Have you heard of this month’s book? A book that everyone claims is a “must” read? A book that seems to pop up in conversations and social media constantly? One that is so popular that you are 84th on the library wait list (this happened to one of our readers)?
Oh, so you have heard of this book – Girl, Wash Your Face! by Rachel Hollis. I would love to tell you that it was not worth the hype, but I cannot. This book is everything it promises to be and more — part memoir, part self-help, part feminism, and part religious — all in one enjoyable, enlightening read.
Who is Rachel Hollis? She is the CEO and founder of Chic Media, a site with premium digital content on all aspects of women and their lives. She also is an author, motivational speaker, wife, and mother. As her bio states in the book, “motivational, inspirational, and always approachable, Rachel’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude is a refreshing approach that allows her to authentically connect with millions of women around the world.”
In this book, Rachel gives us 20 “lies” that women tell themselves. In each lie, she shares her own experience with this and what she has or continues to do to combat the lie in her life. Not every chapter is a success, and she never promises to have all the answers, but she does provide some tips to changing one’s mindset and actions to help combat the lies and to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Some of our favorite “lies” were:
– I’m Not A Good Mom:
We can all relate to this, and Samantha from our book club said this chapter really hit her. We spend so much time trying to be the best, despite the fact that the best mom is not a one-size-fits-all description. In a world of Pinterest and social media, it often feels like we are not measuring up. Rachel seems to have it all herself, and she even writes about how “no matter what I do or create or volunteer for, some mystical ‘other mom’ at school has done it better” (p.92). The very next page has the best advice from Rachel in this chapter:
“Mom, you should parent in whatever way works for your family and spend less time worrying about other people’s perception of how you’re doing. Can we stop being so hard on ourselves and instead focus on the good work we are doing, the results of which are evident in the awesome little people we’re raising?”
– Other People’s Kids Are So Much Cleaner/Better/Organized/More Polite:
Insert any description in there, and we all can feel this. We walk into another mom’s house and can find all the things better than ours; their kids are better behaved; their routines and lives are more organized.
And you know what? That same mom is thinking the same things about your house, your kids, and your life. It is much easier to look at something else as better than to embrace what is around us.
Jen liked Rachel’s words on page 114, “so I am not going to talk about finding your peace; I’m going to talk about embracing your chaos.” As Jen pointed out, Rachel is advising you to live in the chaos because it is your chaos. There may be someone who wishes for a kid who can make anything into a fun game or a mother who longs for her child to be an energetic toddler again. Everything is a season in life, and this season may be more of a hurricane than a light breeze. Embrace it.
– I Am Defined By My Weight:
This chapter had my name written all over it, and I was not alone. I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember, even more so after each childbirth. Somewhere along my life, I tied body image and worth as one. This is so wrong because I am more than a number on a scale or a pants size. I have talent, education, skills, personality…and none of these are defined by my weight. Easier written than done, but these were words I needed to read.
That being said, Rachel does point out that we need to be healthy. Healthy means being able to play with your kids or to walk up the stairs without any breathing difficulty. It means you need to enjoy life but also eat well, drink plenty of water, move around everyday, and give yourself a healthy body to live your life. Nothing drastic, just small steps.
You are not defined by your weight, but you are defined by the life your live and how you choose to live it!
– Something Else Will Make Me Happy:
Do you feel like you are just moving through life? I often wonder if I am just checking things off a list or waiting to get through something hard to something better. Think of parenting: we tell ourselves to get through the infant/not sleeping phase, then the terrible twos, then the even more terrible threes, potty training, school, puberty, teenagers…pretty soon, it has all passed.
Did we enjoy it? Or did we just ride each stage out, hoping for something better or happier?
Rachel points out that life is meant to be lived, not just survived. This means that you have to find happiness now. There will always be times or phases that are overwhelming and difficult, but you need to find your joy. You – not someone else or something else. Your happiness can be as simple as a quiet cup of coffee or that dream trip you have saved for. It can be watching your child reach a difficult milestone or trying a career you have aspired for.
Big or small, it is on you. No one is going to give you that happiness if you do not reach for it yourself.
“Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday” (p.8).
This book is not just a self-help guide or a book of platitudes. It is an honest conversation with Rachel Hollis, who is as relatable as she sounds. She does not pretend to know everything or have all the right answers. Instead, she wants to give you some hope and maybe some direction in changing your mindset and your perceptions.
Our club loved this book and its main words of wisdom. Be honest with our lives and with our humanity; accept our faults and failures; and embrace your life or change what you can to live with happiness.
Join us next month as we read The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll!