I was recently sent an advance copy of Love You Mum by Gillian Campbell to review. I don’t normally buy books that come in the self-help category however when I saw this offered up I thought it might be worth a look through given the subject matter, which is of course relevant to many mothers today. There is so much pressure these days to be the perfect parent with oodles of books, magazines, blogs, TV programmes and newspaper articles devoted to the subject.
The most important thing to remember about this book is that it’s not about bringing up children, it’s a book about being a mum.
The book is designed to help you find structure and clarity in the role of being a mum, analyse understand and switch off the guilt, regret and worry, help you to take charge of your choices, future and life and ultimately at the end the day smiling about the days ups and downs rather than being negative and disappointed. I’m not sure how realistic it is for the majority of us to achieve this but it doesn’t hurt to try!
There are several chapters in the book – Becoming Aware, Thoughts and Feelings, Living in Reality, Understanding Who You Are, Learning Response-ability, Building Habits, Parenting with a Truth. Throughout these chapters are exerceises which help you analyse and understand your feelings.
Do you worry about how you are doing as a mother? Do you stress that you’re not a natural parent? Do you wonder how other mums seem to hold altogether whilst looking perfectly calm, groomed and not in the teeniest bit stressed? I think we all go through moments like that and the exercises in the book are designed to help you make sense of those emotions and more importantly deal with them in a practical and positive way. I haven’t had time to sit down and work through any of the exercises but I fully intend to and may even share the results of those with you here on the blog.
The book is well written, in a casual tone and it’s extremely thought-provoking. One part of the book has a section on guilt and how much we use “should” or “should not” when talking about our children. Quite rightly, Gill Campbell points out – what is the should based on? That statement stuck with me because I think we all do it, we all say “I should have…” and allow ourselves to be eaten up by guilt and regret and the question is, why?
Another part of the book I found interesting was the Drama Triangle. Apparently to some extent all of us sit on one of the corners of the triangle in certain contexts of our lives. I intend to complete the accompanying exercise and discover where I sit in the triangle (although I have a slight suspicion where it will put me already…).
One element I really liked was the goal-planning section. I love to make plans, so this was always going to appeal. I liked the analogy that was used in an exercise about how your children will remember you. “Imagine it is the day of your funeral. You are there, floating above all the people who have shared your life”. The exercise goes onto to state that you never did any of the those things you said you would and how does that make you feel. Gill Campbell has managed to tap into one of my biggest fears which tells me, it’s probably shared by others. This section of the book aims to help you reach your goals and have a more fulfilling life.
It may all seem a bit self-involved however I think it’s prudent to remember that as a mum, we’re a big influence on our children (if not THE biggest) and help shape the people they will grow up to be. Reading this book has made me realise just how negative I can be – not only about my children but about the rest of my life and how I’m not really making the most of either. You can try to be the “perfect mum” in every way but surely this will be at some cost to your children?
There is so much I could say about this book, I’ve truly found it enlightening and feel like it makes me want to take more control of my life, which can only be a good thing. This is a great book for anyone who struggles with the quest for perfection in parenting. The fact that this book exists at all means that we’re not alone in feeling this way! I think this is a really useful tool to help mums rationalise feelings and make positive changes to their life and the way they parent.