“How working Moms can lose the guilt, work smarter, and thrive.” I read this subtitle on the book Stretched Too Thin by Jessica N. Turner and thought “cute, another book that’s claiming to help me in my journey but is going to end up making me feel even worse.” Is it only me? Or do most of the “parenting” books you read end up making you feel like you’re doing an even worse job? Then add in the working-mom thing and I was skeptical.
I’m a Faithful Book Launcher
One of my commitments is to do things wholeheartedly. I was selected to help launch this book. All my skepticism got to come along for the ride of finishing the task. Yes, I am Stretched Too Thin. Yes, I say this All. The. Time. There’s not enough of me to go around. I’ve read so many tips, blogs, forums, etc. Nothing helped- I was sure this wouldn’t either. Deep down I was hoping it would.
(Spoiler alert- writing this blog post is NOT something I needed to do as part of my commitment to the launch team. I chose to write it because I think you need to hear my honest opinions on this book.)
The launch team first got an audio copy of the book. “That’s brilliant!” I thought. Get busy Mamas a copy to listen to in the hustle and bustle. Something for the commute and the carpool line, something for making dinner and getting ready in the morning. I tried the first couple chapters but our living situation is not set up for audiobooks. There are too many people walking by outside, too many animal noises, etc. (not to mention feeling stretched too thin from interruptions from my hubby and son… I miss having an office)
So I waited for my physical copy to come while remaining active on the launch team Facebook group. People were loving it. I was starting to feel less skeptical and more interested as the days went by.
A Breath of Fresh Air
My copy finally arrived. The phrase “breath of fresh air” is overused. But I can’t think of a better phrase for this book. I read the entire thing in a couple days. I made copious notes. I laughed, I cried, I found community on the launch team, and I rejoiced! Between this book and my Next Right Thing, I feel like I’m coming into a new season of life.
Stretched Too Thin has helped me lose the guilt. Right now as I write, my son is playing with blocks in his little space. For the last year, I’ve felt guilt over working so much. I would hear him play and feel horrible I wasn’t playing too. Being a working mother is hard. It’s even harder when you’re in 210 sq ft and work from home. My kid has to see me day in and day out work instead of play with him. For the last year, I’ve beat myself up feeling like he thought I was choosing work over him. Perhaps he does feel this way sometimes. I don’t know what goes on in his brain. What I do know is I have finally been able to choose to lose the guild.
I choose to believe that my son is seeing a good work ethic. He’s seeing me break the bad money habits of generations before. He’s seeing me get out of debt and establish a better future for him. Best of all, he’s seeing me pursue my passions, my dreams and building the future out family longs for. This book has turned my perspectives upside down.
The Old Fashioned Pro/Con List
I devoured this book. If I had the money I would buy it for every single working mother I know. Be she a part-time MLM Mama, a Mama of a grown child long out of the house, a Mom with children in school, or anything between. It’s inspired me, encouraged me and filled my mind and heart with a new outlook on life as a working Mom.
What I didn’t love:
- Western Medicine- I felt there was a bit too big of a plug for traditional Western medicine. If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know that I take a holistic approach to health. We much prefer homeopathy and naturopathic medicine to Western medicine. I think the Western Medicine system is failing far too many people. I always get my hopes up that an author will promote natural healthcare and get bummed when they don’t. I felt like this section was a bit too much
- No moms like me– There were not any work-from-home and homeschooling moms cited in the book. I realize we are few and far between. I work full time and homeschool from this tiny little home. I would have loved to see someone more “like me” in these pages.
- Missing extended family- Something I struggle with is balancing extended family in my work/home/Mom life. I would have loved some practical tips for engaging with them better.
What I loved:
- Easily identifiable sections– Feel like your marriage is struggling? Flip to chapter 6. Need self-care ideas? Chapter 4. You don’t have to read the whole book in order. Read the 1st chapter and then bounce around based on what you need.
- Tips that actually work– I’ve been a working Mom my kid’s entire life except for a couple very brief periods. The amount of advice about work/life balance that has been thrown my way is enough to fill a book. None of it has made a whip of difference except the bullet journal. This book is filled with tips and nuggets. I’ve started using many of them and plan to incorporate more. There is a lot that does not’ apply to my situation- but for the average working Mama- they will!
- Words from fellow Mothers- This isn’t a book of only Jessica sharing her thoughts. There are quotes from dozens of working moms. It helps me remember that millions of moms are in the workforce every day and we’re all doing it together.
- Real food- Rarely a book like this encourages REAL food. I was pleased to see a focus on real foods, especially with the focus on Western medicine in the same chapter.
- Journaling and Reflection Ideas– Each chapter ends with practical To Dos, and journaling/ reflection thoughts. It’s putting pen to paper and following through. Taking care of yourself is a high priority of this book and why not start with answering these questions and thinking through some hard things?
- Soul Care- Jessica is a Christian and writes from a Biblical worldview. However, this book can be used by people of all faith backgrounds. Her information on soul care is some of the best I’ve seen, no matter what your beliefs.
- Not cheesy Let’s admit it. So many of these books are SO cheesy. They feel like “rah, rah, go, moms, you rock!” They don’t leave you without much else of substance. This book has meat!
- Self-awareness, and self-care– As mothers, we so often put ourselves last. The things we do or don’t do, for ourselves are easy to put on the back burner. Jessica helps explain why it’s so important to care for ourselves, and helps us dig deep into our feelings about being a working Mom.
- Finances, food, friends, and more– What a comprehensive book. You’ll find tips for scheduling, planning meals, healthy friendships, marriage, service, and more
- Tons of resources- The back section is pages and pages of resources. She put A LOT of research into this book. You can find work cited on studies, and extra reading ideas.
- Conviction– So… nobody likes to be called out. I almost put this in the other list. Yet, in the end, I like that this book convicted me so much. Changes need to happen in my life, and this book is going to help me navigate those.
- Encouragement to live your best life- Being a working Mom is HARD. Honestly, there are days when I wish I had chosen differently. Most days, I love my job and the ability to help contribute for my family. Jessica has given me a renewed joy in my work!
As you can see, this book was much more than I expected it to be. If I could afford it I would buy a case of it (and another book I’m launching called The Brave Art of Motherhood) for all working mothers I know. Many of my friends work and I’ve been suggesting this to them as often as I can. It’s one I plan to keep in my little mini-library and hope it will encourage you in your journey as much as it has helped me.