Amy Morin took the Internet by storm when she published an article, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. As a therapist, a professor and author, she aims to improve the lives of people of all backgrounds, and she’s caught many people’s attention.
Upon a suggestion from my goodreads.com account, and her very high ratings on the website, I decided her book 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do was a must read.
Morin starts the book off by disclaiming there are enough articles/books telling women how they ought to do things and how they ought to behave and how they ought to think. Morin focuses on what they don’t do. In this approach, Morin focuses on female change-makers and draws their strengths and shares them with her readers. Amen. (Disclaimer: she does provide suggestions for “what do to instead,” which is helpful if you’re planning to put her advice to action.)
In a world where many moms are filled with guilt, shame, and just not feeling “enough,” this book is a must-read for moms wanting to grow personally from the effects of social and personal expectations. It equips moms/women in general with many tools that are helpful in gaining the mental strength needed to be the best versions of ourselves.
This is Why I Recommend Moms Read Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do:
Format: Morin has created an overall easy-to-read manual for women with the aim of equipping women with the tools needed for self-betterment. Each chapter alludes to an experience with one of her former clients (making it more relatable to readers), and then talks about what not to do and what to do instead. Each of her chapters is neatly summarized at the end for more clarity. While her book is used in classroom settings, she doesn’t stray away from making her book accessible to her “women” audience. Morin does not over simplify her advice, instead she takes the time to clearly define what works and what to look out for. If she uses psychological terminology, she explains it in a way that’s easy to understand. Many of the examples she uses are cited on a personal level (her clients) and demonstrated on a scalable level (research and studies) to back her claims.
Content: It’s impossible to say that everyone will have the same underlying knowledge when approaching this book. We are all shaped by varying opinions and varying backgrounds/experiences. I have done research on the lives and roles of women during my undergraduate degree, and some of the concepts presented in the book were not entirely new to me: expectations of women, the glass ceiling, how women perceive themselves and how society perceives them. It is my opinion that the book provides foundational knowledge about the experience of women. To some this will be overlap, but to others, it will be introductory. Even though some of the topics were familiar to me, her approach to the subject was invaluable; her arguments were strengthened by her use of current studies and proof to demonstrate her findings.
Takeaways: The angle Morin takes as a therapist is beneficial for the average reader because Amy has really solid advice for how to personally overcome some of the challenges women are confronted with. When personal changes happen, strong women are able to make more profound changes in their communities, families, and politically. While her book is aimed at the general population of women, and not just moms, I find many of her 13 Principles to be applicable as a parent. We as mom’s often feel like we’re under a microscope and we are constantly being critiqued for who we are and how we do things (not just by others, but ourselves, too).
For example, in one of her chapters Morin discusses how prevalent perfectionism is and how being a perfectionist sets us up for a life of disappointment. Being a perfectionist makes us feel like we’re never doing enough, and oftentimes makes us want to stop trying. Morin demonstrates how oftentimes parenting styles encourage perfectionism by praising good grades instead of good effort (for more information about this, look up Parenting with a Growth Mindset), making kids believe they are either good or bad, and if they’re bad there’s no point on trying. If more kids are praised for their effort, kids will learn that to do better, they have to put in a good effort.
There are many other topics (12 to be exact!) presented in her book like relationships, self-worth, vulnerability, change amongst many other concepts.
Altogether, this book will take a high position on my “female literature” shelf. While Morin’s book might not be revolutionary, it does an excellent job explaining common traps women fall in to, and with her book she’s basically throwing us a rope to help us climb out.