Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: I Love Mondays

I Love Mondays and Other Confessions from Devoted Working Moms is nothing short of a miracle. From all the mothers in my life, I've heard variations or straight verbatim concerns from this book; from travelling, juggling school and work commitments and remembering to take time for yourself.

"The more you are able to tune in to and trust your own values, the less you'll find yourself caring about others' opinions and the more confident you will feel in making the best choices you can for yourself and your family."

And author Michelle Cove shows us how to do just that, by laying out eleven of the most common guilt trips/working outside the home moms face in a clear and concise manner. The reader gets the impression that Cove is a beloved friend, listening and gently shooting down our concerns while swiftly, but lovingly, planting a foot in our behinds. Each chapter addresses one issue, starting with the problem, a quiz to suss out exactly where you fall within the problem area and then lists steps to thoughtfully address the problem. And there are a litany of options within the several steps. The reader can implement all, none or a combination. The chapters end with extra advice if things go too far, ie during the "Odd Woman Out at Work" chapter, she points out if you end up missing 99% of work activities, your co-workers will notice and wonder why but also provides a flip side.

            "maybe you simply can't attend after-work activities because you're a single mom who can't always find a babysitter when you'd like....If this is the case, make a point of lunching with your coworkers. Work lunches are also rich in opportunities to learn something about the boss or staff members."

For example, in the chapter "Multi-Tasking Mishaps," Cove starts the tips with letting the reader acknowledge their feelings in regards to try to get everything done, knowing that they are in good company and that it's okay to be sad about missing things with work or with your family. She also offers productive ways to stop, what she calls, "the spin cycle" of worry. She advises being patient and then once a decision is made to whether you are attending the school play or work function, to drop it. See also lovingly planting food in behind advice.

The only issue I found was that the lens of the book was hetero-centric. Mothers almost automatically had husbands and while the word partner was used often, the pronouns made it clear which gender was being discussed.

This book is a great resource for not just moms, but caregivers the world round. It's almost a gift to need this book because one's life is filled with a bounty of wonderful things, but the biggest message throughout Cove's book is to be kind to yourself. Far too often, we get burned out trying to make sure the to-do lists are neatly crossed off and while that is admirable, it's not healthy. I think this book will help many, many families to lead healthy and sane lives while trying to go about one's day and is a must read.

(Photo credit: Seal Press/I received a review copy of this book, but all opinions are my own.)

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