Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Beautiful Mess That Is Motherhood

I`ve learned that it`s OK to be flawed, that life can be messy, that some days you glide and some days you fall, but most important, that there are no secret answers out there.

Being a mother to six children with five of them born in the last seven years, I used to feel like a stranger in a strange land. In the strive for perfection, comparing myself to what the media and our commercialized world deems as the perfect mom made me feel woefully inadequate, isolated, and frankly a bit crazy. 

MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family has been a huge blessing to me. Author Jennifer Grant’s writing style full of witty observations, plenty of real-life stories, and honest approach opened my eyes to the idea that I am not alone or isolated in my motherhood trials and triumphs.  Her writing style and openness made me feel like I was talking with a kindred spirit over a cup of coffee at our local coffee spot and she was sharing her failures and successes and how God had helped her and put great people in her life to help her too. 

This book is not a parenting guide and it is not a condemnation of different mothering styles. It is an honest, fresh look at the truth of family from a mom’s perspective. Families are messy, but they are beautiful messes. 

Some of my favorite parts of the book are the following: 

  • The idea of preferring the given. In the chapter, "Escape to Gordon's House", Jennifer Grant writes, "I attempt - admittedly with only partial success - to 'prefer the given,' an idea my old professor Father McClatchy introduced to us in college. Coined by British author Charles Williams, the phrase means choosing to appreciate what we have instead of being dissatisfied with the grace and other gifts God gives us. In other words, if winter is a northerner's lot in life for half of the year, what's the point in wishing it were otherwise?" There is a lot of wisdom in this paragraph.
  • Chapter Eight, “On the Bwight Side” in its entirety. The emphasis on not pre-judging our children or expecting our children to be "little adults” is brilliant.
  •    Talking about the Saint Crispin’s Day speech scene from Shakespeare’s Henry V. The idea that motherhood should create a ‘band of brothers’ with shared experiences and a feeling of camaraderie among those of us in the line of work known as 'Mommying'.
What I most take away is the assurance that despite our mistakes, that as we parent our children with love "our children will keep growing and changing, becoming more independent, more empathetic, more the people God has created them to be." Sometimes it's easy to forget that we are not parenting alone, but that God is right there with us and that He has an even better plan than we do for our children's lives.

It is rare that I find a book I wish to give others. MOMumental IS one of those books. I plan on gifting this book to some of my friends who are moms and who I know struggle with the same concerns Jennifer shares in this book and I have experienced in my own 'Mommying' adventure as a way to say, “I see you” and we are on the same journey as mothers. 

*I received the book in this post compliments of Worthy Publishing via Handlebar Marketing for purposes of this review, however all opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. What is a good parent? We moms often set impossible standards for ourselves, and feel that we can never be “a good mom.” Or at least a good enough mom. Momumental was so encouraging to me as a mom--and I agree, I'm planning on giving copies to a bunch of other moms! Jennifer Grant offers solid advice, not just on parenting but on how to be intentional about building a family culture. She writes honestly about her own mistakes, her own perfectionism, and how her own family of origin impacted her. I’m recommending this book who anyone who is raising children—which is a messy but beautiful art.