Thomas Nelson, 2014
You know how sometimes you read a book and it's exactly what you need to read at that point in your life? Such is the case for me with this book. I downloaded it when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, and I was hoping to come away with a useful idea or two. I didn't expect to be scrawling pages and pages of notes in my journal.
Paine kicks things off by encouraging the reader to write down a personal priorities list, with the end goal of realizing what's truly important and what you can say no to. As I was writing mine I was struck not so much by what did make the list but what did not. It's easy for me to see how I've been putting time and energy into things that really just don't matter that much to me. As a result, the things that do matter sometimes end up getting pushed to the back burner. Saying yes to something means saying no to something else. (I feel like I should get that tattooed on my wrist.) If I say yes to having an active social life, it might mean I'm saying no to getting the house clean that week. And while hanging out with friends is generally more fun than mopping the kitchen floor, taking care of our home is actually a much higher priority for me right now.
She also discusses the importance of choosing and committing to a few of the best things for the season of life that you're in. This was another big thing for me. I think everyone would agree that having a young child to care for is a very unique season in one's life. Who knew a tiny baby could be so demanding? Really thinking about what the best use of my time is right now was so helpful. I love making a mess in my craft room but I just don't have the time to have several different craft projects going on right now. Fortunately, scrapbooking our family photos satisfies my need to make something and gets our family photos organized and into albums (which is pretty important)... while tapping into my librarian-side.
Other things Paine said that I needed to hear:
- Your children are only young once. I know this, but it doesn't hurt to hear it again. This season of my life is not forever (though it often manages to feel fleeting and never-ending at the same time), and I know that all too soon the baby who won't let go of my neck will rather spend the weekend at a friend's house. My house will be clean again (I hope). I will have time to pursue other interests (at some point).
- Stop doing things because you feel obligated to do them. I've gotten much, much better about this since fully embracing my introversion. Sometimes I skip out on something I had planned to do at the last minute because really, I'd rather (attemp to) catch up on laundry and give the baby a chill day at home. I don't feel guilty and then I feel guilty for feeling guilty (can you tell I'm Catholic?), but according to Paine I shouldn't.
Paine also gives some practical tips for goal setting, creating routines, and home management. They weren't anything I hadn't heard before but I'm sure some will find them helpful. Overall I got more out of the first four chapters of the book, which were very big picture.
The book does have a strong Christian slant, which may affect your enjoyment depending on where you fall on the scale of religious fervor. Recommended for overwhelmed mamas everywhere.
Reviewed from personal copy.