I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood

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"I don't know how she does it!" is an oft-heard refrain about mothers today. Funnily enough, most moms agreethey have no idea how they get it done, or whether they even want the job. Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile spoke to mothers of every stripeworking, stay-at-home, part-timeand found a surprisingly similar trend in their interviews. After enthusing about her lucky life for twenty minutes, a mother would then break down and admit that her child's first word was "Shrek." As one mom put it, "Am I happy? The word that describes me best is
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I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids

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Overview

"I don't know how she does it!" is an oft-heard refrain about mothers today. Funnily enough, most moms agreethey have no idea how they get it done, or whether they even want the job. Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile spoke to mothers of every stripeworking, stay-at-home, part-timeand found a surprisingly similar trend in their interviews. After enthusing about her lucky life for twenty minutes, a mother would then break down and admit that her child's first word was "Shrek." As one mom put it, "Am I happy? The word that describes me best is challenged." Fresh from the front lines of modern motherhood comes a book that uncovers the guilty secrets of moms today . . . in their own words. I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids diagnoses the craziness and offers real solutions, so that mothers can step out of the madness and learn to love motherhood as much as they love their kids.
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  • Trish Ashworth and Amy Nobile
    Trish Ashworth and Amy Nobile  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811856508
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 4/19/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Trisha Ashworth has produced advertising for American Express, PepsiCo, and Levi's. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three children.

Amy Nobile has led public relations programs for Visa, FritoLay, and Webvan. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. The authors have been on Oprah, Today Show, 20/20, Rachel Ray, Early Show, Fox News and NPR.

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Reading Group Guide

About the Book
”I don't know how she does it!“ is an oft-heard refrain about mothers today. Funnily enough, most moms agree—they have no idea how they get it done, or whether they even want the job. I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids diagnoses the craziness and offers real solutions, so that mothers can step out of the madness and learn to love motherhood as much as they love their kids.

Let’s Get Started: Quiz
Does this sound like you? Check all that apply.

You secretly wish you had your own apartment.
If you have to play Go Fish one more time, you will definitely poke your eyeballs out.
You lie to your friends about how much babysitting help you have.
Next time your husband goes to Home Depot to “help” you, you think he should just stay there.
You feel guilty that you like going to work so much.
You worry whether your son’s lunch box is the “right” one.
You dread the question “What do you do all day?”
You consider a trip to the dentist your special “alone time.”
You plan to get control over your life . . . next week.
Reading before bed feels like a luxury.
You find that slowly browsing the aisles at Target, by yourself, is better than therapy.

Moms Group/Book Club Discussion Guide “It’s not a real moms’ group unless someone’s crying”

GUIDELINES:

Before starting a discussion about the book, we recommend laying down a few ground rules. It’s important to create an atmosphere that gives moms permission to truly be themselves, and talk about motherhood in an authentic way.
1. Be honest. Both with ourselves and with others so we can begin to live happier lives in motherhood.
2. No Judgement. No judging yourselves, and no judging others, no matter what is said. Supporting each other is vital—if we can learn from each other, we’ll all be better for the experience.
You’ll find the discussion topics below and others in your copy of I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, feel free to refer to the book for solutions to each issue.

EXPECTATIONS:

How is motherhood different than you expected? Are you the kind of mother that you imagined you would be? If not, how is the reality different from your plans or expectations?
We feel that our generation of women was raised with the expectation that we could and should ‘do it all.’ What are the pressures on today’s mothers, and how do they differ from past generations?
Do you ever feel that you should feel lucky to be a mother in this generation?
Many moms today walk around with an unrealistic idea of a ‘good mom’ in their heads. What are the things you do (or don’t do) that make you feel like a ‘bad mom’? For example, one mom felt that to be a ‘good mom,’ she had to have a homemade dinner on the table every night. Another mom felt like a ‘bad mom’ if her patience ran out with her kids.
CHOICES:

Do you feel that you make the choices in your life based on others’ expectations? For example, one mom we interviewed said that she realized (after the fact) that she made the choice to quit her job and stay home with her baby because that’s what her mother thought she should do.
What’s the hardest choice you’ve had to make as a mother?
Do your choices make you feel free, or do they make you feel overwhelmed?
Do you still question your choices or have you made peace with them? If you have made peace with them, how did you do that?
JUDGMENT:

Do you compare yourself to other moms to assure yourself that you’re making the right choices?
Do you feel like other moms are more “together” than you are?
Do you ever feel judged for the choices you make? Who is judging you for your choices? How does that make you feel? How do you handle the judgment of others?
GUILT:

