I hesitate to start a ‘What I’ve Read’ category because I’m worried about setting expectations I can’t keep. If you could see my bookshelf, you’d know that it’s heavy on the ‘to-read’ books and embarrassingly light in the ‘have read’ category. Then again, the optimist in me wonders if starting this category will nudge me to rekindle my love of settling in with a good book. Today optimism wins, and I’m jumping in with both feet.

First up is a book I finished a month or so ago. One of the best perks of working on Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City this year was the opportunity to meet new people. Becky Blades tops that list. I was lucky enough to nab my copy of Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone at her book launch. Talk about a party; there was live music from Gracie Schram, champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries and cool displays that moved along the walls.

Meeting author Becky Blades at the ‘Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone’ book launch. Picture from laundryordie.com.

I took the book home and it sat for a bit, but I slipped it into my overnight bag before leaving for a Girl Scout overnight at the Kansas City Zoo. Good thing, too, because I couldn’t sleep that night (freezing concrete floors are too much for my old bones). Instead, I read Becky’s book.

I appreciate the candor of her advice; it’s real but still classy, kind of like Becky herself. I love the original artwork, also done by Becky. I like that it’s a light, easy read. I think what I likemost, though, is that her personality shines through the advice she shares. Page 83, for example: #160: Move Your Body. Exercise makes everything better. #161: Still Your Mind. Meditation makes everything better. #162: Fasten Your Seat Belt. Being alive makes everything better.

I’ve always believed that one of the best gifts we can give our children is to let them know who we really are as women, not just their mother. That’s part of the reason I love Listen To Your Mother so much, and it’s one of the reasons I talk to people about sharing their own stories. I never want my kids to have to guess about what makes me tick, or what stirrs my soul or why I sometimes let them have ice cream for dinner. They’ll never know me unless I let them.

I love Becky’s book not just for the bits of advice, but because I feel like she’s found a unique way to leave a gorgeous bit of herself for her girls and help others with a bit of humor. I think it’s a perfect gift for a girl heading off to live on her own, but I also think it’s a sage and accessible reminder of what really matters to all women, whether they’re a bit bored with their routine (#18, #43, #50, #53, #76, #116, #152, #168, #198, #216, #227, #246); need a little bit of guidance to get back on track (#11, #26, #47, #55, #70, #72, #85, #86, #100, #167, #191, #201) or just need a reminder of what really matters (#02, #07, #22, #29, #52, #57, #63, #77, #89, #90, #109, #127, #137, #148, #150, #159, #181, #185, #189, #197, #226, #237, #248, #252, #256, #267).