Our 39-year old protagonist is Kelly Mills Johnson, a stay-at-mom of two sons and wife to successful attorney, Patrick. Her life is fairly normal and drama free, if you don’t count that cancer scare last December. Kelly knows she’s healthy but that glance at impending mortality has had a greater affect on her than she guessed. It’s summer now, the boys are at camp, Patrick is busy at work and Kelly finds herself in the dentist’s office because she keeps grinding her teeth. She’s determined to figure out what’s causing it and so sets forth on a journey of self discovery that ends up including reconnecting with friends, starting a business and daily being thankful for the blessings in her life.
Jennifer of For Such A Time As This – “I cannot tell you how much I relate to the main character of the book. In fact, that was me just a few short months ago, when I felt like everything in my life was falling apart and I was going nowhere. … The humor and the realness of her story will really hit home with a lot of women, especially the ones whose children are almost grown and they are at that “now what do I do” stage.”
Michelle of Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life – “I could relate to this book on so many levels! After all, I did turn 40 last year. And I’m a stay at home mom who sometimes wonders if this is all life is supposed to be. Or is there something more that I’m supposed to be doing?”
Hannah of Living Life Hannah Style – “This was a really heartfelt book. You feel like you are going on her journey with her, and it also gives you cause to question some things about your own life, and what you need to change. I especially like the fact that even though its about serious issues, you see the humor in it as well.”
Beth of Life in the BAT Cave – “We see each of these friends face some of their own demons and a bond that is created among these women that is strong, positive and powerful. … In a society where I feel we are always compared to the neighbor next door and we as women tend to tear each other down more than we build each other up, it was wonderful to see these characters evolve and build themselves and each other up.”
Norma of Wakela Runen’s World – “This was truly a wonderfully written book. It definitely encourages readers to open up their lives to more then what is currently in them. I know that I will be reexamining what I find important and what I plan to do with the next 10, 20, or even 30 years of my life. … [it] inspired me to start making a Things to Change list. I know how Bucket lists were all the rage a few years back. Well, this book will have everyone wanting to make Things to Change lists.”
Joie of NetWorking Witches – “This is a great book for moms in a rut and need a little mental clearing of house. I think it put my ideas back into perspective.”
Stephanie of Beauty Brite – “When I first started reading Here, Home, Hope, I thought I couldn’t really relate to Kelly because she is in a different age bracket than me and going through different things than I am experiencing. I decided to give this book a chance and keep reading. I found this book to be inspiring, feel good, empowering book! As I kept reading, I didn’t want to put it down.”
Here, Home, Hope is available in stores and online. You can follow Kaira on Twitter or catch up with her on Facebook. To learn a little more about Kaira, her writing and other pursuits, you can read our interview with her as well!
A few weeks before the birth of my first child, I sat at my sister-in-law’s computer creating a “wet diaper” chart and at least one other “keep track of your baby’s bodily functions” chart. I had been given a book and the book said that you needed the charts to keep up with these things so that you would know whether or not your baby was getting enough nutrition, eating enough, and so on. My sister-in-law, whose children were ten and eight at the time, asked me what I was doing. When I explained, I noticed a brief glimmer of mirth cross her face before she diplomatically nodded her head and murmurred something along the lines of, “how helpful”.
Fast-forward about 3 months. I’m tired. Bone-aching tired. My firstborn, the one I planned so meticulously for, is not doing what the book said she would do! She’s a good baby, the delight of my life but she’s not following the plan! As I shuffle through some papers on my desk, I come across those charts. Blank. Never used. Completely forgotten in the haze of new parenthood and daily survival. I remember that fleeting look of mirth on my sister-in-law’s face and I understood. The charts get chucked in the trash, a lesson is learned. Parenting isn’t about following charts and getting it right all the time, it’s about following your heart and getting it wrong most of the time because that’s how you learn.
That’s the beginning of my story of being a “Good Enough”, the term authors Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Holle Schwartz Temple give to women who have punted on being perfect and found freedom in being good enough. Their ground-breaking book, Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood is not about settling or giving up or failing. It’s about admitting to ourselves that just because “we can do it all, doesn’t mean we have to do it all.”
Their book starts with Becky and Hollee’s respective stories of finding the good enough in their lives, how their research evolved and the things they found out about how women view themselves in their roles as businesswomen, wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. The rest of the book takes us through lives of women, just like you and just like me and lets us peek into their choices and decisions, their successes and failures, their joys and sorrows. For me that is the best part of the book. Reading through those stories, “hearing” longing, satisfaction, peace, joy, even well earned pride in the voices of the women interviewed was comforting. The stories weave us all together with these delicate, yet very strong threads, of shared experience and history.
And even though they interviewed dozens of women for the book, it was Hollee’s own story about her husband’s health crises that stuck with me the most. As she concluded the account of that harrowing time in her life she said,
This was the ugly truth: No matter how much we plan, life sometimes takes us in an entirely different direction.
When that happens, it changes the whole conversation about finding “balance.” Hell, it sometimes wipes it off the radar entirely. Who has time to Have It All when we’re worried about just holding it together?
All of our experiences are different, but that basic truth can be found somewhere in all of our lives.
Good Enough is the New Perfect has perfectly accomplished in book form, what blogs have been doing for years; it creates a bond of solidarity among women by sharing our stories and showing us that we are not alone. The book is backed by sound research and packed with relevant statistics about women, motherhood, and careers. The combination of journalistic prose and poignant recollections make the book easy to read and hard to put down.
Thank you to Becky and Hollee for providing me a copy of Good Enough is the New Perfect to read and review. I know I’ve gained far more from reading it that I can could ever hope to reciprocate to you through my review.
What is your story about finding good enough? How do you define your new perfect? You can share your experiences with Becky and Hollee on their website by answering their question, “I’m good enough because…”.
Good Enough is the New Perfect is available for purchase on Amazon.com and in stores.
images are from iCLIPART and from The New Perfect’s website media page