Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
I was surprised by this book.
I guess I didn’t really know much about Lisa-Jo Baker. I knew that she works with (in)courage, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. I put off on requesting this book because I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to read another motherhood book. I’ve read one book too many that I thought were going to be empowering and encouraging, only to find myself feeling frustrated and missing the motherhood mark.
After 4 chapters in, I was talking to Jake about how I really liked this book, and I felt like Lisa-Jo got me and other moms like me– the ones that love being a mom, but didn’t necessarily always dream of being a mom; the ones that never babysat growing up because, well, we’re just not “kid” people; ones that love their littles fiercely and see the huge value of being intentional in the way we love them, care for them, teach them and disciple them; ones that also have passions besides our family, and believe that God has not let us off the hook in pursuing those.
Jake: How many chapters have you read?
Me: about 4, maybe 5.
Jake: This is what you say every time.
Jake: You “love” a book at the beginning, but then it begins to spiral downward and you end up wanting to throw the book across the room.
Me: ….. Oh. I didn’t even think about that possibility….Oh no…. What if this book does this too?!
Welp, IT DIDN’T!!!! I was so nervous she was going to do the whole “I didn’t want to have kids, but then I had kids and I’m so convinced that God only wants me to stay at home and put every ounce of energy towards my kids and home.” Blessings to you if that’s what you want to do, but some of us simply can’t, and we need women who are paving the way in what it looks like to love our family deeply while also pursuing other callings too! Because, let’s face it, those of us who fall into this camp sometimes feel like we need to hide our other passions because we don’t want others to think that we don’t love God or don’t love our kids or don’t love our husbands.
In Surprised by Motherhood, Lisa-Jo Baker tells her story- a story of coming of age, losing her mom, becoming a mom (of 3 children), moving around the world, being a stay-at-home parent, being a work-from-home parent, and an outside the home working parenting, engaging in the fight against human-trafficking. Lisa-Jo also beautifully describes the real, deep identity change that comes when becoming a mother (also known as matrescence).
Lisa-Jo Baker is probably the best writer I have ever read. Her writing is creative, but in a very down-to-earth kind of way. I cried through most of this book– and not because it’s a necessarily sad story. I mean, parts of it are sad, but I think it’s because she wrote in a way that embraces all the joys and hurts and realness of life as a daughter and a mother and a follower of Jesus. Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book:
[talking about her mom’s transition into having kids]: “She constantly danced between her old life and her new. With the books and movies and stories that ran so thick and deep insider her, it was sometimes hard to find room for her kids. But on the days she invited us in- on those days it was magical.”
[also talking about her mom]: “She said things I wish she could take back. She said things I’m sure she’d wish she could take back. And they wriggle deep under my skin without my even realizing it, buried there for years before my own babies force me to dig them out.”
Mothers are born from the strands of so many stories woven like DNA- tenderly, delicately, and sometimes painfully into this thread that runs through families.
I also feel a special connection with her because her #2 sounds an awful lot like my #2, and if you want to now what I’m talking about, you’ll just have to read her book :).
You can find more about Lisa-Jo on her blog (she offers a few free chapters over there), on FB or Twitter. A huge thank you to Lisa-Jo for writing this book. You are paving the way for more stories like your own, and a huge band of women will be forever grateful and encouraged!
Thank you to the publisher for proving a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.