Books,  MidLife

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Wash Your Face

by Rachel Hollis

Published by: Thomas Nelson

Copyright: 2018

Amazon’s Summary:

Do you ever suspect that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t have a clue? If so, Rachel Hollis has something to tell you: that’s a lie.

As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.

With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.

With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up.

My Review:

This book is sweeping America among the 20-somethings and 30-somethings female demographic. My daughter highly recommended it, and I’ve noticed several former students tout its praise on social media.

I am a self-help bookaholic. I devour them like candy. But I was skeptical whether this book would be of value to me. After all, I am way outside the target audience.

Let me say… I listened to the audio version while walking on the treadmill. I am normally not an audiobook fan, but I fully enjoyed listening to the author’s narration. She has a conversational voice that made me feel as if she were sitting in the room with me.

I found myself nodding in agreement during several of the early chapters. Many times I wished I had this valuable resource when I was a young mother trying to juggle the various roles in life. However, it wasn’t until I listened to chapter nine that I took notice of its value in my current midlife phase.

The Lie: I Don’t Know How to be a Good Mom

I’m pretty sure I uttered these words at least once a week during the 25-year-span of my mommy years. And perhaps my three children wondered the same on occasion.

The author discussed being a successful entrepreneur in a community of SAHMs. She spoke of her children noticing her chic-business wardrobe did not resemble the casual yoga fashion of other mothers. She confessed her lackadaisical interest in organized sports and her disdain for chaperoning field trips.

She was different from “all” the other moms. And it was easy to believe they were “good” moms and she was bad.

It was at this point in the book I realized the author was speaking to present-day Molly and not just Mommy-Molly.

The Lie: I Don’t Know How to be a Good Grandma

When my eldest informed us she was expecting, I did not react with joyful enthusiasm. I was still in the middle of caring for my ill mother and seeing my youngest through her final year of high school. I thought once I entered the empty-nest phase of life, I would have some time to myself before assuming the role of grandmother. I wasn’t ready to be that old.

Well-meaning friends encouraged me. There is nothing like being a grandmother, you’ll see. Those babies will melt your heart.

The melting was not instantaneous. I am not a baby person. I never have been. I much prefer the toddler years when they can begin to communicate and each day reveals a new level of learning.

My blood pressure spikes when babies cry. If I cannot soothe them in a relatively short period of time, I assume I am doing something wrong. I feel inept which contributes to the stress.

In addition, I need a full night’s sleep. I am not a patient person, but with little sleep, I am most unpleasant. Anger replaces impatience and I do not like the person I become.

In contrast, my good friend epitomizes the ideal grandma. She offered to watch all eight of grandchildren when their moms had to return to work. She did this selflessly and without pay. Often the babies would sleep overnight, giving the parents a much-needed break. Now that the grandbabies are older, she attends every sporting activity and school event. She adores being an integral part of their lives.

I am exhausted just listening to her schedule. I am overwhelmed when I keep the children longer than four hours. This introvert can only handle a couple of large sporting events a year. Compared to my friend (and in my mind… the world) I am not a good grandma.

But the author’s words soon soothed these negative thoughts:

  • You should (grand)parent in whatever way works for your family (and yourself) and spend less time worrying about other people’s perceptions of how you’re doing.
  • You only have to care. Not only about them, but also about yourself. You cannot properly take care of your (grand)children or teach them to be whole or happy people if you are miserable and harsh with yourself.
  • You have to choose not to compare. Don’t compare your family to other families or yourself to other women.
  • None of us are exactly like the other, and that is a good thing because there’s no right way to be. The room mom, the working mother, the woman without children, the retired grandma, the mom who co-sleeps, the mama who bottle-fed her baby, the strict mom, the hipster mom, the one who lets her kid go shoeless, or the one who enrolls her baby in music enrichment classes at birth—whoever, whatever you are, you’re adding spice and texture and nuance into this big beautiful soup of modern-day (grand)parenting.

I may not enjoy rocking infants for hours on end, but I do enjoy baking cookies with them when they are old enough to decorate the tops with colorful candies.

I may not invite them for a sleepover, but I do enjoy taking them on field trips to the museum, the arboretum, and the zoo.

I may not attend every sporting event or extra-curricular activity, but when I’m there I am fully present.

I may not be a dependable daycare provider, but the four hours we spend together are filled with tea parties, craft projects, and total unconditional love.

Grandparenting is not a competitive sport. I need to stop striving, start accepting myself, and enjoy the fleeting moments with these precious souls.

19 Comments

  • Michele

    Several people have recommended this book to me and I am way outside of her demographic also. It just came in the mail today but I haven’t started it yet. I, too worry about not being a good grandma. I am not a grandmother yet, but I am also not dying to be one. I can take or leave babies, but I don’t get all gaga over them either. On the other hand, I can’t wait to decorate Christmas cookies with them and take them to plays with me. I would love to take them on vacations and show them the world. Maybe I will be okay at it after all! Thanks for your thought provoking post! I am sharing on SM. #MLSTL

    • Molly Totoro

      I’d love to hear your review of the book, Michele! And I’m sure you will be a GREAT grandma. Who wouldn’t enjoy going to the theater 🙂 And I have great plans of traveling with my grandchildren as well. Paris is first on the list!

