This book had me at hello. The title could describe most of my days of late: “Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom.” The author, Kristin van Ogtrop is the mother of 3 boys and the Editor-in-Chief of Real Simple magazine.
But this book isn’t only for working mothers, any busy mom will find humor and solace in this pithey and pitch-perfect set of short stories. I identified so much with the contents of this book, that I dog-ear’ed 15 of the terms in this book and my brand new book looks thoroughly beaten up.
Here are four of my favorite “terms” (all copyright Kristin van Ogtrop):
“Existential lethargy: The state you’re trapped in when you’re so overwhelmed that nothing — and I mean notthing — interests you, not even Starbucks or a York Peppermint Pattie. This state is particularly acute at the beginning of the school year, the end of the school year, any time from November 23 to January 2 and on Halloween.”
“Ignore the tray: The advice generally reserved for waiters that can apply to working mothers as well. That is, if you focus too much on the load you are carrying — for example, if you look too closely at next week’s schedule, factoring in work- and child-related commitments — it will tip. Chin up, chest out, watch where you are headed, everything will be just fine.”
“Quitters never win: The one thing you learned in kindergarten that is absolutely false. At a certain point quitters really do win, when quitting means eliminating a bad job from your life. Let’s be honest. How many of you have dreamt of writing an out-of-office email that said the following: ‘Having realized, after years of thankless toil, that this job/this industry/my co-workers/my measley paycheck/my crazy boss is no longer worth my valuable time, I will be out of the office for the rest of my life. If you need immediate assistance find someone else.’ If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.”
“Zero-sum living: If you try to get in shape, you will never be well rested. If you try to get enough sleep, you will always have a little tummy. If you have too many enjoyable ‘date nights’ with your husband, you will wish you never had kids. (If you have dinner every night with three young boys, you may also wish you never had kids.) If you dress to get promoted like all those career-building self-help books recommend, your colleagues will think you are putting on airs and band together to hate you, and you will never get promoted. If you are a woman who is too tough, people will say you’re a bitch and no one will want to work for you. If you are a woman who is not tough enough, people will say you are a bad leader and no one will want to work for you. If you wear flats to work, you will look dumpy but smart. If you wear high heels to work, you will look pretty but stupid. If you are too good a team player, people will think you are a pushover. If you hire your CEO’s goddaughter as a summer intern, that means you are a suck-up. If you don’t hire your CEO’s goddaughter as a summer intern, you clearly don’t know how the world works.”
This gal is my hero; she should run for President! I loved this book and give it FIVE SHINY STARS. It’s a must-read for any busy mother and would make a great Christmas gift for the all of those half-insane moms on your list.