This contest is now closed. Check back soon for the winners!
Meagan is a busy woman. Not only did I spotlight one of her books last month, but she now has another recent book released called The Happiest Mom (she writes on her blog of the same name), and to top all this off, she has FIVE kiddos. You can rest assure — Meagan knows what busy is.
But she also knows what happy is, and wrote a book covering ten secrets for becoming a happier mother. Her book has been resting on my nightstand the past few weeks, and it’s been a fun encouragement for me to read before I drift off to sleep.
Some of her ten secrets include loving your love life, taking the easy way out, and aiming low. In a world spotlighting tiger moms and parents who let us know frequently that they’re just not happy, Meagan’s words have refreshed me. Reading her words is like grabbing coffee with a friend — a friend with five kids — and finding encouragement through her words of wisdom.
I’ve shared a workshop panel with Meagan, and we’re also in a writer’s group together, so I feel like I’ve gotten a good feel for who she is and how she operates. I think Simple Mom readers would love both the blog and the book of the same name.
I recently interviewed Meagan, and she shared some of her thoughts about writing with kids underfoot, making her bed, and being genuinely happy. Check out the end of the post for how you can win a copy of The Happiest Mom!
An Interview with Meagan Francis
1. There’s been a recent online trend of moms being “honest” and sharing with the Internet that they don’t really love being a mom. But quite — well, happily — there’s more and more of you singing the praises of motherhood and encouraging us in the trenches. What’s your take on the value of moms encouraging other moms?
“I think it’s so vital to watch the kind of messages we’re giving each other about motherhood. It’s really hard to buck a trend–it takes energy and confidence to look outside of what everyone else is saying and go your own way, and energy and confidence can be in short supply for newer moms particularly. If you hear a message enough times — like ‘Motherhood is exhausting’ or ‘you’ll never have time for ____ again after having kids’ — it’s only too easy to start believing it.
“I’m still working on checking the messages I send, myself. Recently I noticed that one of the ways I tend to relate to other moms when I first meet them is to commiserate about something hard about motherhood — probably because I’ve been socially conditioned to do so! I’m trying to change that about myself, because I realized that one, I was saying things I didn’t really believe sometimes, just so they would think I was relating to them (“As if any of us have time to shower!”) and two, I was helping to perpetuate myths about motherhood that I am passionate about stomping out (“Moms should never expect to sleep again!”).
“I think most of us do this unconsciously and without negative intent. It’s easy to gripe about the fact that your toddler is going through a tantrum phase or that your husband never picks up his socks; not so easy to share a solution that worked for you or admit that when you let go of caring about socks, your life got better. Venting has become the new playgroup small talk. And in large doses, it really affects the way we all feel about ourselves about about motherhood.”
2. You’re a mom to five kiddos. What was it like writing a book about parenting with your brood underfoot? How much of your real life can we find in The Happiest Mom?
“I leaned heavily on my husband during that time and let go of a lot while in the most time-consuming stretches of writing. I just kept reminding myself that book writing time wasn’t forever. After I met my deadline a few short months away, I’d have time for cooking big dinners and keeping my bathroom clean again. Also, I was lucky in that it was summer when I was writing the book, so I could let the big kids play with the little ones for a couple of hours in the morning and bought myself some focused writing time.
“It’s amazing how much you can get done in just a little time if you’ve got a fire lit under you and can focus in and stay off Facebook.
“The book isn’t super-personal, but you will find out some details about my life as a newer mom and my marriage, especially. What I like about the book is that it’s general enough that anyone could see herself in the scenarios we put forward, but what’s in there comes from my own personal experience — with considerable input from the editors I worked with at Parenting and Weldon Owen, who are all experienced moms themselves.”
Photo by Jennifer Mayo Studios
3. Your book covers ten “secrets” to enjoying motherhood — finding your tribe, trusting your gut, making your bed, and the like. What part of motherhood comes naturally to you? What’s a bit more challenging; out of your comfort zone?
“The part that comes totally naturally to me is the nurturing, emotional side. I am always available for a hug or snuggle. I also really love taking care of our home, though I am not naturally organized, so that takes a lot of work and attention. But I enjoy it.
“The hardest part for me is being truly present and engaged in what my kids are doing. I am just such a grown-up these days, which is sometimes hard for me to believe. I used to think I’d be the mom swinging at the park with my kids, but it turns out I’m the one standing off to the side chatting or thinking Deep Grownup Thoughts. I think that’s all fine and healthy, but the negative side is that I have to work hard to be truly interested in my son’s school dramas or the first-grader’s homework lessons. I think we all have our challenges, though, and as long as we are aware of them we can work toward that happy medium of being ourselves while still trying a little harder in the areas that don’t come so naturally.”
4. What’s the main message of your book? If readers finished it with just one big idea, what would be their big take-away?
“Be Yourself. We all have different talents, strengths, and parenting styles, and that’s okay. Motherhood won’t magically turn you into a crafting goddess when you formerly couldn’t even cut in a straight line (believe me — this I know) but you have other talents that make you a fantastic mom. Instead of trying to turn yourself into a different kind of mom, be the very best version you can be of the mom you really are — because that’s the mom your kids need. Plus, it shines through to our kids, and they are inspired to be the best possible versions of themselves, too.”
Meagan wants to give five Simple Mom readers a copy of her new book, The Happiest Mom! (Psst — it would also make a fun Mother’s Day gift.)
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, answering this question: What part of motherhood makes you happiest?
If you’re reading this in an email, you must come over to the blog to comment.
That’s it! But if you’d like two additional ways to enter the giveaway, here’s how:
1. Mention this giveaway on Twitter, including @simplemom, @MeaganFrancis, and the URL of this post — http://bit.ly/hpfXLa. Then come back and leave an additional comment on this post, telling me about your tweet.
2. ‘Like’ Simple Mom on Facebook and The Happiest Mom on Facebook. Then come back here again and leave a comment, telling me you did so.
This giveaway will end on 11:59 p.m. this Saturday, April 23 (tomorrow), and I’ll announce the winners this weekend. I hope you win!