“This is a strange book. On one hand, there is a whole “insider language” of SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) that was a bit unsettling to those outside of that demographic. On the other hand, it is gives sound advice to all sort of people (it is directed at women, but could apply to anyone) who don’t realize that the reason they are overwhelmed by the care of others is that they are not taking basic care of themselves.
I skimmed this recently, and found that when you are up-and-at-‘em and running along fine, this all reads as so obvious as to be a bit cloying. But I remember that when I first read this, when I was overwhelmed by the banal tasks before me, this book was a godsend from a guru. In the field of self-help, Ms. Cilley has a rare gift: She does not tell you how your life 'should be'... she charitably remembers what is was like to go from point A to point B, and is able to be honestly, albeit sometimes relentlessly, optimistic as she cheerleads you along each little baby-step from here to there. Specific instructions on how to plan to wash and moisturize your face before you tackle the day may seem simplistic in retrospect, but it is certainly more concrete and valuable than the typical banal self-help generality that you should ‘just think positive’ (because if you had it together enough to ‘think positive’ in the first place, why do you need the d*mn book?) Common sense is not always so common, and while the girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone of this is sometimes odd… it can be the wake-up call you need when you are at that point that you are not even taking the time to put on your big-girl shoes before you race out the door to try to save the world.
I would compare this book to the safety speech airlines give at take-off: “put on your own air mask before assisting others.” Most of the time, you know that logically, and the speech seems to be a waste of time… but sometimes, in the panic induced by the gasping around you, you need to hear that message in a calm, but firm, voice. Ms. Cilley has just that sort of voice.”