- Paperback: 197 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402211147
- ISBN-13: 978-1402211140
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,623,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either): 14 Secrets to Finding Happiness Between Super Mom and Slacker Mom Paperback – April 1, 2008
About the Author
Jen Singer is the creator of MommaSaid.net, Her work has appeared in American Baby, Family Circle, The New York Times, Parenting, Parents, and Woman's Day. She writes the Good Grief! blog about parenting tweens for Good Housekeeping.com. She lives in Kinnelon, New Jersey with her sons, her husband, and what appears to be a bucket of worms.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Chapter 1: Super Mom is Faking It
You want to trip her as she glides by you at Back-to-School Night, looking like she just stepped off the cover of Family Fun magazine. In one hand, she holds a plate of homemade apple-shaped cookies. In the other, she has four hundred signup sheets for the school fundraiser, of which she is (naturally) the chair.
And then there's you, windblown, disheveled, and late (as usual), not to mention empty-handed because Hubby ate all your brownies last night. Once again, you're faced with the fact that this mom-a Super Mom, if there ever was one-has raised the mothering bar so impossibly high that your anxiety is skyrocketing along with it.No wonder you want to check her into the bake sale table like a hockey player during playoffs.
She is most definitely a Super Mom, and you're . . . what? Desperate to be like her. After all, she helped her son whittle a bar of Ivory soap into a museum-quality sculpture of Abraham Lincoln for a Cub Scouts project, while you let your son shave a few slices off his bar of soap and call it SpongeBob. Her son's project looks like it belongs in the Smithsonian with velvet ropes surrounding it.Your son's looks like an eight-year-old made it while watching the Mets game on TV, which is, of course, exactly what happened. If only, like her, you, too, had a Fine Arts degree. Then you wouldn't feel so inadequate when it comes time for you . . . er, your son . . . to do his school projects.
Able to Leap Tall Preschoolers in a Single Bound
You'd swear there's some sort of bat-signal that summons this woman at just the right moment, her hair glistening in the school gym lights, a cooler of chilled Gatorade bottles in multiple refreshing ?avors at her feet as she trades inside jokes with the basketball coach, and then corners the principal for yet another pow-wow about her child's potential.
Meanwhile, you scrape the peanut butter off your sweatshirt and root through your purse for some lipstick, all the while mumbling under your breath, "Please don't sit next to me. Please don't sit next to me."
You don't want to hear about her latest project: her "craft room," an entire 16'x20'room dedicated to scrapbooking, sewing, needlepoint, and making homemade Halloween costumes that look like they belong on the cover of Martha Stewart Kids.
You, on the other hand, have nothing more than a "craft drawer," and that's only if you consider the following "crafty": plastic googly eyes, some kid-sized scissors that don't cut much of anything, and a dried-out glue stick covered in gold glitter. The last whimsical craft you tried to make-an egg-carton dragon- wound up in the toy box, crushed by a Tonka truck and stuck to Barbie's hair with a half-chewed gumdrop.
You long to be like Super Mom, because she seems to be what everyone thinks is a good mom these days-the kind of mom who puts her kids and their travel soccer games, piano lessons, Kumon tutoring, and elaborate dioramas of the White House made from sugar cubes before her own needs. The kind of mom who gives her kids the very best, so that one day she can put a Harvard sticker on the back window of her SUV and drive off to play bridge with the ladies at the club, where she'll brag about her children's scholarships, and, I dunno, the craft wing she'll add onto the house.
But do you want to pay $12,000 a year to send your four-year-old to a Chinese immersion school to "give her a leg up on her future?" Do you want to skip the swim team's trip to the water park so you can use the time to improve your kids' backstroke splits while everyone else is "wasting the day" in the wave pool? Do you want to be so busy running the town council, the home and school association, and the Mighty Mites hockey fundraiser that most nights you don't have time to eat dinner with your family? Will that make you happy? Better yet, will it really make you a better mother?
She's a Cross Between a Smooth Politician and a High-Pro?le Celebrity
But Super Mom isn't all that she appears to be. After all, it takes an enormous amount of energy to be the perfect mother-and even more energy to make it appear that way to everyone else.
In fact, here's a secret that Super Mom doesn't want you to know: She's really not perfect-just extremely adept at propaganda. She uses many of the same techniques that governments (for example, Hitler's Nazis) and Fortune 500 companies (like Enron) use to get their message out. You'll feel much better about how you measure up next to Super Mom when you realize it's all just smoke and mirrors.
