Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women: Simple and Practical Ways to Do What Matters Most and Find Time for You

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women: Simple and Practical Ways to Do What Matters Most and Find Time for You


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If you're like most women, "hectic" is how life is on the good days.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Part of the #1 national best-selling series Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, this guide will escort you through the twists and turns of the everyday with a healthy dose of practical wisdom, calm spirits, and good humor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781567319170
Publisher: MJF Books
Publication date: 03/01/2008
Series: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Series
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 92,213
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kristine Carlson is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love. She has been a guest on numerous national radio and television shows including MSNBC, Fox, and The View with Barbara Walters. She has run several successful businesses and has a passion for meditation and yoga. She has been married to bestselling author Richard Carlson for 15 years and, together, they have studied and taught personal growth and human potential. She is a dedicated mother who enjoys horseback riding, running, and sharing time with her children. She and Richard live in Northern California with their two daughters.

Read an Excerpt



I saw a bumper sticker that said: "I am Woman. I am invincible. I am tired." Girlfriend, doesn't that say it all? Where do we women get the idea that we have to be perfect and do everything with the gusto and grace of Wonder Woman? There's no harm in giving everything you do the best you have to offer, but when your expectations are too high and your head hurts or your hair feels as though it could fall out, you need to consider wishing the Wonder Woman in you goodbye.

The key to this strategy is threefold. One, let go of the notion that you can do it all. When you can't accomplish everything on your list, that doesn't mean you're inadequate. Two, be willing to ask for help when you need it. Three, be willing to make changes when your system fails. If you can do these three things, you have begun to say goodbye to Wonder Woman!

I remember thinking that I would be the kind of woman who could easily balance motherhood, career, and outside interests, as well as have a perfect marriage. I did a pretty good job until our second daughter, our lovely Kenna, came along. Then my system failed and became out of balance. Kenna was one of the sweetest babies ever created. She was, however, an ear infection infant, and ran high fevers often. Dosed with antibiotics, she was sick a great deal of the time. Day care was out of the question; I wouldn't dream of having someone else care for my sick child. But Richard and I were running out of answers.

Finally, a solution came to me one stressed—out morning. As I finally quieted down, I realized that I was trying to maintain an image that was now totally out of control, andthat was bigger than I had energy for or that I ever imagined it would be. It was as if a lightbulb went on; it became obvious that it was time to wish Wonder Woman goodbye—and that's exactly what I did!

I began to think it was time for my first career change; I was going to go from graphic designer to home manager. Although it wasn't the best of times financially, we decided that our family would be better served if I took a leave of absence from my business. I knew that this was probaby going to close a chapter in my personal history, and it wasn't going to be easy, as change rarely is. However, I decided that I needed to prioritize my family's needs (and sanity) over my own need to hold on to the "Wonder Woman" who thought she could handle running a business during nap times. It was just too much!

After the initial adjustment, I figured out that taking care of our two daughters full—time was a lot of fun, even if it meant less money—and it was so much more gratifying without the frustration of having a work schedule to attend to.

Stress is a very real phenomenon, but consider how much of it you create for yourself. If your husband's income alone is not enough to adequately provide for your family, then your only choice may be to go to work. On the other hand, if your husband's income is ample, yet you choose to work, and you're constantly stressed—out and made miserable by your job—well, in my book, that's a different story.

It might sound as if I'm making the case that all mothers should stay home with their children instead of working. I'm not. All I'm saying is that all of us need to take a look at our lives as circumstances change, and reflect on our priorities. As big events occur—bringing babies home from the hospital, having ill parents, or tending a sick child, for instance—we can't just expect our lives to go on as usual. We need to evaluate whether or not our current lifestyle best serves us, and if not, to navigate our way in a new direction by making small shifts and adjustments. Being stressed—out to the max virtually all the time is not giving your family the best you have to offer, because there's no way the material things you provide will replace your sanity, and that of your family.

If, on the other hand, you can create some flexibililty in your work schedule when needed, and you have excellent help, and all the family members are thriving, good for you—you've found a balance that works.

Keep in mind that Wonder Woman thinks she can do everything and be all things to everyone, all at once! She never says, "No, but thanks for asking," when asked to volunteer her time. She can't set limits, and she continues to add more and more to her calendar without letting go of anything. She darts here and there, leaving a frenetic trail of busyness. She adds one more committee to her list, or one more pet. She never says no to a lunch date or social request—unless, of course, she's already booked. She always takes in houseguests. Does she have a family? Well, if not, you can bet she plans on squeezing one into her schedule! Whatever her reasons, she does too much and eventually she caves in from exhaustion!

