This is my first non-sucks book and I’m quite proud of it. I co-wrote it with the talented Jenn Worley, who, not only has four kids (two of them two year old twins for God’s sake!) but a degree in child psychology. We can all learn a lot about parenting from this book!!
Attention, mommies! We wrote this book in hopes that it would inspire you to care about yourself again. To love and appreciate yourself without feeling guilty or being shot down by the ruthless uber-mommy brigade. We know that somewhere under that old T-shirt, sweatpants, ponytail, and mismatched undergarments lives a sexy, interesting woman who’s begging for a night out. We know you’re tired. We know you can barely remember life before babies. We also know that somehow in the process of becoming a mother, you lost yourself. Every day, hour, and minute have been reduced to a single purpose: your darling children. What’s wrong with that? A lot. And we’ll attempt to explain why in the pages to come.
We have taken the liberty of naming this affliction, because without a diagnosis, there can be no remedy. Like any other addiction, Stay-at-Home Martyrdom can never truly be “cured.” And recovery isn’t instantaneous. Reclaiming ourselves as adults with valid needs is a lengthy process, filled with relapse, denial, and “start-overs.” But we can’t give up. We must support each other in our quest. For this reason, we have formed M.A.M.A.R.Y.—Mommies Against Martyrdom and Raising Youths-who-can’t-cope”! We’re here to stop the spread of Martyrdom. To combat complacency. To relocate kids back to the bottom of the family food chain (where they actually feel more secure and cared for). And while we’re at it, to free the world from the dreaded skinny jean and other cruel, unflattering fashion trends.
Who are we to lead this march? We are loving, overworked mothers ourselves, and we know just how deep mother/child attachment runs. We also now realize how dangerous too much love without limits can be. Between us we have a master’s degree in child development, a teaching credential, five children spanning in age from one to eleven, two neglected husbands, one overweight dog, three deceased goldfish (let’s take a moment and bow our heads for Gold, Gold, and Gold), and an entire Home Depot Garden Center’s worth of near-dead houseplants. (See “Other Living Creatures” in Chapter Seven.) We have spent countless hours trudging through the monotonous world of the stay-at-home mother. We have observed, we have read, and we have talked serious smack with hundreds of other Martyr-mommies in peril.
Knowing how little energy and time you have (or think you have), we have tried to make this process as simple and straightforward as possible. All you have to do is read. You may be wondering, “If I manage to get a minute to myself (which I won’t because my children need constant, age-appropriate stimulation and unfaltering supervision), why on Earth should I spend it reading this book?” Here’s why. Your children treat you like a doormat. And even worse, you treat yourself like a doormat. It’s time for your “start-over.” So put down your homemade baby food grinder and fifty-pound designer diaper bag, and let’s go to it.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The Stay-at-Home Martyr
Parenting Through the Ages
In the Beginning, There Was a Light Bulb Moment
Birth of a Martyr
Admitting You Have a Problem
Chapter Two: “Glamour Do” or “Glamour Don’t You Ever Look In the Freakin’ Mirror?”
From a Positive Pregnancy Test to a Negative Self Image
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes:
Between Your Knees
Let’s Get Physical…Don’t Panic, I Don’t Mean Sex
Out With the Old, and In With the New You
Doctor You Up
Chapter Three: Martyr-Dumb
You Know You’re Getting Dangerously Close to the Edge When…
Kids Are Boring
Poo-poo Pee-pee: A Person Cannot Survive on Monosyllabic Repetition Alone
New You Glossary
Get a Hobby—PTA and Scrapbooking DO NOT Count
Sticker Reward Chart
Chapter Four: ‘Til Death or Martyrdom Do You Part
The Family Food Chain
I Know What Boys Like
It’s a Family Affair
What to Expect when You’re Expecting Too Much
Communication is the Key to Boredom
It’s Not What You Say, It’s How Evil You Say It
How to Start a Fire with Wet Wood
The 30-Day Rule
One Nice Thing
Keeping the Upper Hand
Counseling Before Canceling
Chapter Five: From Dog Tired to Doggy Style
You know your sex life is suffering when…
Hiring a Sitter
But I Don’t Wanna!
The “Mama Sutra”
Not Tonight Dear, I Have a Deviated Cranial Lobe
Chapter Six: Children of a Lesser Mom
You know that you’re over-martyring your kids when:
Who Needs Who? The Industrial Strength Umbilical Cord
They won’t know how to make themselves feel better.
They won’t know how to make themselves feel better.
They don’t learn how to deal with disappointment.
They always feel like they have to be good.
They’ll grow up feeling entitled.
They won’t learn how to be independent.
You’re Mad for Fashion
Lost in Translation
Lowering the Bar to Raise Happier Kids
You Know You’re Obsessed With Extra-Curricular Activities When…
Chapter Seven: Home is Where the Martyr Is
Back in the Dé-cor
You Know You’ve Decorated in “Kid Shit Everywhere” When…
Pre-School of Interior Design
Less Is More Than Enough
The White Zone is for Immediate Loading and Unloading of Kid Crap Only
Nature vs. Nurturing our Young
On the Road
Other Living Creatures
Meals on Wheels
Germs are good (and other reasons to stop cleaning your house).
Goodwill Means Goodbye
Kids are Maid to Help
Chapter Eight: The Friends and Family Plan of Attack
If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say…You Must Be a Martyr
Martyrs have a short shelf life.
Husbands can’t share lip-gloss.
Women live longer than men.
Divorce happens to half of us.
Learn to Talk the Talk
Make New Friends
The Parent Trap
You’re In (Law) For Trouble
Getting Away From it All (and bringing it all with you).
I’ll be home for the holidays (while the rest of you go out and have a good time).
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Chapter Nine: The Ghost of Martyr Future
The Ins and Outs of Offspring
Empty Nest = Empty Life
Back to the Work Force
My Martyr, My Pimp
Congratulations, You’re a Grandmartyr!
It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn