If you are a mommy, you will no doubt find something to identify with in The Mommy Diaries. Edited by Tally Flint with a forward by Naomi Cramer Overton, president of MOPS International, this book is designed to let you know that you are not alone. It is a collection of short quips and stories from moms of all backgrounds and situations. It is meant to encourage, inspire and bring a little hope to mom’s who might be feeling a little wiped out in the whirl wind we call life.
The book is easily divided up into six different sections, and pinpoints problem areas that all mom’s seem to face at once time or another:
1. Feeling like they’ve lost their personal identity in becoming a mom (if you are one, you know what this is about);
2. Stretching and training as you grow into Mom-hood;
3. Finding and building a support system for yourself;
4. Making the most of the resources available to you in your journey of motherhood;
5. Learning to enjoy the high peaks and the valleys; and
6. Looking beyond the present circumstances at the bigger picture.
The Mommy Diaries is written for moms of all walks of life and, really, all faiths as well. It does have a Christian bent to it, but I didn’t find it heavy handed in the least. I got the feeling that the authors of the individual stories and editor of the book were all about bringing hope to the discouraged mother. They seemed to have the same idea as C.S. Lewis in saying, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one!” This book is here to assure you that you aren’t the only one.
It is interesting to note that they collected stories from well-known authors and speakers to “fresh voices” of your typical, run-of-the-mill stay-at-home mom. These people are real. I identified with the mother who, having a child late in life, experienced a severe back injury shortly after giving birth. She was unable to care for the daughter she had hoped for for so long. I remember having just come home from the hospital, after delivering my son via cesarean section, and having him lay on the bed next to me crying and my being unable to bend over and pick him up. My husband had gone to run a quick errand, both of us feeling confident that I could be left unattended with my newborn son. As my son lay on our bed, I stood next to him and tried to stroke his cheek. I joined my son in his tears for the entire 10-15 minutes that my husband was away. I had never known such agonies as being unable to offer comfort to my son who desperately wanted it.
I also found myself laughing with mothers who described calling their husbands at work to leave them voice mail messages consisting entirely of their children screaming and crying in the background. (Been there, done that.)
This isn’t a life changing book, per se. But it does offer encouragement and hope that you are not the only mother who fails. Or gets angry. Or who doesn’t have it all together (and likely never will). The message that I took away from this book was that I can embrace the fact that God is in control of things so thankfully I don’t have to be. I found encouragement almost from the start of the book, where Colleen Kappeler writes the following:
“Motherhood requires flexibility. You discover new things about yourself and rediscover old things you thought you had to give up” (page 38).
The message is: It’s ok if it doesn’t work out the way you planned. God’s got your back. And really, that’s something that I think we as mothers need to hear. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to be the women we were created to be. (Easier said than done, I realize.) But rest assured – you aren’t the only one who feels like it’s all for nothing sometimes. At the same time, you can be encouraged and motivated to think outside of yourselves, realize that God’s ways and thoughts are not our own, and He can be trusted with every specific. Including the specific needs, wants and soul desires of our children and ourselves. He’s big enough.
If that is not a relief, I don’t know what else is.
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.