Where oh where was this book when I first had kids? I think I will make this my baby shower book from now on. And yet 11 years into this lifelong mothering thing, the book still encouraged and challenged me. It’s that good.
Mothering is a harder job than I imagined. Relief flooded my soul when I read Sarah Mae and Sarah Clarkson book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. It doesn’t matter what stage of mothering you are in, this book will feel like cool water on a hot day. It’s designed as mentoring book, not a rule book. There are no formulas here. Rather the words in each chapter offer comfort, you are not the only woman who finds mothering really hard sometimes. Sarah (a mom with young kids) writes letters to Sally (an experienced mom whose kids are all grown). Sarah expresses her frustrations and asks for advice. Sally answers briefly with encouragement. Following each set of short letters is a chapter on the topic with insights from Sarah, and then from Sally.
Sarah writes honestly in statements that made me wonder if she had read my journal. She admits things I’ve swept to the corners of my brain. Things like, “I just want to be alone more and more these days. I’m so tired, and in the evening I just want to rest. I know I need friends and community, but when? How? ” or “My sweet baby girl is so resistant to my training, and I feel like I’m losing myself. I lover her so much, but why won’t she listen? I’ve tried different discipline….but it seems like she defies them all. …..it’s wearing me down. How do I fight my own sin and hers?” Somehow, reading these statements from a woman who had written books, blogged famously, and co-founded the popular Allume conference, makes it all feel normal.
Sally, a woman who has long been ministering to mothers through her Whole Heart Ministries , responds to Sarah’s letters with loving encouragement and gems like ,
“If you expect perfection, you are bound to become angry more often, with yourself and with your children. Children do not thrive with authoritarian, perfectionistic parenting, because they can never live up to perfection, and neither can you. If you want them to know the real message of Jesus, then you need to live out His life of gracious, forgiving love while becoming more mature in his ideals as you grow.”
This book reminded me that I need community, that there is no one formula for mothering, the I need to dwell in grace with myself and my kids, and that I should never lose myself completely. I will be reading it again. Maybe tomorrow. And if I was making a list of mothering resources, I would put this book second as a must read, right after Shepherding a Child’s Heart.
And please, if you are older, have raised kids, love Jesus and want to mentor me, give me a call. I’m taking applications. I need a Sally.