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“Unraveled” Book Summary

Modern-day working moms have been summed up perfectly in Amy Westervelt’s book Forget “Having it All” where she says, “We expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work.” The working moms of the world today have the overwhelming pressure to be everything for everyone, while battling hustle culture and “mom guilt” every single day.

            Jess Henning, a working mom herself, is no different. Her past experience of paying for college with student loans, becoming a young mom, and entering the workforce has led her down a path she couldn’t have possibly planned. Since becoming an entrepreneur in 2017, and launching three successful brands, Henning helps working moms overcome the overwhelm through her uniquely designed lifestyle products and resources so they can experience joy in the everyday.

            For the estimated 23.5 million¹ working moms in the U.S. workforce, there are numerous studies that have shown they are overwhelmed and worn out, burning the candle at both ends. The average debt this woman carries has crushed her ability to see past tomorrow. Meanwhile, hustle culture has driven her to work without boundaries and has devastated her sense of self-worth. Perfectionism and comparison can sneak in to steal her joy, and unexpected twists in life can cause her to question her identity and sense of purpose. All of this has left her wondering where her true joy comes from, at a loss for how to create joy, and questioning if it’s even possible to be joyful when reality can be so heavy.

            In Unraveled, author Jess Henning reminds the reader that not only is she worthy of experiencing joy, but that joy is simply possible—every day. While her circumstances may or may not change, and she can’t control everything, she can take charge of her beliefs, attitude and actions and make every day joy a reality. Unraveled offers the reader encouragement through Biblical principles that refocus on where true joy is found, as well as personal anecdotes from Henning’s experiences and prompts that encourage guided reflection.

            Throughout Unraveled, scripture will be woven through the pages and into each chapter. In believing and understanding her purpose, the overwhelmed working mom can base her joy on a foundation grounded in truth, not simply what culture dictates or tells her.

            The working mom has the opportunity to journal and reflect on the topics discussed by answering three to five journal prompts at the end of each chapter . These open-ended questions allow her to process her own thoughts and how she can apply the ideas to her life. Through this shift, the reader will begin to believe she was made on purpose, with purpose, by a God who loves her.

            Unraveled discusses the importance of rhythms and gives practical ways to trade stress for joy. For example, this book will cover topics such as incorporating gratitude into a morning routine, learning how to ask for help, and showing up authentically. Relatable stories from Henning’s life will be sprinkled throughout the book to bring insight, wisdom, humor, and a huge sigh of relief to the reader, making her feel seen. These stories range from when she first graduated college and found herself interviewing for jobs during a recession when she was five months pregnant, to more recently managing the crazy juggling act of four kids, three businesses, two student loans left to pay, and one redeemed marriage.

            This non-fiction book will be structured as a classic how-to book that begins with an introduction, moves into three main sections, then finishes up with a conclusion. At the end of each chapter, there will be a set of reflection questions with space to write, where the reader will be invited to journal her thoughts, write down her a-ha moments, and take note of how she can apply what she has learned. These reflection pages will be an anchor point for the readers to ground themselves in not only as they go through the book, but long afterwards as well.

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