Friday, June 28, 2013

GUEST POST - DEBUT CHICK LIT AUTHOR SUSIE ORMAN SCHNALL

Can I Get a Little Praise Over Here?
by Susie Orman Schnall

 

Praise feels good. Like warm bubble baths, beaches at sunset, cozy duvet covers. You certainly don’t need any of those things. But they’re all nice to have around once in a while.

Kids get praise all the time: nice goal, great report card, thanks for helping your sister, you’re doing really well in Latin. 

Men get praise all the time: congratulations on the promotion, great performance review, here’s your paycheck, what a great dad you are changing diapers and all! 

Moms? (at least outside of their jobs)… good job on getting your kids to school on time 3 days this week, I like your gym clothes, that pizza you ordered for dinner came so fast, Happy Mother’s Day To A Super Mom! 

I’m not complaining, just explaining. But on a daily basis, moms don’t get many pats on the back. Unless we’re choking.

When I was working full-time, before the birth of my eldest  child who is now 12, I got a lot of praise. Pay raises, positive feedback on client-impressing projects, compliments on my shoes. Maybe I should be ashamed to say that it fed me somehow. But I’m owning that. Sure, I know that I have to accept myself from within and all that other crap. But, again, praise feels good. And for some reason, we moms are supposed to get by without much of it. Kisses and hugs and I love you, Mom’s are really awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I also need that adult affirmation, the feeling you get when you do a job really well. I just don’t get that when I remember to get the soccer team registration and recent photo and health update and commitment-to-bring-orange-slices-on-a-particular-day forms in on time. 

Grace, the main character in my debut novel, On Grace, experiences that, too. Here’s what she has to say as she considers her career options after being a stay-at-home mom for eight years: 

Yes, there is a sense of fulfillment and identity I can only get by engaging in productive and stimulating work that is outside the realm of my children and their school. And there is something affirming about dressing in dry-clean-only clothes and sitting at a desk in an office that’s not in my home. Something that I felt distinctly when I first graduated college and went off to work that first day in an Ann Taylor suit with the good leather work bag my sister bought me for graduation. Sure, after I exhausted the new wardrobe and all its iterations and I got comfortable with my job, that initial feeling faded and then I just became another drone trying to figure out if I’d already worn the navy skirt suit that week, packing myself into an already-packed subway car, trying to be happy with a paycheck that was in no way fair remuneration for all the hard work I did. But I felt important. And feeling important is magnificent. 

I want to feel important again. Unfortunately, I don’t know how many kids have the ability to make their mothers feel that way. Sure, my kids can make me feel proud, and loved, and needed in a way that prickles with pain and pure love at the exact same time. But they don’t make me feel important. 

Which leads me to wonder why it’s so important for me to feel important. Is it the praise I covet? Is it the pat on the back from a person of authority when I do a good job? Well, maybe partly. Mostly? Yes. If I could I would mainline praise. And if I could muster enough of my self-esteem to realize I already am important, whether or not an eight-year-old or a highly respected boss tells me so out loud, then maybe I can finally let myself off the hook and relax for the first time in thirty-nine years. Maybe I can finally stop trying so hard to get everyone else to tell me I’m so damn special and just realize that I am. 

I guess it’s my personal hang-up that I feel like I should be embarrassed to enjoy praise. Maybe some would argue that it’s just fuel for the much maligned ego. But it’s a human need, no? Like shelter and water? Like air? Is there anything truly wrong with enjoying praise? Luckily, as we age, the need for praise lessens. We already know we’re rock stars! 

What do you think about praise?


Author Bio:  Susie Orman Schnall is the author of the enchanting, thought-provoking novel On Grace. She also writes essays, editorial, and endless to-do lists and has been featured in the New York Times, Westchester Magazine, and on Huffington Post Live. When she's not at her desk writing, you can find Susie driving her three adorable boys to and fro, reading just about anything, drinking a kale shake, emailing her husband, or trying to get It All done. And if you can't find her in any of those places, she's probably where her heart sings the loudest: at the top of a mountain.


Book Blurb:  Grace May is truly excited about turning 40 in a few months. And now that her boys are both in school and she has a stimulating new writing job, the next chapter in her life can finally begin. She can't wait to rediscover the intelligent and interesting woman deeply buried under the layers of mother and wife.

But when Grace loses her job and gets unexpected news from her husband and her best friend, life suddenly gets complicated. Grace stands to lose everything: her marriage, her best friend, and her sense of self. By her 40th birthday party, Grace will realize who and what matter most. With laughter. With tears. With grace.