  • Kim

    I’ve heard about this book many times, as well, and also thought I was outside the demographic where it would apply to me. I’m starting to re-think this notion! You and I are a lot alike where lack of sleep is concerned-I swear I’m like Jekyll & Hyde! You do you as a grandma and I’m sure your grandchildren will love you just the way you are! 🙂 #MLSTL

    • Molly Totoro

      Jekyll and Hyde – that is an apt description, Kim 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. If you decide to read the book, I’d love to hear what you think.

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    Through the lovely ladies of my blogging community, life you, Molly I have discovered self-help books. This book sounds like it could relate to any age. As for being a grandmother, I love it and probably because my own mother passed away over 32 years ago, my children never had grandparents. However, as I’ve written before we are all unique and a killer to self-belief is trying to compare ourselves to others. We all love our grandchildren in different ways. Thank you for sharing your review at #MLSTL and I look forward to reading your contribution for next week. Have a lovely day, Molly! xx

  • Janet Mary Cobb

    Molly – another great post. So glad you found the book helpful. As others have mentioned, I’m outside the age demographic, and I don’t have grandchildren – but I also think I don’t struggle with a fear that I won’t be a ‘good one’. I KNOW I made mistakes as a mother but I also know I did my best and LOVE my children. I think that is what matters most. When it comes time to be a grandma – letting them know they are loved matters. My mother (who had 31 grandchildren) – and who passed in March – was remembered most for making great toast and sending a $5 bill in a birthday card each year. How simple is that?

    • Molly Totoro

      Great toast and $5 bill – I absolutely LOVE that, Janet! My husband’s mother was famous for her “airplane” toast … cinnamon toast cut into a festive shape. Thank you for putting this into proper perspective 🙂

  • Pat

    Molly, Oh the infamous Compare & Despair! I was doing it myself yesterday…not about being a grandma (never will be, didn’t do the necessary step for it … no kids!). Of course, that in itself is a Compare & Despair now with so many of my retired women friends basking in the joy of their grandkids. But the C&D was in general about doing retirement wrong, or at least badly. LOL. I’d be curious as to the other myths in the book… perhaps I’ll pick it up as well, although I am definitely not target audience at all!

    • Molly Totoro

      Compare and Despair – I haven’t heard it put that way, but I like it!
      I still think I’m doing retirement badly (probably why I continue to return to the classroom every other year) but I’m starting to accept the fact that it doesn’t have to look the same everybody (how boring would that be?!)

  • Victoria

    This sounds like something I need to read if for no other reason the grandmothering part. My stepdaughter made the announcement when she got pregnant the first time that she wanted her children to have the same experience with us as grandparents as she had with hers. I don’t like babies, reading to someone or doing crafts. I like to cook and bake I like to shop and I like to give treats. It has all worked out mostly. lol

    • Molly Totoro

      There are times when I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t like the baby phase. I’m SO glad to hear I am not alone 🙂 Cooking, baking, shopping and giving treats sounds like an ideal grandma to me!

  • Christie Hawkes

    Thanks for sharing this book, Molly, and for your honest, vulnerable feelings about grandparenting. I am one of those that took to being a grandmother right away. The tiny babies truly melted my heart. Even still, I suffer the guilt complex of not being good enough. We have 10 grandchildren now, and I have a demanding full-time job and my own extracurricular activities. There is no way I am going to all of their sporting events or school activities. When I see that other family members are there every time, I do feel that tug of guilt. But my grandchildren love me and I love them. That much I know for sure.

    • Molly Totoro

      You are a busy grandma, Christie, that is for sure! But what a wonderful example you are setting for those little ones. The world is indeed their oyster with no ceiling with regards to sex, age, race, or any other demographic. And I know you are modeling that loving self is paramount to loving others 🙂

  • Kay

    Molly, I’m so very glad that you shared this book. I’ve seen it on my library’s Hoopla audiobook list, but I also thought it was for younger women. It seems like one that would speak to me and my issues very well regardless of my age. Right now, I’m listening (or re-listening) to a book called BE HAPPY WITHOUT BEING PERFECT. It’s probably my 4th time of ‘reading’ it. I found it years ago when my parents were ill and I felt so very overwhelmed with work and parent care and decision-making. Anyway, lately, I’ve had a little relapse in my anxiety levels and decided to visit the book again just as a refresher. I’m thinking that I’ll listen to GIRL WASH YOUR FACE next month perhaps (I’ve already used all my Hoopla quota for September). It seems very popular because my library hold list for the audio is 240+. Ha! As to your feelings about being a mother and grandmother, I do understand and have had those myself. I am not a grandmother and don’t know if I will ever be one. However, there are certain aspects that worry me. Guess we’ll see how it all plays out. Love the pictures – what a great one with you and that little newborn. The look on your face is beautiful!

    • Molly Totoro

      Well, guess what book I am putting at the top of my TBR list 🙂 This sounds fabulous! I’m so sorry you are having anxious feelings – but it sounds as though you are taking healthy steps toward nipping those negative emotions in the bud!

  • Leslie Clingan

    How would you feel about moving to El Paso and being my friend in real life? I can relate to what you say in all of your posts. I have this book on my Nook waiting to be read. Need to quick wind up some other books and get to this one. Your review has me certain that I will take away much from Girl, Wash Your Face.

    • Molly Totoro

      Leslie… I am a fellow Texan! I was born and raised in Houston until I was twelve. Then we moved to the East Coast…
      I actually have the book on Kindle (purchased during the Prime Day sale) but ended up listening to it via the Libby app. I would LOVE to hear your review after you’ve had a chance to read and digest!

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