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Q & A with Jen Singer

Happy Sunday everyone,

Us moms have to stick together right? So in solidaridy to motherhood and writers I bring you
Jen Singer, author of the new book You’re a Good Mom…And Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either: 14 Secrets for Finding Happiness Between Super Mom and Slacker Mom offers secrets for raise perfectly good kids in that sweet spot between flash cards at breakfast and “donuts for dinner, kids!”

This book is yet another great reminder that we are all too hard on ourselves when it comes to this nonstop guilt trip. I personally don’t have time to be perfect anymore (seriously, I used to be an AMAZING parent – you would have been sooo jealous of my mad skillz) with the twins and all so this book hits home for me. Here’s a little Q & A with Jen about her new book.

How did motherhood get to be so competitive?

It started with the very first Baby on Board sticker, most likely stuck on a 1985 Volvo. Since then, our society went child centric – and a little crazy, too. We’ve raised the motherhood bar so impossibly high, we can’t reach it. We drive our kids to not one, not two, but three activities and sports in a week – sometimes in a day. We use flash cards at stop lights and play music for our kids in utero. (Have you ever tried to listen to music underwater? It sounds all wrong.)

That’s why we all feel like slacker moms, right? We can’t keep up.

And then we give up, and eventually, we’re serving donuts for dinner and letting our kids watch Desperate Housewives, because it’s easier than sending them to bed. But that’s bad for our kids, and trying to be a Super Mom is bad for us. There’s a sweet spot in between where you can raise good kids without losing yourself.

So how can moms find that in between spot?

The first secret to finding happiness in 21st century motherhood is to realize that Super Mom is faking it and Slacker Mom isn’t as cool as she appears to be. The town über mom probably only gets to put her feet up at the gynecologist’s office. The rest of the time, she’s frantically trying to make perfect kids in her perfect house. She’s exhausted and her kids are, too.
The cool mom, on the other hand, has no idea what her kids are up to while she sucks down Diet Cokes and watches like-minded women on Moment of Truth. And now that there are web sites where kids as young as eight can build a virtual bimbo, breast implants and all, that’s pretty darn scary.

But what if you want to do right by your kids? Don’t you have to sign them up for lots of activities just to keep up with everyone else?

Here’s one of my tips: Don’t be a frequent flyer. In other words, you don’t have to fill out all those flyers for karate and drama camp and math enrichment just because they come home with your kids. Pick one or two activities that your children are excited about, and sign up for those. And – I know this one is hard in the age of travel sports – let your kids play one sport per season, especially if they’re under 10. It’ll be easier on them and on the mileage of your mini-van.

What if all the other moms are doing it?

Be a rebel mom. I know it’s hard to be the only mother who puts her foot down and doesn’t let her kid watch The Simpsons or play Halo. These days, it’s also much harder to shield our kids from age inappropriate media because there’s so much of it out there. But it pains me that even second graders watch CSI, which has gruesome crime scenes that even make grown-ups like me flinch. It’s more work to be your kids’ filter nowadays, but it’s also more important than ever to protect them from things they’re not ready for because there’s so much of it out there.

What one tip would you give moms who are trying to find happiness?

Use triage. Pick out only those things that are truly important to you and your family, and aim for those. Take volunteering jobs that allow you to see your kids, like being a Cub Scouts den leader or escorting on the class trip. Build in playtime to your calendar – for the kids and for you. Move the computer into the family room so you can see what your kids are doing online. Then let everything that’s less important go. Really, do you have to bake cupcakes for your child’s birthday celebration at school when the bakery will do that for you?

Do you think you’re a good mom?

It depends on the day! When my kids were toddlers, I used to feel guilty for folding laundry instead of entertaining them, even though I was spending upwards of 100 hours a week with them as a full-time at-home mom. I thought I had to constantly create teachable moments in order to prepare them for the future. But I really needed to teach them independence and self sufficiency. I’m not going to be there to help them pick out lunch or manage homework at college, after all. A good mom gets her kids ready for life on their own – and prepares herself for life without her kids.

I read her book and it really is a fun, easy read (with much less swearing than my book) .

Check out Jen’s blog here!

Go to Amazon and pick it up along with my book. I mean, you know, if you don’t already have it. And if you do have it…would it kill you to give it a nice review on Amazon? I heart reviews (good ones not crazy “she’s a psycho mom” ones. But, I leave that to your discretion.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 13, 2008 7:12 pmUncategorized7 comments  

7 Comments

  1. help4newmoms said,

    Sounds like a good one, I’ll check it out! Got “Naptime” on Saturday morning and I’m almost done. You do not disappoint – laugh out loud funny and oh so true. You did it again, congratulations!

    | April 13, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  2. Becky said,

    I am so leaving you a nasty review.

    She’s cute. I like her. I will buy her book.

    | April 14, 2008 @ 12:27 am

  3. ALEXA YOUNG said,

    Great Q&A. I love me some Jen Singer. And I can’t wait to read the new book! I’m so sad and sorry I missed your signing/reading (and that scary stalker-husband of yours who was ogling Rebecca, too!). I was sick as a dog and actually stayed in bed for most of the day. How often does THAT happen? XO

    | April 14, 2008 @ 3:19 am

  4. Backpacking Dad said,

    Super Mom may be faking it, but Super Dad is the real thing. He can do it all, folks.

    Now, anyone know what to do when your body feels, oh, what’s the word?

    Digested-by-Godzilla. I need about seven naps in a row.

    | April 14, 2008 @ 6:33 am

  5. BabyShrink said,

    Great interview, good stuff! I myself am now worrying about the competetive birthday party goodie bag thing…last weekend a kid handed out t-shirts with the class photo emblazoned on them, with “friends forever, first grade, 2007-2008″! MY kid’s birthday party is this weekend, how can we compete with THAT? I think we’re going retro-minimalist, as in, a CUPCAKE!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  6. Anonymous said,

    Hi, it’s me Jen Singer, only I can’t get to my @#$ blogger account. Anyhow, thanks for posting this Stefanie, and thanks folks for all the nice things you said. It’s like making friends with your friend’s friends.

    | April 14, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  7. Kian/Kim said,

    I was lucky to receive your book from Mother-Talk in exchange for a review and I totally love it. And I wrote a nice review that you can read whenever you are not incredibly busy with life. Because we all love it when someone thinks we have time to do what *they* want don’t we?

    Anyway I will go to Amazon and leave a nice review there. Because you deserve and could really use some niceness in your day.

    And my GOD when did I start sounding like such a sycophant?

    | April 16, 2008 @ 12:46 am

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