She had a breakthrough when she was waking up at 5am preparing nutritionally balanced lunches for her kids, while eating cheap food in a hurry for her own lunch. She started eating the food she was preparing for her kids (which is a little backwards from our house, where the kids eat the food I prepare for myself). However, I do understand the temptation to prioritize kids' health and nutrition over our own, when really nutrition and self-care need to be a priority balanced among all family members.
The book is an honest look at what can happen when we devote too much time to our kids and not enough to ourselves. It was well-written, from an empathetic viewpoint of someone who had once been there, giving and giving without taking care of her own important needs too. In the book, you'll learn the great insights she got, such as:
- Putting your kids first is the last thing you should do. This is Brown’s #1 rule. If you keep putting everyone ahead of yourself, it’s not possible to give parenting your all when you have nothing left to give. In order to be a better mom, it's important that you treat yourself with the same love and concern you treat your children.
- Maternal happiness is your choice to make. The saying “The days are long, but the years are short” can be applied to parenting. Kids are only young once. Instead of wishing their childhood away, make the choice to make these years the happiest—for both you and your children. How? By doing the things that make you happy—not by completely sacrificing who you are for the sake of the kids. It doesn't work. It leads to resentment and emotional and physical exhaustion.
- You are your child’s role model. Ask any mom what they want for their kids, and the word “happiness” is a top priority on that list. But if you’re not happy, you're not setting a good example for your child. By being happy yourself, you are paving the way for their current—and future—happiness.
- Know there will be days that you will fail. “I know I am a happier mom than I was just one year ago,” says Brown. “But once in a while, I still find myself overwhelmed and unhappy.” What to do? Brown recommends taking a closer look at life and identifying what’s wrong and making a point to get back on track. Even just knowing the root of the issue (bad eating habits, not enough exercise, not getting enough sleep, missing friends) can give you the tools you need to get back on track.