Exhausted, stressed out moms are becoming the norm—we’re so often tasked with doing it all. I know the feeling of being pulled in every direction as a busy mom who wants to do everything for her kids. That’s why I was intrigued by the self-help book, The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity, by Meg Meeker, MD.
The author is a pediatrician and counselor with a couple decades of experience helping families—pretty serious chops. Could this book offer new insights into how to live a more intentional and fulfilling life as a mom? I decided to check it out.
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Highlights from The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers
Each chapter is devoted to one of the 10 habits of happy mothers. If you’re looking for tips on time management, parenting hacks, or how to juggle it all, this is not the book for you. This book is about the bigger picture—reducing overwhelm, reprioritizing, and rekindling joy.
Here is a sneak peek at the 10 habits of happy mothers:
Overall, I felt the book was worth my time. There were enough inspiring gems throughout the chapters that prompted me to think about my life and motherhood differently.
In some areas, I already knew the truths she was describing, but they can get swept under the rug among the day-to-day chaos of family life. Meeker’s words brought these front and center as a reminder to focus on what really matters.
Some of the parts that really resonated with me were:
- The importance of solitude, along with great tips for finding time to be alone with your thoughts as a busy mom.
- How to fight overstimulation and burnout by focusing on the big stuff and letting the small things go. This included a great reminder not to pick apart my partner for his small annoying habits. I needed to hear this, and it has changed my behavior.
- A push to do some soul searching and figure out your true purpose, allowing you to prioritize and bring lightness to your life. This one is heavy and something I’m still working on. It’s a thread throughout the book and one that merits serious attention.
- Pointing out the peer pressure we can feel from society as moms and how this can lead us astray. This includes a fascination with money and the psychological games we play with it, wanting it to give us something it can’t.
- Advice on parenting teens. Teens are a new territory for me, and the past couple years have definitely been the most challenging for me as a parent. Meeker offers helpful suggestions such as not to take teen behavior personally. (If you thought 3 year old tantrums were bad—just wait.)
- The need to show your kids you love them in a way that makes them feel it.
The chapter on finding ways to live simpler had the most impact for me and in itself would have been worth the read. I have been exploring minimalism as a way to bring more calm and peace to my life. Meeker’s advice solidified my resolve.
I had a revelation when the author implores moms to stop feeling responsible for every aspect of our children’s futures. We pour so much of ourselves into making sure our kids are set up to be the most successful humans possible. When they mess up, it hurts. We take it all so personally.
The resulting pressure and mom guilt can be crushing. Meeker points out that we only have so much control, and we really only have our kids for a brief time.
It seems silly to say that it had not occurred to me that my influence on my kids might be limited. That’s not to say I’ll stop trying my best to steer them in the right direction, but I needed someone to tell me that my kids’ actions and how they turn out does not rest on my shoulders alone.
A weight has been lifted knowing that I can try my best but the outcome will be influenced by many other factors, including my child. These are a few examples of how the book affected me.
An honest assessment of The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers
Published in 2010, I wondered whether the book’s suggestions would seem dated. I was relieved to find that the principles were still very relevant. However, I will note that the book felt like reading advice from someone of my mother’s generation rather than from a friend. I think that works for a self-help book.
Don’t expect to be laughing uproariously, but do expect to be nodding your head and saying “oh yeah, been there.” The authors words of advice were quite powerful at times, and I have included some of my favorite quotes throughout this review to give you a taste.
To offer some critiques, I would note that the personal stories of the author’s patients and friends throughout the book could feel contrived at times. While I got the sense that Meeker’s experiences and values may not completely align with my own, I felt she made many points that I could relate to, and I personally found several of them beneficial.
Faith is obviously an important part of Meeker’s life. There is an entire chapter devoted to faith, and references to God appear in several other places throughout the book. If these do not resonate with you, they can be skipped over while still gaining value from the book.
Though not perfect, I had enough wow-worthy moments from this book that I would heartily recommend it. I felt that Meeker understood my problems and had actionable solutions that could move me in a better direction.
Some of my changes in behavior and thinking took immediate effect and others will require more work and persistence. As a self-improvement book, I felt it was quite detailed and thoughtful. The book delivered as advertised in addressing each of the major areas promoted in the title.
Have you read The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers or will you be giving it a try? I’d love to hear what you think!
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