Book Review: How To Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids

It’s pretty rare these days to see someone on an NYC subway car reading an actual book. Most people are on phones or, if they are reading, are on an e-reader. So it was surprising to notice a woman standing over me reading an actual ink-on-paper book. It was even more surprising to see the bright yellow cover with its title How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids. I was so intrigued I immediately bought a copy.

I am glad I did. Let me say at the outset that I dislike most parenting books. (A noteworthy exception was How to Be a Happier Parent by KJ Dell’Antonio which I wrote about here.) 

I’m not going to rehash the whole book — I highly recommend you buy and read it! It’s short! — but I do want to highlight three key pieces of advice that I found both helpful and validating. 

Take care of yourself. Yeah, yeah, I know. Easier said than done. But author Carla Naumburg makes a compelling case that the reason you lose your … you know … is because you are tired, you are doing too much, you are overwhelmed and you don’t have enough help. And yes, it was this exact idea, years ago, that prompted me to write my most popular Forbes column of all time

Lower your expectations. Of course I mean this when it comes to housework, as I’ve written. But lower ALL your expectations. Having completely unrealistic expectations that are perpetually unmet are a recipe for misery. With kids it’s easy to blame them when they don’t meet our ridiculous expectations. For a sweeter story about lowering your expectations, very, very low, read this.

Spend less time with our children. Even typing that sentence felt subversive! It’s so … counter to the hyperparenting ethos so many of us find ourselves in the middle of. I remember an interview with Jennifer Garner where she remarked that her kids often complain that she doesn’t play with them but she doesn’t remember her mother EVER playing with her. I read that and thought “Yes! My mother’s favorite sentence was ‘Go play!’ which my sister and I knew really meant ‘Go away!’” Sometimes you need to get away from your kids. And, if you need something that will assuage any guilt you have, or anticipate, if you start spending less time with your darlings, read this.

By the way, this book could just as easily be titled How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with {Fill in the Blank} because it does a really good job explaining why we often struggle with all the relationships in our lives — professional and personal.