ON GRACE embraces themes that will resonate with women who own at least one pair of Spanx: fidelity, friendship, and finding oneself at 40. Readers love ON GRACE because it's soulful and sweet, sexy and sad, straight up and smart, and, ultimately, quite satisfying.


Buy On Grace:



Connect with Susie Orman Schnall:



18 comments:

  1. I think we all thrive on praise. When I was working at my last job, the boss would hand out the paychecks every Friday afternoon and he always remembered one good thing each person did during the week and told them how much he appreciated it. I hate to say it, but that made me love that job and think how great the boss was. But, now I am a housewife and don't get much praise at all. I admit, it does get me down when I've worked hard on cleaning or a special dinner. When I was working on losing weight, my husband always told me how good I was doing and he knows I worked hard on it. So, I kept trying harder to reach my goal. But, when the praise stopped, so did the weight loss. And, now that it's come back on, there's not much praise anymore. So, I totally agree on how it does make our lives much better and pushes us to do better at what ever we are trying to accomplish in life. Maybe it's mental, but it does help each and every one of us. Great blog today. I look forward to reading this book.

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    1. Hi Janine. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post today! I agree that we all thrive on praise. But for some reason it feels a little dirty. And maybe needy. But as I said above, I'm owning it. So bring it on. It also makes it clear that if praise makes us feel good, we should find places where we can get it. Not disingenuously. But authentically. We're just human after all! :) -Susie

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  2. This book sounds wonderful. I would love to do a review on it at my blog!!!

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    1. Hi Book Mama. Thanks so much! I'll email you and hopefully we can get the ball rolling. I really appreciate your support! - Susie

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  3. Perhaps we do get used to praise when we're kids, when we're adults we don't get so much and that's not so great. Praise is ultra important for encouraging self-belief and raising self-esteem - this article really highlights that. Going to work on giving more praise and hey, you never know, some might just come my way too! Great article and the book sounds like a must read. xxx

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    1. Hi Shani, thanks so much for taking the time to write. I agree with you 100%. When we're praised so much as children, it's hard to wean ourselves off that feeling. But I love your idea of paying it forward. I'm going to do that today, too: give praise to another adult (or three). Do unto others and all that good stuff. I hope you enjoy On Grace! -Susie

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  4. I think enjoying praise just comes down to wanting to feel appreciated. And who doesn't want to feel appreciated? As long as it isn't the only thing that drives us, needing occasional praise is something I think we can all relate to.

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    1. Amen, sister. A perfect way to sum it up! -Susie

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  5. Tracie,
    Thanks so much for having me as a guest blogger on the amazing Books by Banister today. You've been so supportive as I embark on this publishing adventure and I appreciate it so much! -Susie

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    1. My pleasure, Susie. I wish you great success with ON GRACE!

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  6. It's important to feel important! I think lots of folks in our society tie their identities to their work. (Ya know, you meet someone and they generally ask "what do you do?") And then it seems work is where most adults get "praise". When we moved to Canada (for a short time a few years back) I didn't have my work papers yet so couldn't work. Eventually decided to go to back to school, but during that time it was hard... I was kinda floundering and not really feeling all that "important." (But I had time to paint and go for long walks with the dog! Too bad I wasn't writing back then!)

    Sounds like a great read. All the best with the new book, Susie. Love the cover.

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    1. Hi Jackie, thanks for posting. I totally hear you. Feeling important feels really good. We all deserve it. Thanks so much for your good wishes!

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  7. Well, I'm not a mom, or a man or a child but I totally get this post! It's wonderful to feel appreciated and even if you know you ARE appreciated, hearing it vocalized is really important. But if you don't feel worthy on the inside, it doesn't matter who says it.

    I'm so looking forward to reading On Grace. So excited to read books about 39 going on 40 and not 29 going on 30 - so much more fresh!

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    1. Thanks Meredith! I hope you enjoy it. A very different time in a woman's life - going from 39 to 40 as opposed to 29 to 30. -Susie

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  8. Wow! This sounds really powerful. I love this: "moms don’t get many pats on the back. Unless we’re choking". Oh, so true. My son's fave saying when I complain about doing something, "because you're a mum. It's in the job description".

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    1. Hi Sheryl, Thank you so much! Yeah, so much in the job description - I'm with you on that one. We certainly do sign up for it, but it's nice to have a break once in a while :) Thanks so much for taking the time to post! -Susie

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  9. What a fascinating post! I've never really thought about it before (how much power praise has) but it's so true. Something to remember. :-)

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    1. Hi Libby! So glad you liked it and that it resonated with you!! -Susie

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