You've been there. We all have. You're tired and the stress keeps piling on. You slept through the alarm. Breakfast was a coffee and a Tic Tac. The kids are cranky and you're running way late. Then, just when you think it can't get any worse, the dog gets loose while you are trying to corral everyone out the door... Sound familiar?
Tate's been there
too. She traded a high-powered vice president job at a Fortune 500 company for diaper changes and dry-cleaning duty. And she loved every book-reading, baby-rearing moment . . . until one day when
she realized that somewhere along the line while raising her two children, she'd lost herself.
Tate is the main character in "The Book of Mom," a new novel by Taylor Wilshire. While the book is fiction, its premise – an overworked mom who loses her sense of self and feels lost – isn't.
Wilshire, a mom of two, says that the book isn't autobiographical but it does have some roots in reality. "I can definitely relate to the main character [Tate], she had a career path like my own and a mom too but all the other characters are fiction. … The other characters are also fictional with the exception of the two small children who are similar to my own," Wilshire said.
Wilshire spent time researching cognitive therapy, cancer and other topics to make them both as authentic – and therapeutic – as possible for readers, especially those grappling with maternal stress. "One of the first things I researched was cognitive therapy. I loved the idea of the reader getting free marriage counseling by observing the sessions of the main character. There is such a strain that happens in ones marriage when you have kids," Wilshire said. "I have also studied many self-help techniques, metaphysical practices, theology and philosophy and picked the ones that I thought would really work for moms and show a mom how to take better care of herself."
The novel was written with moms in mind, even including shorter chapters that can be read on the fly (when you have only a minute to yourself, or so).
Much like Professor Randy Pausch, father of three young children and author of "The Last Lecture," suggests: it's
important to take care of your own needs in order to take care of your children's. Pausch is a Carnegie Mellon professor who has inspired thousands through his famed Last Lecture at the
university – something that he gave not for the audience, but for his children.
Wilshire agrees that to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself. "We have all been there, so first take comfort that you are not alone. Take care of your self first – the analogy being when an airplane crashes you put the oxygen mask on yourself first so that you can take care of those that are around you," Wilshire says.
She suggests creating a mom-only zone in your house. "Create a space in your home that only belongs to you so that you can recharge and have a moment of solace. Do the things that you love with your children, not always what they love," Wilshire says.
Meditation is a great way to gather yourself and regain your center. For mothers, it's a way of maintaining a sense of self in your daily like, according to "Health and Yoga."
Wilshire uses mediation in her own life. "I meditate and pray every day. I have taught my kids how to meditate and how to self-quiet -- (that only works when they want to do it)," she says.
Having children is not a prescription for abandoning the things you enjoy. Although a child's needs are important, it's also important to teach your children through example that maintaining your sense of self is important. "When you have children to care for that feels so selfish but it's the opposite. When you can fill your soul with the things that give you joy, breath and happiness outside of your family and just for you something happens – you feel less drained and you come to enjoy your life fully," Wilshire says.
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