*Disclaimer- I received this book in exchange for an honest review- all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links to help you find where to purchase this book*
I know it’s a Holiday, but I still wanted to do a #MommyMonday post. This month I’m combining my Book Review with a Mommy Monday post. Because, as moms, when we actually have the time to sit down and read a book (or stand at the counter and stir dinner while reading, or hide in the bathroom and read a book…) we want to make sure it’s a good one.
Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall is definitely a good one!
After reading this book, it’s like Alexandra was reading my mind. I’m going to call her Alex from now on, because she is my new BFF.
As mothers, we are so very overwhelmed by the every day grind, our endless tasks, and demands of these tiny people we created, that we forget to enjoy this wonderful life that we are blessed to be living. Alex was feeling the same way- so she underwent a 9 month experiment to learn how to love her actual life, and she invites us to join her on her journey.
Each chapter is broken up by month, and she shares her thoughts daily on how the experiment is going. She gives us practical tips and tricks and monthly goals that we can put into practice. She breaks it up a little at a time, so we’re not jumping in headfirst and we can actually achieve these goals.
The first month was one I really needed to apply to my own life. To take the time each day to add some quiet. To stop and breathe. To really appreciate the small things, my surroundings, my abundance of blessings. I have been beyond stressed lately, overwhelmed by a strong willed 4 year old. So, I knew that this chapter would be especially beneficial to me. But, as a mom, adding intentional alone time to my day was not going to be easy. As Alex says, “This is part of the myth of motherhood, that a mother must be always accessible to her children.” She says this later in the book, but I know it applies in this space as well. We NEED quiet. We need to set our phones down, power off our laptops, and to inject some peace into our overly stimulating days. I started simple. Each night while my Husband plays with our son or gives him a bath, I step outside and water my plants. The sun is setting the birds are chirping and the neighborhood is quiet. I am still doing a task, but it’s a relaxing one. I can ponder my day, remind myself of what I’m thankful for, or just take a few minutes to look around at this beautiful world God has created for us. Just taking the time to listen to the birds, to actually notice the sunset, to breathe in the warm Spring air, has made a huge difference in my stress level. My blood pressure surely thanks me.
The second month, she urges us to change up our morning routines. Mornings are some peoples’ most hectic time of day, so she shares her tips on how to make them run more smoothly so that we can set up our entire day to be successful. I will return to this chapter once my little one enters school.
The third month is all about spending intentional time with our loved ones. Actually following through with our plans. Coffee dates or long lunches. Time spent with the ones we love, because we never know if we’re going to have them around forever. Day 18 of this experiment describes me to a “T”. “The truth is, it’s easier for me to hole up and communicate with the outside world through my various screens. But texts and Instagram posts can’t replace the nitty-gritty of real people.” This is so me- but it’s also a part of what’s wrong with the world today. We need face-to-face, real life interaction.
The 5th month was another favorite- basically it’s about finding every day adventures around you. “Breaking up the established routine reminds me that I can keep growing, learning, and changing. And it helps me appreciate all the good right in front of me that goes unnoticed.” This is one idea that I subscribe too. Our little family often goes on little adventures, and we are always better for it. More relaxed, in better moods. It’s a quick way to de-stress and cure our wanderlust.
I’m not going to share the entire book with you- but I will urge you to pick it up and read it for yourself. It’s one of these books that DO actually help. The kind that you feel like a better person after reading it. And, we all know we can all use a little motivation and kick in the butt every now and again. Now I’m off to put some of her organizational tips into practice!
And hey- if you’re following along with this year’s Advanced Reading Challenge, this book can check off your “Book for a Better You” category!