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Top customer reviews
Paraphrasing a favorite commercial of my youth ... buy it, you'll like it. And Jen, keep 'em coming.You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either)
I bought this book under the assumption I was a Slacker(ish) Mom, and this would be a forgiving book that would help me get some kind of framework to be gentler with myself (and motivate me to do better.)
Some context: I do not drink. At all. I am in complete agreement with her on violent TV content, unmonitored computer time, racy outfits and rude t-shirts that I think are immature on adults, and appalling on young kids. (Although I think the "This is how I roll" toddler shirt with the stroller on it is adorable.) Looking at any guy under 35 (I am 41) in a sexy way makes me a tad nauseated. If you are young enough that I could have babysat you, you are too young for moi.
I have also never been (and have no interest in being) a Super Mom. I am just not that anal, wasn't raised that way and would never raise my daughter that way. And I'm a single working parent so I am never going to be able to compete with SAHMs anyway on the amount of time I can invest in volunteering at school, etc. I do pay for enrichment classes at her daycare, just so she can try new things. But they aren't structured to better her, they are fun and she loves them. And I love hearing her chatter about them. Oh and I will probably just put her in the same preschool that my friends with older kids went to (very short waitlist!) and they all turned out fine and are doing well in (public) elementary school. I'm not even researching other preschools! :)
But I do let the house and my car get way too messy for too long, and I feel bad when I just have to leave my 2.5 year old in front of Barney and go lie down (awake) for 15-20 minutes. OK 30 minutes. Or take her to weekend dropoff daycare so that I can get an afternoon off to see a movie or just sit in Starbucks and Not Be a Mom for a few hours. There is no dad at all in our lives, there is just me. No backup. There are just times when that's the best I can do. But I still feel bad about it.
So theoretically, I am already what she would term a "middle mom", I guess. But I could not believe how incredibly judgmental she is throughout this book. Not just to Slacker Moms but even herself!! That long rant about the husband's coat on the chair...I am pretty sure most doctors would prescribe OCD meds for being that obsessed. That she has trained herself to NOT pick it up doesn't change the fact that she WANTS to. Holy Cow. It made me think about something I learned a long time ago--I will be as hard on others (other moms in this case) as I am on myself, and vice versa. All that withering, ranting anger she is firing off at her idea of Slacker Moms (and I am sure that nasty tone will totally motivate those kinds of moms to change their ways), that's the same raygun she aims at herself. This is soooo not the kind of mom I find comforting, no matter what she says about being forgiving of yourself.
And what I describes as a Slacker Mom, that isn't at all my definition of a Slacker Mom. (Nor is it of my friends, who do none of those things either.) And that wasn't her aunt, either, whom she described. I don't get why she didn't make that connection. I am much like her aunt, but that isn't the mom she is describing in the Slacker Mom section. That section was just one long rant full of rage and withering criticism. It doesn't matter that I agree with her--if you are that judgmental about Slacker Moms, you must be barely tolerant of a mom like me!!
That is a cute story about the clothes piled up on the dryer. But how long does she let them sit piled up on the dryer? I hang my "office" clothes on the back of a kitchen chair, and most weeks they just stay there (since I've worn them all by Friday!) I get the feeling if she could read this and knew where I lived, by Tuesday she'd be fighting the urge to drive over and pick them up herself. She'd be lying awake thinking about my clothes on the chair, day after day. Like her husband's coat, also on a kitchen chair.
So if you are a mom and aren't drunk at 3pm, dressing like a tart and hitting on college boys at the grocery store, dressing your kids like whores or pimps, or turning on Teen Moms for your third grader, then you are not her definition of a Slacker Mom. If you want to read about a Super Mom in denial that she is still incredibly anal, Type A and witheringly judgmental about herself and other moms, maybe this book is for you. If not, I'd get "Free Range Parenting" instead. Her aunt who let the cousin shoot off firecrackers in the driveway, she was a Free Range Mom, not a Slacker Mom.
I'll keep looking for the book I am hoping for, that addresses Not The Greatest Mom Moments, how to be loving to yourself about them by being understanding that most moms are doing the best they can, but with some guidelines that actual moms need. OK, don't be an alcoholic cougar bent on raising future high school hookers and Unabombers. Got it. How about some real mom advice? How do I motivate myself (other than constant mom guilt) to keep the car cleaned out once a week at least, to clean up the toys all over the living room before bed, to read more than one (2 minute) book at bedtime, to brush a toddler's teeth every night even when she hates it? I am looking for gentle nudging. If anyone has suggestions (on books, not on how totally wrong I am in my review), I'm happy to hear them.