I just don’t really know how to communicate, in a nice, neat blog post, how I feel about this book.
I found it enjoyable.
I was incredibly annoyed and slightly offended at times.
I know. Exactly why it’s taken me so long to start- and finish- this post.
What I liked
- This book showed a beautiful picture of what a meaningful mentoring experience looks like. Sally Clarkson saw something in Sarah Mae, and they began a relationship together that was intentional, and helped both of them grow in their relationship with the Lord. The mentoring seemed to come at a time when Sarah Mae desperately needed it- in the middle of mothering three littles- and battling depression.
- I could relate to Sarah Mae, in that I also have three kids incredibly close together in age (almost 4!). And there were times last year when I was staying at home with them that I did feel desperate and like I needed some room to breathe. Running after and caring for a 1, 2/3 and 3/4 year old is physically, emotionally, and mentally difficult. There are no breaks, even with a stellar husband. It takes 2 parents to meet the never-ending needs of such young children.
- For moms who stay at home, Sarah and Sally offer some great suggestions on how to create space to breathe in the midst of full-time, never-ending motherhood. They rightly suggest that a lot of it has to do with our attitude towards our kids and being a stay-at-home mom.
- They repeated over and over that there is no “right way” to parent. Every family is different. Every child is different. Every mom is different. If you are not good at keeping house, by all means hire a housekeeper and feel no guilt about it! If you don’t want to spank your kids, do not listen to those other moms who say if you don’t you will have bratty kids. Seek God, follow the promptings you feel about how He has designed your unique family, and then find a few good friends who are going to support you and not criticize your decisions.
What I did not like
- At times, the relationship between Sarah Mae and Sally seemed like Sarah Mae was incredibly needy and Sally had all the answers. It has been my experience that in healthy mentoring relationships, both parties involved are encouraged by one another, and both people come out with a new perspective.
- This book is absolutely NOT for moms who work outside the home full-time. Although they were big on talking about the uniqueness of each family and following what God had for each family, I don’t think they would be very accepting of the decision for the mom to work outside the home. They explicitly says that “Scripture is filled with admonitions for a mama to make her home her focus and bring up her children. A mama’s primary domain is her home.” (p. 170) They continue on to say that this doesn’t mean that’s the only purpose God has for a mom, but it’s first and main purpose. I’m glad they added the second part, but I still disagree with the first. I have personally faced the judgment of other women who can’t believe that I would work outside the home. And perhaps some judgment that my husband stays at home with the kids (“what? he doesn’t work?” ummmm….if I talked about a stay-at-home mom that way, I’m pretty sure I’d get an earful about how staying at home with 3 preschool kids IS work, yes?)
When I pick up a book for mothers, I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, to find this type of attitude. In a way, it’s too bad because the book did have some great things to say about life as a stay-at-home mom. Because it IS really hard (for some of us), especially in those early years as we’re becoming mothers (because some of us aren’t born longing for that and sometimes it’s just a process that takes a few years).
So, do I recommend it? If you are a stay-at-home mom and feeling discouraged/depressed/worn-out, yes, I really think it could offer you some encouragement and good ways to look at things a little differently. If you are a work-outside-the-home mom who is feeling discouraged/depressed/worn-out, don’t read it unless you can take the “stay-at-home-moms-are-God’s-favorite-moms” attitude.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”