I started forming ideas and plans for my mothering long before I was even old enough to start putting them into practice. They've changed quite a bit from girlhood, through singleness, into the few years between marriage and parenthood, and even over the eleven-plus years since my first child was born. But there are three general themes that have always seemed to run through my head:
- I will never __________________.
- I will always _________________.
- I would be a way better mom if I ___________________.
Can anyone else relate to this?
I've come a long way in this whole journey away from perfectionism and toward trusting God, but the temptation to fall into that trap can be as relentless as a mosquito buzzing around my head.
Author Jennifer Grant knows what it's like to have sweet, idealistic dreams of mothering collide head-on with the real work of raising a child. And that it doesn't always fit the picture-perfect template in our heads.
In Grant's book, MOMumental, you won't encounter any deep theological discussions. But you will find honest insight sprinkled with humor and her obvious affection for her children. She shares from her heart about how she has gone from trying to become her version of an ideal mother to recognizing what she truly can and can't do. She shows that while she now recognizes her goal of a conflict-free home where everyone is kind and loving 24/7 was an illusion, she has been able to make a priority of the things that really matter. And that does not happen to include being perfect.
There were a couple of sections that particularly resonated with me. One was in chapter 4, where Grant tells of a old college professor of hers who introduced his class to the phrase prefer the given. It essentially means "choosing to appreciate what we have instead of being dissatisfied with the grace and other gifts God gives us." While I have learned to do this more and more as I've matured, I can see one area of parenting in which I could stand to apply this concept: the noise! That may sound silly, but I am a person who recharges by being alone. The thing is, with four children, solitude is rare. (Though I must say that my husband is so great about making sure I get some from time to time.) So instead of lamenting that the house is rarely quiet, I can prefer the given: the fact that my four children are healthy and able to laugh and make lots of noise when they play.
I really loved Chapter 12, which is about "Creating Family Lore." One of my favorite things as a child was to listen to my mom and her siblings recount stories from when they were growing up. I still remember details. And I love getting together with my own siblings and hearing someone start a sentence with "Do you remember the time...?" I think the stories are just as funny the 20th time as they were the 1st. Grant points out that even though we may not be doing it intentionally, we create a unique family culture as we raise our kids. From the things we eat to silly phrases we use to traditions we establish, a sense of connection is forged as we do life together. I enjoyed reading about their family meetings and intend to talk to my husband about starting something similar in our home.
As I read MOMumental, I was reminded that while my mothering plays a vital role in the health, happiness, and holiness of my children, the responsibility does not fall solely on my shoulders. Just because I fail, it doesn't mean they're doomed. I must prayerfully do my best, ask their forgiveness when I mess up, and trust God with the outcome.
Click here to download a sample chapter of the MOMumental book and to listen to an interview with the author.
Would you like your own copy of MOMumental? I was given a second book to give away, but I'm going to include my copy as well! So two numbers will be drawn. I'll make it easy--all you have to do is click on the Rafflecopter feature below and answer the question Why do you want to read MOMumental?
The giveaway will close Monday, July 9, at 9:00 PST, and the winners will be posted immediately after the drawing.
In case you're interested in other work by Jennifer Grant, I really enjoyed Love You More, which is the story of the adoption of her youngest child, Mya.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Handlebar Marketing provided me with one copy of this book for review and one copy to give away. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”