I was reading a friends’ blog, and she mentioned that she was planning to do a book group with the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. After reading reviews on Amazon, I asked her if I could join her group. I knew I wanted to read this book, so even if she had said no, I was ordering the book!
I was so excited that I told my sister all about the book, and promised to let her read it as soon as I finished. However, that ended up being a problem. You see, once I started reading, and underlining, and writing in the margins, I realized that I couldn’t possibly pass the book on.
I have a book loaning rule (with myself) that if I loan out a book, I should be willing to never get it back (this is actually my loaning rule in general). So either the book needs to be good enough I would be willing to buy it again, or it needs to be a book I don’t plan to read again. This “rule” has saved me from getting grumpy about not getting books back. But as I covered Desperate with ink, I knew that I wanted to keep it and reread it… so I bought another copy for my sister.
Desperate is written by two moms, Sarah Mae, who is “in the trenches” with her small children, and Sally Clarkson, who is a veteran mom. I think this offers a unique perspective, as I was far more able to relate to Sarah Mae’s struggles, but I loved the wisdom that Sally Clarkson offered.
I have to be completely honest, though, and admit that there were many parts where I had a hard time connecting with Sally Clarkson. I don’t know if that is because she has a vastly different personality from me, or if- because she has been past the hard early years for a while- she has forgotten just how difficult parenting babies and toddlers can be. I have seen a similar “rose colored glasses” approach to dispensing parenting advice from many of my friends whose youngest kids are school-age. Something happens to make them forget the difficulty, and only remember the beautiful things of these early years. I love this review from Amazon, as I hope to be able to uplift other moms when I get to the point that the early years are behind me.
So what is it about?
Desperate has several main ideas. One of them is that mothering is difficult, and that it isn’t something you can do alone. We need support as we go through this journey. This goes hand-in-hand with the theme of mentoring, or the call of Titus 2.
As the mom of a 3 year old, almost 2 year old, and another due in August, I could relate completely to Sarah Mae’s exhaustion and desperation. She even says in the introduction, “We moms don’t need an instruction manual. We need physical help.”
I guess, for me, it is freeing to be able to admit that although I love my kids dearly, there are days that I just don’t feel up to the task of being a mom. There are days when I want to run away. And it’s okay for me to feel that way– I don’t need to pretend I love every minute of this. However, I know that God’s grace will help to see me through, and that these years truly will pass by quickly. Desperate gave me hope that once my kiddos are a little bit older, and I’m actually getting sleep, things will be a little bit easier (or at least I will have had the sleep to deal with the difficulties!).
Another main point of the book is that we, as moms, can’t be and do everything. We have to choose what will be our priorities. This made me stop and think. When I look back later, will I remember that I always had a clean house (okay, if you know me, you will know that keeping a clutter-free house has never been my strong suit, only now I have kids to blame it on), or that I was a member of a bunch of commities, or did amazing baking, or I passed every level of Candy Crush with 3 stars (okay, this is my weakness right now), or will I look back and remember that I spent important time teaching my kids, loving my kids, and enjoying every milestone they went through?
I want to choose to make mothering my priority.
I also loved that Desperate didn’t just stop at letting moms know that things are difficult, but that we’ll get through it– it went on to give some practical ideas for finding help. It may be that in order to find a support group you have to start that group. It may be that you have to approach an older woman and ask her to mentor you. It may be that you have to start a babysitting co-op in your church. But however, you need to find that support group, it is vital to making it through the toughness of motherhood.
I would definitely recommend Desperate. I don’t think it’s a perfect book– I don’t think that there are any parenting book I would agree with 100%. However, I do think that it’s a great, uplifting read, and I plan to read it over and over again. I want to remember that God’s grace will get me through this, and that what I am doing (mothering) is important work. I also want to remember these hard times, so that once I am through them, when my kids have grown, I can reach out and extend God’s grace to a younger mom who is in the midst of the overwhelmingness.
Are you a desperate mom right now? Or are you in an easier time of life? Do you have any amazing books to reccommend for parenting?
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