I'm not an avid reader of Money Saving Mom but I do subscribe to a few of Crystal Paine's newsletters so my inbox usually has an email about how to save money or a giveaway or the like. I do scour a lot of blogs (probably too many some days) so I'd seen "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode" by Crystal Paine and had read numerous reviews. I think that title is something every mom with young kids wants to be able to say, so I was very excited at the opportunity to review this book.
Paine gives you "9 simple strategies to stress less, sleep more, and restore your passion for life." I'm coming out of the really little kid stage (my youngest enters kindergarten in the fall - how can that be?) but I all too well remember the days of inward panic and stress over the tiniest things while my children were very small. I couldn't keep up with the dishes, the diapers, the laundry (still have troubles with this one...), the financial woes, the stress. I felt like I was drowning. There are days, I'll be honest, where I still feel like that!
The chapters in "Say Goodbye..." go over simple steps - she doesn't lie about this, they are so simple, it's mostly common sense - like "Stop Trying to Do it All," "If You Aim at Nothing, You'll Hit it Every Time," "Discipline is Not a Bad Word," "When You Feel Like a Failure," and "Sometimes It IS About You." In other words, you're not super woman (she doesn't exist!), you need goals, you need discipline, you're not a failure and failure can help you overcome much, and make time to be good to yourself!
Among much else in this book, I appreciated the goal-setting chapter. Paine gave more simple steps to setting goals using the acronym SMART. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Don't say "I want to lose weight" but set a specific goal you can measure that's not out of this world and set a date. "I want to lose 1 pound per week for 10 weeks so I can lose 10 pounds." I do think I need to re-read the goal chapter because I don't have much I'm working toward right now and sometimes that's really hard. I want to know that I'm not just resting on my laurels but really working toward who God wants me to be and what He wants me to be doing. I have found this great goal setting workbook on another blog. Works super well in concordance with this book!
There's a really good list about cutting down your time in the kitchen in the "Manage the Home Front" chapter, including tips like "cook it once; eat it twice" (which really only works if your family will eat leftovers - mine will but I know not all do), "prep your food as soon as you come home from the store" (which I actually did today, cutting up cucumbers, broccoli, and tomatoes), and "make bulk batches of baking mixes" (I need to do this for pancakes and muffins). Great, simplistic tips that make realistic sense!
I also really loved the "creative ways to help others" in the "Yes, You Can Make a Difference" chapter. Things like: plan a family night out volunteering, organize a clothing drive and donate items to a local shelter (or like I've done, have a clothing swap and donate leftover clothes), donate childcare services to a new mom, walk someone's dog for them, write a handwritten note to encourage someone going through a difficult time, and bake some treats for your local civil servants. What wonderful ideas! And ideas you can include your children in on. We may not all have the money to donate significant amounts to organizations and charities and missions but we do have small talents, gifts, and time we can donate to make a difference.
There is a TON of ideas for tired, overwhelmed women that can help take you from a place of drowning to treading to swimming. It takes effort that you may feel like you don't have, but that's the place that grace takes, to not take it hard on yourself and to keep going when you feel you have nothing to give. I want to tell you a secret - you have so much to give! So much!
Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not agree with my opinions but they are my own.