If this sounds familiar, it's time to reevaluate your "Wonder Woman" image and self—imposed expectations. Whether you're a stay—at—home, full—time mom or corporate executive; single, married with children, or otherwise; you need to ask yourself some basic questions. Would you enjoy your children more and have more to offer them emotionally if you took an occasional break? Are you spending too much time away from them in the name of good works? Is your home—based business totally taking over your life? How much of you does the company you work for really own, and how much are you willing to give up to continue to climb the corporate ladder?

The point is, if you're stressed, working too hard, and completely out of steam, consider what things you have control over and make some changes. Most important, realize that you don't have to be perfect—and that Wonder Woman is merely a figment of someone else's imagination.

Table of Contents

1.Wish Wonder Woman Goodbye5
2.Get Off to a Peaceful Start9
3.Don't Get Over-Committee-d12
4.Cut Your Friends Some Slack14
5.Bust Your Boredom Blues17
6.Stop Comparing Yourself to the Media Measuring Stick20
7.Clarify with the Question: "Are You Asking for My Opinion, or Should I Just Listen?"22
8.Make Peace with the Mundane24
9.Get Down and Dirty26
10.Don't Go There with the "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda" Sisters28
11.Save Your Pot-Stirring for Cooking Dinner30
12.Speak from Your Love32
13.Listen from Your Love35
14.Look in the Mirror37
15.Go with the Twists and Turns39
16.Have a Bosom Buddy41
17.Create Memories for Your Children43
18.Be Reflective45
20.Perhaps It's Not Personal50
21.Don't Let the Members of Your Family Dodge Your Draft52
22.Envy Not54
23.Find Your Gifts and Share Them56
24.Take Time for Your Self59
25.Let Out Your Steam Lightly61
26.Accept Compliments with "Thank You"64
27.Avoid Cyber-Rift!66
28.Protect Your Inner Flame68
29.Understand the Difference Between Intuition and Fear71
30.Set Clear Boundaries74
31.Let Go of Your "Perfect" Plans77
32.Don't Let Self-Doubt Stand in Your Way80
33.Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness82
34.Be Real84
35.P.S.--I'm PMS!87
36.Lower Your Threshold89
37.Let Your Children Grow Into Their Own Shoes91
38.Write a Letter and Find Out Where You Stand94
39.Gather and Let Go96
40.Stop Swimming Upstream98
41.Don't Be a Backseat Driver100
42.Create Beauty from the Inside Out102
43.My Way Is Not the Way--It's Just My Way105
44.Stop Magnifying the Flaws107
45.Celebrate Our Ability to Give Birth109
46.Learn to Meditate and Quiet Your Mind111
47.Go Ahead and Vent (One Time), but Get It Off Your Chest113
48.Set Your Own Priorities115
49.Don't Trip on Your Excess Baggage118
50.Packing Light and Traveling Right121
51.Get Off Your Hamster Wheel125
52.Use Your Career for Your Spiritual Work128
53.Know When Your Ego Is Getting the Best of You131
54.Stay Open to Meeting a New Friend133
55.Age Gracefully135
56.Consider That He May Not Have the "Eye" for It138
57.Go Inside for the Answers141
58.Dress from the Inside Out144
59.Use Symbols to Remind You of Your Spirit146
60.Remain Calm and Make the Best of a Bad Situation148
61.Rise Above the Rut of Your Routine150
62.Be Grateful for Small Things152
63.Honor Your Mother155
64.Celebrate Being Single!157
65.Find Your Own Way161
66.Allow Enthusiasm to Bubble Up from You163
67.Share the "Nice" Stories165
68.Say "No, but Thanks for Asking" (Without Feeling Guilty)168
69.Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You'll Need171
70.Go with the Girls173
71.Don't Become Over-Identified in Any Role175
72.Defuse the Thought Explosion!178
73.When All Else Fails, Laugh181
74.Plan an Inspiration Flow Day183
75.Gripe to the One You've Got the Gripe with185
76.Spice Up Your Sexy Side189
77.Be 99 Percent Gossip-Free193
78.Have a Backup Day Care Plan195
79.Don't Weigh Every Day198
80.Merge the Spiritual and Material Worlds200
81.Know When to Turn Off Your Technology Booby Traps204
82.Don't Let Your Anger Get the Best of You207
83.Seize Your Opportunities210
84.Widen Your Scope and Get Some Perspective212
85.Renegotiate Your Boundaries215
86.Don't Fight Fire with Fire--Unless It's a Controlled Burn219
87.When Trying to Simplify, Think Prevention221
88.Say the Words, "Hey, That's a Great Idea!" (and Then Act On It)223
89.Don't Take It All So Seriously226
90.Fancy Your Femininity229
91.Know Your Hot Spots231
92.Walk Through the Open Doors234
93.Own Your Emotions236
94.Remind Yourself What It Means to Be a Human "Being"239
95.Find Your Compassion Corner242
96.Remember That a Low Mood Is Only Temporary245
97.Climb Your Mountains One Step at a Time248
98.Define Your Small Stuff250
99.Be Able to Stand on Your Own Two Feet253
100.Treasure the Journey256
Author's Note259
Suggested Reading List261



