By Leslie Lindsay
Entertaining, honest, hopeful self-help book for busy mothers, reads like a chat with your best girlfriend.
~WEEKEND READING|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~
NOW IN PAPERBACK!
GET IT, GIFT IT…FOR MOTHER’S DAY.
This book came across my desk at the very right moment. I had been feeling like a hamster in a wheel going nowhere fast for some time. I work hard, but why do I feel so burned out? I wanted a break from it all. And then–the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Did I want to slay the virus? You bet. Could I? Not really. So I holed up and read.
SLAY LIKE A MOTHER (Sourcebooks trade paperback, March 2020) by motivational speaker and mom Katherine Wintsch was a bit of a wake-up call, but it also affirmed that I am doing a lot of things ‘right.’
Here she talks about the idea that many of us are people-pleasers. We almost *have* to be with work demands, household stuff, raising children, partner/spouse connectivity. She talks about ‘why’ we are people-pleasers (and not all of us are, but we’re still worn down). And then there’s that negative voice within…it’s snarky and full of bite. Why do we do this to ourselves? And how can we *not*? Wintsch gives practical and tangible solutions and scripts for re-framing those nasty words we tell ourselves.
Here are a few other takeaways from SLAY LIKE A MOTHER:
*THE MASK YOU’RE WEARING*
You know this one well. It’s the ‘I’m fine’ when you’re really not.
Break out of that mask by stopping the social comparisons, how to be honest and refreshing.
*YOUR UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS*
This what you think is goal-setting, but might actually be holding you back.
How to say ‘no,’ how to be more pro-active, how to weigh pros and cons. How to stop caring what others might think and do things for yourself and your family, while still being generous.
*THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRUGGLING AND SUFFERING*
Wintsch will help you identify what it means to struggle and suffer(Hint: it might not be as bad as you think).
I found the writing style chatty, refreshing, and honest. SLAY LIKE A MOTHER is filled with personal anecdotes and stories of those who have shared their experiences via her workshops and conferences. It’s also chocked-full of scholarly research that helps put things into perspective.
Here are a few other pieces I gleaned:
Motherhood is all about always anticipating and never knowing…no wonder we’re exhausted!
“Inner peace doesn’t come from having a clean mind when you have a clean slate, but from having a clean mind in the midst of a very full plate.”
“The greatest gift a mother can give her kids is to reinforce a healthy self-image that empowers them to present themselves to the world with authenticity, strength, and compassion.”
Will I come out of this quarantine as a better mom? I think so. Will my priorities be reevaluated? Yep. And maybe when this is all over, we will have positive, nurturing voices in our minds. Because we are worth it.
Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Katherine Wintsch to the author interview series:
Katherine, wow. Such a powerful, uplifting read. I always want to know the inspiration behind our work. I know this book wasn’t ‘easy,’ either…(no book is), but this one took some time to emerge into the world. Can you tell us a little about your inspiration and also why the world sometimes needs to be ‘ready’ for a book?
This book was born out of my own pain. For twenty years, I suffered at the hands of what I refer to as my “Dragon of Self-Doubt.” Despite both personal and professional success, from the time I was a teenager to well after I gave birth, I lived with the deep-seeded sense of love anchored by the warped belief that I wasn’t good enough and that I always needed to do and accomplish more in order to be loved.
Eventually, I went through years of therapy, read dozens of self-help books and binged on Oprah episodes every chance I could. Along the way, I discovered I was desperate to impress other people because I was so unimpressed with myself. And then I decided, that nonsense had to stop. I did the hard work and the homework to learn to love myself, mistakes and all, and now I’m helping women around the world do the same. It’s incredibly rewarding to help moms slay their dragons of self-doubt — but they have to be willing to be vulnerable enough to admit that their dragon exists. That’s when they’re ready!
“Much more than a self-help book for women; it’s the end of self-doubt and the beginning of self-love…and that is nothing short of life changing.”
In incomplete sentences can you state what you think SLAY LIKE A MOTHER is about? Who did you write this for?
SLAY LIKE A MOTHER is about learning to love yourself despite your faults, letting go of past pain in order to find present peace, dropping the belief that you have to be perfect in order to be loved and teaching the mean voice in your head some manners. I wrote the book for women who are people pleasers by day and over thinkers by night — the mothers who feel broken and believe they need to hide that brokenness to be loved.