It seems every mom has some kind of guilt. For some, going to work creates feelings of guilt. Other moms feel guilty if they take time for themselves (to exercise or relax). What triggers your guilt?
Guilt is usually the result of believing that you have done something wrong, or of failing to meet your own expectations. Is your guilt a result of your own expectations, or what someone else expects of you?
HUSBANDS:

How did your relationship with your spouse change after having a baby?
Do you feel like you and your spouse agreed on your expectations of one another once you had a baby? For example: division of household duties, sex life, childcare duties, who works & how much, etc.
Do you find it easy to ask your husband for help? As one mom we interviewed said, “I don’t know how to ask for help; I just know how to scream at my husband.”
Do you thank your husband for the positive things he does and his hard work? Does he thank you for yours?
THE SOLUTIONS:

HONORING YOUR WHOLE SELF:

Has it been hard for you to maintain a sense of self since becoming a mother?
Do you feel selfish when you do things or take time for yourself?
Rank the following in order of importance: You, Your Relationship, Your Children. What do you think your answer says about how much or how little you nurture yourself?
Ask yourself how the person you are today differs from the person you were before you had kids.
What steps do you take to nurture yourself?
HOW TO SAY NO:

Ask yourself this question: Do you have a hard time saying no?
If so, why do you think that is? Many of the moms we talked to felt that when they said “no” to something, they weren’t living up to their idea of what a good mother is. They felt they were failing to “do it all.”
What are some ways to say “no” and feel good about it?
LIVING IN THE MOMENT:

Some of the women we spoke with feel an overwhelming pressure to constantly ‘be in the moment’ with their kids. Do you struggle with that?
Do you find that you’re too busy “being” a mom to enjoy time with your children?
Many moms told us that when they find one or two small moments in their day to truly connect with their kids, whether it’s helping them learn to tie their shoes, or sing a song, that those moments really count. Are you able to recognize those moments with your kids?
How you find ways to live in the moment with your kids?
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS:

What’s your dirty little secret of motherhood? One mom told us she would trade her husband for a housekeeper, and another mom confessed that she lets her daughter watch “Access Hollywood” with her.
What are some of the things you do that you wouldn’t normally share with other moms?

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Customer Reviews

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( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    It's nice to know that I'm not the only one!

    As a stay at home mom of 2, I have constant "mommy guilt" and self-doubt about how I am raising my girls & it was nice to read that I'm not the only mom who doesn't think she's always doing a stellar job. The next time I'm on the verge of breakdown and my husband wants to know what's wrong (so he can "fix" it), I'm just going to hand him the book. It expresses some of the emotions we sometimes have better than I could and probably in a lot nicer way!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2009

    a total joy to read

    This book needs to be read by every mother! It was easy to relate too and it had me laughing and crying through out the entire book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    You can't judge this book by its cover

    I feel horrible. I love the cover of this book, and am sure that the authors put a lot of time into writing it. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it at all and cannot give it more than one star.

    There were a few funny lines sprinkled throughout - but again, there were few. I felt as though I was listening to a lecture on why mothers across America hate this inescapable role they have assumed, willingly or unwillingly. Further, it was if the lecture was on repeat play: the same thoughts were repeated over and over and over again, the further I got into the book.

    I am sure that the authors are wonderful parents. I just wonder if they are truly happy ones.

    J.R. Reardon
    author, CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2008

    Excellent Read!

    This is a wonderful read for any mother. I highly recommend this book. I found the book to be practical and inspiring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    So true for moms of 2+ kids

    I absolutely loved this book. As a mom who works full time outside the home with two little boys, it offered hope to the days of feeling like a bad mommy for having a crying toddler trying to snot on you before a presentation. I have handed it off to other moms already, and will be purchasing it for other moms for Christmas.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2007

    Stay-at-home mom after 8 years as working mom..

    Funny book with a good dose of reality. Too often, we forget that all of us moms face the same challenges and fundamentally have the same goals for our children. My girlfriend gave me this book knowing that I was going through a challenging transition. The authors do a great job at holding up the mirror to our own shortcomings and at gently reminding us to stop the judgemental attitude that we all so easily get carried away with. Great, quick read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    Funny yet true

    Really funny book at the beginning- something I think all Moms need to read. It's an honest portrayal of how most of us REALLY feel about motherhood. It seems to fizzle out a little at the end though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    Really funny book-very true!

    This book really rang true for me. It's hard to admit you're not a 'perfect' mom and this book enlightened me to the fact that other moms were feeling as disheartened as I was. This would have been a great book to read right after I quit working to stay with my kids full-time. Even now, I could identify with alot of what the authors said. There were parts that I actually laughed out loud because it could have been me writing this book. I would highly recommend this book for all moms and even moms-to-be who think motherhood will be a piece of cake.

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    Posted July 22, 2014

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    Posted May 13, 2009

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