the point. Because, all of us being different, all of us are different as parents.
To disempower the Good Mother myth, we need to work to actively affirm the individual truths of motherhood, all of them. As Ms. Norman Nathman writes in her introduction, “Read these stories, find yourself within these pages, and join us as we redefine the myth of motherhood to fit reality.” (p. xvii) And Ms. Turlington Burns points out that “At this point in time, the possibility and importance of connecting, empowering, and accepting each other as women and mothers at every point along the mothering spectrum is crucial.”
Read the full review here. I think it's a necessary read for moms in the US, especially if you have even the smallest, feminist bone in your body. Pick up a copy when you can, here's a link. Avital has many resources on the internet. If you like her work, you can also follow her blog The Mamafesto.
2. All Joy and No Fun, by Jennifer Senior.
My introduction to this new book was first through an email from my mother, then an old friend of mine who read it in a few nights. She said, "Bec, you have to read it, because it totally lends to the work you're doing." Senior's book contrasts the strains of day-to-day parenting with the transcendent experience of having a child. The title came from a friend of her's, a Dad, who described parenting as, "All joy and no fun." I learned quickly, through conversation, research, and reading that my friend wasn't blowing smoke up my butt. This book will only add value to your life.
The amount of research Senior poured over, then put meaning and context to in regards to parenting in the 21st century is allowing parents some breathing room and some level of self-acceptance- permission to say, "Hey, I'm not alone." You didn't need research to prove it, but it sure helps you feel more sane knowing there are social scientists, psychologists, and biologists studying parenting and the effects on relationships, childhood development, brain development and soul development. This book is rich with information. You will want to put down what you're doing and keep going once you start.
However, most of you tell me you don't have time to read so listen to this interview from Fresh Air in early February while you're on your commute or at home. It'll give you insight into the story, for the time being.
These resources are like layer cakes. The more you sink into it, the better it tastes. The small and large positive impacts on the lives of moms (and dads) often delivers that "ah-hah" moment, from what I've learned from time in a clinical and non-clinical setting. Another thing I've learned over time is that access to these resources makes the lives of busy parents better and more connected.
Other than checking out the resources above, I have one action for you today: Go and sign up for the newsletter, today. That's it...Get juiced every Monday, for free, it'll feel really good.
If you learned something here today that moves you, and you're not signed up for our weekly newsletter, there is really specific information that I only share with the list that can and will improve your life.
Thank you with all of my heart for showing up and being your best self. I hope you have an energetic, fun, and healthy week. See you next month. Warm, warm love.