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.
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WISH WONDER WOMAN GOODBYE
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 stressedout 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 goodbyeand 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 fulltime was a lot of fun, even if it meant less moneyand 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 stressedout and made miserable by your jobwell, 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 occurbringing babies home from the hospital, having ill parents, or tending a sick child, for instancewe 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 stressedout 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 youyou'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 requestunless, 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 selfimposed expectations. Whether you're a stayathome, fulltime 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 homebased 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 perfectand that Wonder Woman is merely a figment of someone else's imagination.
Table of Contents
|1.||Wish Wonder Woman Goodbye||5|
|2.||Get Off to a Peaceful Start||9|
|3.||Don't Get Over-Committee-d||12|
|4.||Cut Your Friends Some Slack||14|
|5.||Bust Your Boredom Blues||17|
|6.||Stop Comparing Yourself to the Media Measuring Stick||20|
|7.||Clarify with the Question: "Are You Asking for My Opinion, or Should I Just Listen?"||22|
|8.||Make Peace with the Mundane||24|
|9.||Get Down and Dirty||26|
|10.||Don't Go There with the "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda" Sisters||28|
|11.||Save Your Pot-Stirring for Cooking Dinner||30|
|12.||Speak from Your Love||32|
|13.||Listen from Your Love||35|
|14.||Look in the Mirror||37|
|15.||Go with the Twists and Turns||39|
|16.||Have a Bosom Buddy||41|
|17.||Create Memories for Your Children||43|
|20.||Perhaps It's Not Personal||50|
|21.||Don't Let the Members of Your Family Dodge Your Draft||52|
|23.||Find Your Gifts and Share Them||56|
|24.||Take Time for Your Self||59|
|25.||Let Out Your Steam Lightly||61|
|26.||Accept Compliments with "Thank You"||64|
|28.||Protect Your Inner Flame||68|
|29.||Understand the Difference Between Intuition and Fear||71|
|30.||Set Clear Boundaries||74|
|31.||Let Go of Your "Perfect" Plans||77|
|32.||Don't Let Self-Doubt Stand in Your Way||80|
|33.||Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness||82|
|36.||Lower Your Threshold||89|
|37.||Let Your Children Grow Into Their Own Shoes||91|
|38.||Write a Letter and Find Out Where You Stand||94|
|39.||Gather and Let Go||96|
|40.||Stop Swimming Upstream||98|
|41.||Don't Be a Backseat Driver||100|
|42.||Create Beauty from the Inside Out||102|
|43.||My Way Is Not the Way--It's Just My Way||105|
|44.||Stop Magnifying the Flaws||107|
|45.||Celebrate Our Ability to Give Birth||109|
|46.||Learn to Meditate and Quiet Your Mind||111|
|47.||Go Ahead and Vent (One Time), but Get It Off Your Chest||113|
|48.||Set Your Own Priorities||115|
|49.||Don't Trip on Your Excess Baggage||118|
|50.||Packing Light and Traveling Right||121|
|51.||Get Off Your Hamster Wheel||125|
|52.||Use Your Career for Your Spiritual Work||128|
|53.||Know When Your Ego Is Getting the Best of You||131|
|54.||Stay Open to Meeting a New Friend||133|
|56.||Consider That He May Not Have the "Eye" for It||138|
|57.||Go Inside for the Answers||141|
|58.||Dress from the Inside Out||144|
|59.||Use Symbols to Remind You of Your Spirit||146|
|60.||Remain Calm and Make the Best of a Bad Situation||148|
|61.||Rise Above the Rut of Your Routine||150|
|62.||Be Grateful for Small Things||152|
|63.||Honor Your Mother||155|
|64.||Celebrate Being Single!||157|
|65.||Find Your Own Way||161|
|66.||Allow Enthusiasm to Bubble Up from You||163|
|67.||Share the "Nice" Stories||165|
|68.||Say "No, but Thanks for Asking" (Without Feeling Guilty)||168|
|69.||Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You'll Need||171|
|70.||Go with the Girls||173|
|71.||Don't Become Over-Identified in Any Role||175|
|72.||Defuse the Thought Explosion!||178|
|73.||When All Else Fails, Laugh||181|
|74.||Plan an Inspiration Flow Day||183|
|75.||Gripe to the One You've Got the Gripe with||185|
|76.||Spice Up Your Sexy Side||189|
|77.||Be 99 Percent Gossip-Free||193|
|78.||Have a Backup Day Care Plan||195|
|79.||Don't Weigh Every Day||198|
|80.||Merge the Spiritual and Material Worlds||200|
|81.||Know When to Turn Off Your Technology Booby Traps||204|
|82.||Don't Let Your Anger Get the Best of You||207|
|83.||Seize Your Opportunities||210|
|84.||Widen Your Scope and Get Some Perspective||212|
|85.||Renegotiate Your Boundaries||215|
|86.||Don't Fight Fire with Fire--Unless It's a Controlled Burn||219|
|87.||When Trying to Simplify, Think Prevention||221|
|88.||Say the Words, "Hey, That's a Great Idea!" (and Then Act On It)||223|
|89.||Don't Take It All So Seriously||226|
|90.||Fancy Your Femininity||229|
|91.||Know Your Hot Spots||231|
|92.||Walk Through the Open Doors||234|
|93.||Own Your Emotions||236|
|94.||Remind Yourself What It Means to Be a Human "Being"||239|
|95.||Find Your Compassion Corner||242|
|96.||Remember That a Low Mood Is Only Temporary||245|
|97.||Climb Your Mountains One Step at a Time||248|
|98.||Define Your Small Stuff||250|
|99.||Be Able to Stand on Your Own Two Feet||253|
|100.||Treasure the Journey||256|
|Suggested Reading List||261|
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 facebut 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 herselfa 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 knowand have knownin every page. The advice is applicable to all womenyoung 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 humannone of us are exempt. Yet, there's no question that women are absolutely different from mendifferent 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 peoplemen and womenwill 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.
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