I would especially like to thank Richard Carlson, my treasured husband, for his incredible inspiration and graciousness in giving me this opportunity to share. I'd like to thank my parents, Pat and Ted Anderson, for always loving me and giving me a wonderful childhood and great start in life. My editor, Leslie Wells, for her assistance, coaching, and encouragement. My parents-in-law, Don and Barbara Carlson, for all the support and enthusiasm they have given us over the years.

I've been richly blessed with great friendships. I'd like to thank all the special women in my life who gave me so much support and encouragement, and who helped inspire me simply by their presence. Beginning with those women I consider my "Life 101" mentors: Betty Norrie, Sheila Krystal, Michael Bailey, and my aunt Pauline Anderson. My cherished girlfriends who supported and encouraged me throughout this book: Kimberly Bottomley, Lisa Marino, Jane Carone, Cindy Driscoll, Melanie Edwards, Caroline Benard, Frances Evensen, Carole Stewart, Carol Simons, Christine Scharmer, Jeanine Stanley, Pamela Hayle-Mitchell, Marni Posl, Corry Wille, Heidi Mitchell-Springer, and Victoria Moran—and a special thanks to all the women in my life who are such an incredible inspiration and gift. I treasure you all!


It's a dream come true and a real honor to be sitting here today writing the foreword to Kris Carlson's book. Not only have Kris and I been married for more than fifteen years, but we're really close friends as well. We share a great deal of love, respect, and, more than anything else, laughter.

As you'll soon discover, Kris is a beautiful writer, but she's far more than that. She is a dedicated and loving mother and a friend to many. She is wise, compassionate, forgiving, and, for the most part, she doesn't sweat the small stuff. Really! In addition, she's more than willing to look at and address her own issues, and when she does get upset, it never lasts very long. Although she's an optimist, she is also a realist. She's aware of the problems most women face—but she's also very gifted at pointing toward legitimate solutions.

For many years, Kris and I have been reflecting upon and discussing the issues, solutions, and strategies in all of the Don't Sweat the Small Stuff books. We usually start our day with a short meditation together, followed by a heart-to-heart discussion of some kind. Kris is fun to talk to because, not only does she see the nature of many problems, but she's able to see the humor in most situations, as well. And while she's never once laughed at another person, she's almost always able to laugh at herself—a necessary ingredient in being an effective teacher of happiness.

There are some issues that only a woman can understand. I'm biased, of course, but I've never met a person more qualified to tackle the small stuff for women than Kris Carlson. In fact, the only time Kris ever says to me, "You just don't understand," it's always about an issue specifically about women! Having two daughters that I don't "always understand," I'm so glad that Kris is around to take charge!

I know you're going to love this book. It's filled with wisdom and good advice about a whole bunch of everyday stuff. Kris is able to get right to the heart of the matter in an honest, respectful, and light-hearted way. There's no wasted babble or filling of pages. What you'll read is good old common sense with a touch of flair and a lot of wisdom.

Many of my good friends are women, and I've met hundreds of women, over the years, from all over the world. I also grew up with a great mother and two wonderful sisters. And now I have two daughters. As I read this book, I saw all the women I know—and have known—in every page. The advice is applicable to all women—young and old, single, married, divorced, or widowed.

I often say, "We're all in this together." What I mean is that, as world citizens, we're all subject to the problems of being human—none of us are exempt. Yet, there's no question that women are absolutely different from men—different issues, problems, concerns, tendencies, and priorities. And while I'll never know exactly what it's like to be a woman, I do realize that every woman I know could benefit from this book in some way.

My greatest hope is that all people—men and women—will learn to live happier, more peaceful lives. If you're a woman, this book will help point you in that direction. It's a great read, and a fun way to learn to stop sweating the small stuff.

Treasure Yourself,

Treasure Yourself,

Richard Carlson

Benicia, CA

October, 2000

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