Author Kristin Carlson, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms"
What she does: For 25 years, Carlson was married to “Don’t Sweat” author and leadership expert Richard Carlson, who died suddenly in December 2006. “He was on an airplane bound for home in California when he had pulmonary embolism. I’ll never forget getting that call with the news. In the beginning, I thought I would be in deep grief forever. But now I know differently. Richard had such an extraordinary way of seeing the world, and an extraordinary way of expressing it. In some ways, he’s still here.”
Why she does it: “My goal with this newest book is to give mothers tried-and-true advice that will empower them to find greater peace, joy, and harmony within themselves and their homes,” says Carlson, who with Richard has published nearly 40 books in the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series.
Author Kristine Carlson Helps Us Celebrate Mother’s Day With “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms”
As soon as “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms” hit bookstores, it got some high-powered endorsements from spiritual mom Marianne Williamson.
“Kris Carlson extends the ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ series with much-needed advice for mothers, writing with an understanding heart and penetrating wisdom born of her own experience,” says Williamson, author of A Return to Love. “Like her late husband Richard, hers is a gentle soul backed by a powerful and transcendent fire.”
Like most women, even those with an incredible track record, Carlson questioned her ability to accomplish this feat.
“When I was asked to continue the popular Don’t Sweat series with a book for moms, I felt honored and unsure at the same time,” Carlson says. “It would be the first book to be added since the death of my husband Richard, and it made me incredibly sad to think he wouldn’t be here to celebrate this addition.”
Carlson says she also questioned how she could write a book summarizing what it has taken her a lifetime to learn.
“The idea of creating a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms is truly a paradox because we moms seem to naturally sweat every detail every day for our families,” she admits. “We are logistics managers, the chief executive decision-makers of our homes; as well as the nurses, chefs, coaches, and guidance counselors. And, many of us do all of this alongside a full- or part-time career, while being married or single—each of those statuses bringing with it its own challenges.”
“It’s no small task being a mom today,” Carlson realizes.
“Both of my girls are out of the nest; Kenna is finishing her freshman year, and Jasmine will give birth to her second son this summer, so that makes me a grandmother, too,” Carlson explains. “They were 14 and 17 when Richard passed away suddenly, and going through that was in itself quite a journey.”
Read her insights in her 2010 book, Heartbroken Open.
“Having been a mom for 22 years, and as I worked through this book, I found that the time-tested and proven methods of getting through life as a mom with grace, confidence, and an empowered attitude still work,” she shares. “Admittedly, as I wrote, feelings of fear and even regret arose—how I wish I had baked more cookies and cooked more family dinners; that I’d had more patience and been a better listener.
“I acknowledge that I am not, even now, the quintessential mother who has done a ‘perfect’ job. I am, however, a woman who has evaluated many of the things that I have done right, and those that I could have done differently. But when I look at my girls today, and see the caring, loving, strong women that they are, I realize that I got most of the small stuff and the big stuff right.”
Being a mom is a big job, with small and memorable moments calling on our patience and building our character every day, Carlson says.
“The truth is that it’s all pretty overwhelming and daunting, especially when you are first starting out,” she knows. “But motherhood is like any journey you take: It happens in small steps, one right after the other. As the mothers of this world become more joy-filled, the heart of each home will be full of love and kindness, and the ripple effect of that will be simply astounding.”
CELEBRATING MOTHERHOOD: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Following are three excerpts from Kristine Carlon’s new book, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff for Moms.
1. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” mom. “Just for a moment, take this in fully, and say to yourself: ‘I don’t have to be the perfect mother.’ How many times have you carried the burden of thinking you have to live up to some ideal, fairy-tale image of a good mother? One who is relentlessly kind, patient, wise, nurturing, good-tempered, inexhaustibly energetic, a fine cook and homemaker, a multi-tasker—that person few of us have ever actually met who can do it all? That’s not to say that, as mothers, we shouldn’t strive to be the best examples for our children that we can be, but we do them a disservice when we hide our mistakes, don’t allow them to see our flaws, or don’t apologize when we have been wrong. We need them to see the world as multidimensional, and that means the people in it, as well. So give yourself permission to be authentic and to express yourself completely as a mom. When you do, you relieve not only your own stress to live up to impossible standards, but you help your kids see that they don’t have to be perfect, either.”
2. The guilt-free working mom. “When you have a job or career outside the home that you are passionate about, and you have children who mean more to you than life itself, your life is filled with conflicting impulses that can leave you feeling fragmented and guilty. We’ve all read the studies that remind us there are long-term benefits for children of working moms. We also know there are just as many benefits for children whose mothers stay at home. How you spend your hours—with or away from your children—should never be tagged with guilt or judgment on the part of others. Let’s all agree to put an end to those Mommy Wars. Remind yourself: ‘The kids are all right’ (really)—and so are you.”
3. It’s the small things that count. “One of the things that gets lost in the busyness of life is our ability to take a step back and just look into each other’s eyes and send love. How simple it is to spend a moment acknowledging the people around us, in the supermarket, in line at the coffee shop or at the bank, and offer an open smile. Not long ago I offered a passenger sitting beside me on an airplane half my sandwich. A woman at a gas station approached me because she had forgotten her wallet and needed enough gas to get home; I added five dollars to her tank without a thought. A man who saw this exchange turned to me and said, ‘That’s about the kindest thing I’ve ever seen.’ The truth is that it just feels good to be kind. Kindness is contagious, and you never know what a great impact a single act of kindness can have. Our children look at us, and it is the behavior we model that they remember and imitate. By your own actions, help them understand that if you really do treat others the way you would want to be treated, then, like a spiral, your blessings will be abundant. What goes around comes around—again, and again.”
For more information about Kristine Carlson, visit www.kristinecarlson.com.
Click here to buy Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff for Moms.