My husband is a social psychologist and as I read, I came across a study you summarized about lying versus posturing from Bella DePaulo. Well, actually she’s not mentioned in the text, but we’re pretty sure it was one of her studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1996. Can you expand on this a bit? What exactly do our lies mean and why do we do it—as moms, particularly?
The difference between posturing a bit and hiding behind a mask is the intention behind your efforts. Posturing is designed to build on the good that’s already there, while wearing a mask is about covering up the bad you believe is there (and likely isn’t). When the mothers from my workshops find the courage to dig deep and pinpoint why they’re hiding their truest selves, it’s often because they’re terrified that others won’t accept them if they have flaws. As mothers we want to be seen as perfect, so we lie and pretend that we are. The day a woman’s self-doubt began to creep into her life, a sense of rejection and isolation cut deep, hurt bad, and made her feel less worthy. So, women often hide their doubts, fears, and flaws behind a shield of armor to prevent anything like that from ever happening again.
I know about facades all too well, because I clung to my own for two decades. I put on a mask and held on to it like it was my lifeline, because it was my lifeline — a dirty secret that saved me from exposing my struggles. Thankfully, I no longer live that way.
I wanted to touch on the suffering versus struggling piece that you touch on in SLAY LIKE A MOTHER. Sometimes I will say things like, “I’m really struggling right now.” It’s usually career/existentially focused. But sometimes it’s a confluence of all things at once: motherhood, household, work, etc. Can you define what it means to ‘struggle’ versus ‘suffer?’
Struggling represents the external challenges in your life such as jockeying for a promotion at work, feeding your family dinner or cleaning up after your messy family, etc. The struggle is real and it’s real for every mother. Suffering, however, happens when you yell at yourself because you’re not getting the promotion faster or telling yourself you’re a poor excuse for a mother because your children leave a mess everywhere, they go. What you need to know is that while the struggle is real, your suffering is optional.
You need to recognize that everyone struggles and you’re not a loser for experiencing the difficult situations you mentioned. Most of the time, your struggling dips down into suffering because you (falsely) believe you’re pathetic and everyone else is perfect. You think you’re the only one who struggles but the truth is that all mothers struggle with these issues. Motherhood isn’t hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because it’s hard.
And that mask! We absolutely have to talk about that, too. Because it’s there. We smile when we’re ready to fall apart. We say things are fine when they are anything but. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it to protect others? Does it sometimes help to ‘fake it till you make it?’
We wear masks because we believe we are broken and that we must hide that brokenness in order to be loved. We say it’s because we don’t want to burden others with our problems, but the truth is, we’re scared we won’t be loved and accepted if we’re not perfect. If you’re wearing a mask, you’ve adopted the belief that the rules of love are predicated on always being a fantastic friend, wonderful wife, supportive mother, and doting daughter. However, there is no greater love than when you show someone your busted and brittle bits, and the look in their eyes says they love you just as much, if not more. Here’s a video of me taking my mask off for all the world to see.
Personally, I don’t believe in faking it until you make it. You’re enough as-is, just as you are — and pretending to be something you’re not sends a message to your soul that you don’t believe you’re good enough.
What three things can you not stop thinking or talking about? It doesn’t have to be mom-or literary-related.
This video, Schitt’s Creek, Peloton and jalapeno tequila
Katherine, this has been so enlightening and empowering. Thank you, thank you! What else should I have asked, but may have forgotten?
I think you covered everything!
Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook
For more information, to connect with Katherine Wintsch via social media, or to purchase a copy of SLAY LIKE A MOTHER, please visit:
~NOW IN PAPERBACK!~
GET IT, GIFT IT…FOR MOTHER’S DAY.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
An internationally recognized expert on the topic of modern motherhood, Katherine Wintsch is founder CEO of The Mom Complex and author of SLAY LIKE A MOTHER: How to Destroy What’s Holding Your Back So You Can Live the Life You Want. The majority of her expertise comes from studying the passion and pain points of mothers around the world—the rest is accumulated from a little trial and a whole lot of error while raising her own two children with her husband in Richmond, Virginia. Katherine’s sought-after research and expertise have been featured by Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company, and she regularly writes about the topic of motherhood on her popular blog, In All Honesty, and for Working Mother magazine.
ABOUT YOUR HOST:
Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in Pithead Chapel, Common Ground Review, Cleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The Waking, Brave Voices Literary Magazine, Manifest-Station, and others. Her cover art will be featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (AJM), poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this spring. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.
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[Cover and author image courtesy of SparkPointPress and used with permission. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook]