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The Supermum Myth: Become a happier mum by overcoming anxiety, ditching guilt and embracing imperfection using CBT and mindfulness techniques Kindle Edition
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I was unable to carry on breast feeding after a few weeks, and I suffered terribly with anxiety and agoraphobia about going out in fear that I wouldn't be able to protect my son if something happened to us. I always felt like a failure.
On a journey to recover my mind, this was exactly what I needed. A feel good, positive and amazingly uplifting book that will help me now, and in time to come. I couldn't recommend it enough.
The activities and elements of CBT are cleverly placed and instil the positive thoughts and behaviours that the book is trying to enforce throughout.
The main message it that it is okay to dislike your children at times, and to not be the "stay at home pinafore mum" we all set out to be when we get that positive test. It's normal to fail. It's normal to not have home cooked food on the table at every meal time, or to not have freshly baked cookies in the oven in the evening.
A message I am also very passionate about, and the main reason I began to blog last year.
This would be a brilliant gift for a first time mum or a pregnant friend. If I had read this back then, I wouldn't have worried about half of the things I did. I now know what to buy my mummy friends for Christmas.
As I started to read this book – and it’s been a while since I have read a book for ‘pure pleasure’, not connected with trying to improve my mothering, or other, skills – I immediately felt at ease due to its casual and familiar style which is only enhanced by its many stories and quotes by ‘real life’ mums. I didn’t feel like I had to be anything I am not in order to identify with the authors.
The book serves as a reminder to all mums of their awesomeness in a world that often tells us differently. It includes plenty of step-by-step activities from which you can pick and choose the most relevant to put into practice. I was inspired by the authors’ reference to children’s “dawdles” (such as “Pausing to observe a stream of ants making its way across a path”) as the most pure example of mindfulness, of being fully present in the moment. The authors don’t force their views on the reader but instead provide an opportunity for informed self-reflection, self-exploration and for facing those universal mum-fears head on.
The book reminds us that we’re not alone in this muddling-through-motherhood business – in fact, there’s a whole army of mums out there dealing with the exact same issues and trying to find their place in the world around them. I found this quote particularly funny as it so resonates with me: “When I do meet up, childless friends probably don’t quite appreciate the military effort it takes for me to turn up late, have nothing interesting to say, and go home early.”
The book works through a wide variety of topics, some of which I have personally not had to deal with, such as infertility, post-natal depression and so on BUT I was surprised at how empowered I felt by reading this material. I now feel equipped to have that discussion with someone whereas before I may have felt awkward due to my lack of insight.
Permanently putting to rest the myth of, or indeed the need for, SUPERMUM, the book quotes D. W. Winnicot: “The good-enough mother … starts off with an almost complete adaptation to her infant’s needs, and as time proceeds she adapts less and less completely, gradually, according to the infant’s growing ability to deal with her failure”. This, I feel, so beautifully encapsulates the point the authors are trying to get across!
This book is a truly useful reference tool which perhaps makes it a tad repetitive at times but ensures the possibility for the reader to dip in and out of, as required.
I have always said that nothing beats motherhood. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy or that we don’t need some encouragement along the way. This book unquestionably meets that need and is one that will stay as a resourceful reference on my shelf for years to come.
The Supermum Myth gives a very frank look into the emotional rollercoaster that mums can find themselves on and then provides coping methods. CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) helps you deal with intrusive, negative thoughts and turn those doubts into positive thinking. It may sound like a lot of wishy washy new age rubbish but honestly, it’s not. These mental techniques are used all over the world, including by the NHS in the UK to help those with anxiety and depression.
It’s not a parenting book that tells you how to be a better mum. You won’t find weaning tips or sleeping schedules or education talks. What you’ll find is acceptance that no one is perfect and you are doing the best job you can. You are a good mum, but you’re not supermum – no one is. She doesn’t exist, even if your next door neighbour looks like one as she waltz’s out in full makeup with three immaculate kids at 7am in the morning whilst your singleton just threw up on his third outfit of the day and you accidentally slept in yesterdays mascara and didn’t notice. It’s about learning not to make that comparison and blaming yourself when you fall short of an unobtainable goal.
You’ll find ways of exploring your own mind rationally and coping with any negative thoughts you have with practical exercises you can do over and over. It’s helped me realize I don’t need to compare myself to other mums and especially not to their Facebook highlight reel or the snippets of their life I get to see and how to cope when my brain acts like an idiot anyway.
The Supermum Myth really helped me. It gave me the confidence I needed to take a step back, breathe deep and realize that I’m not alone. I’m normal. This is life and we’re all muddling through and this is how I can handle my fears, anxiety, stress and guilt better. The exercises are simple, easy to follow and work! Dr Rachel Andrew is a clinical psychologist and clearly knows her stuff, whilst author Anya Hayes is a mum who writes in a deeply relate-able manner.
It’s not just for new mums or mums with young kids, it has sections on toddlers, school-goers and older children too. The advice it gives seems fairly timeless, but there are some specific tips and first-hand accounts that allow you to relate at various stages. After battling infertility for 8 years to conceive, the section on infertility trauma was especially helpful to me.
It’s light hearted, personal, genuine and honest, whilst dealing with some seriously heavy topics and feelings. This is the book I needed to read right now and one I would highly recommend to any mums out there who have ever struggled with self-doubt, comparisons, anxiety or felt mentally overwhelmed. Which is basically all of us at one point or another.
I received a review copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley.
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