We can also look for small ways to unwind throughout the day. The biggest one that I walked away with, which has been life-changing, is that first thing in the morning, I spend three to five minutes doing deep breathing. On each exhale, I say the word "calm." The woman who recommended this to me is a yoga instructor. To start each day by centering yourself makes an enormous difference.
What were some of the other "confessions" from working moms that you heard?
Many women feel guilty or worried about their families when they go on business travel, but there's also a delight in getting to stay in a hotel room and to take care of your own needs without anybody screaming, "Mom!" across the house. That's pretty joyful.
Is that where the title of the book comes from?
There's the idea that we're all supposed to groan when Monday comes around, but for many of us working moms, we're excited to go back to work and use our brains.
A lot of the mothers you interviewed also seemed to be really struggling to juggle both of their roles.
Yes—if you are leaving early or skipping lunch hour, you feel terrible. You worry about it hurting your professional life and whether you can advance. We like socializing, but we also like getting home to our family. On the flip side, if you go home early to get to your kid, you worry about whether you're leaving other staff with your burden and whether it will catch up to you.
To help deal with that, you recommend that women stop apologizing so much, both at home and at work.
Apologizing is a default setting. When we're in an uncomfortable situation, we hope it will smooth things over. But what are we apologizing for? Did we actually do something wrong? If not, what message are we sending, especially to our kids?
You also recommend against projecting sadness onto children.
That happens a lot—we feel torn or sad about missing an important event, or we call home from a business trip and talk to a child who is doing fine. Talking about how sad you are makes things worse; instead, we can talk to friends or a spouse.
For women that are sad about missing a milestone, whether it's the first rollover or walking, we can be sad about that, but we also have to remember that we were there for the entire journey of getting them to that place. We coached them on it, boosted their spirits, held their hands—instead of beating ourselves up that we couldn't get there in the moment, we can celebrate that we really helped them get to it in the first place.