Be The Mentor You Never Had (Plus, Is Desperate Only For Those Who Can Hire Help? Addressing An Amazon Review)

desperatebook1-196x300 Today is the last day of the book club here; Sally will write about the last chapter on itakejoy.com on Thursday.

There are two things I want to address from the chapter and from some of the reviews on Amazon. First, an excerpt from Chapter 14, Desperate…Not Defeated:

“If you go through this season of desperation alone and without help – though I pray that does not happen – then I want you to write down what you’re experiencing and how it affects you. Put in writing how you are going to be there for your children one day and the other young women God puts in your path and be the helper you never had. I want you to think of all the times you have said…

“I wish I just had someone to help me with _______.”

“Why don’t any of the older women ever volunteer in the nursery?”

“I’ve been praying for a mentor, but so far, no one has shown up.”

“It seems like the older women don’t want to invest in the younger women; where are they?”

“I have no money so I can’t go anywhere when I need to get away. I could really just use a night away alone.”

“I’m drowning in laundry! I wish I had some help!”

You have probably thought many of those things, and more. You recognize that you need help, you need time, and you need refreshment. I want you to commit right now that, Lord willing, you will be that person fo a few younger women one day.”

And there it is, the heart of Desperate – reaching out and helping/being friends with another woman so that we can persevere as mothers.

No one should have to do motherhood alone. Which brings me to a comment on a couple of the Amazon reviews:

“Most of their ways to “breathe” are only possible if you can afford to hire help.”

I cringed when I read that comment, for two reasons. One, that is not at all what Sally and I were communicating, and the fact that a couple people felt that was what we were saying, well, it’s painful, and sad and wow, do I need to communicate better?. The second thing is, it’s just not true. The whole of the book is to encourage mothers that they are not crazy for how they’re feeling, and that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings of desperation, and that they shouldn’t have to do motherhood alone – not by way of “hiring help” but by way of friendship and mentors! We mention that if you can you could consider hiring some help around the house, that there is nothing wrong with that if you’re able, but it was just a suggestion. I understand that many women cannot afford any help, but I also know there is so much guilt around the idea that if you hire someone to help you clean here and there you are somehow a failure or less than. I say boo to that! Also, I know what it’s like to not have the money to have some help; heck, I remember not having enough money to buy groceries some weeks! So for those commenters to assume that out of our whole book we are saying the only way to breathe is to hire help, well, I’m just honestly at a loss, but even more so I want to say: I’m so sorry you felt that’s what we were saying. We do not believe that to breathe you need to hire help, we believe that you need help, and we hope you find it in friendship and mentors, and ultimately in the One who loves you and guides and is there for you in every desperate moment.

In fact, here’s a little resolution I wrote up to encourage you in overcoming the desperate feelings that motherhood can bring on, and none of them have to do with hiring help (these are the concepts in the book):

The No-More-Desperate-Moms Resolution

(Get a pretty PDF version of this resolution to print by clicking here)

If I am a mom of little ones…

I will choose to celebrate each day with my children as gifts from God.

I will remember that I am not alone in my feelings of inadequacy.

I will remember to accept my limitations with grace.

I will remember that one day, this season of little ones will be over.

I will commit to making my relationship with my spouse (if applicable) a priority, knowing we are partners in the raising of the eternal souls in our care.

I will pursue friendships with other moms.

I will not feel guilty for taking time for myself to refresh my soul.

I will fill myself with good things in order to keep growing as a person.

I will talk to my children about the importance of serving others.

I will not compare myself with other moms, but instead be the mom God made me to be.

I will remember the hard years of raising little ones so that one day I will help a mother of little ones. I will do for another mom what I wish someone would have done for me.

I will remember to look my babies in the eye, nibble their toes, nuzzle in their necks, dance with them, giggle with them, and remember in whose image they were created.

If I am past the little years and my children are grown…

I will commit to teaching a young mom how to walk with God and read His word every day.

I will “adopt” a young mom who doesn’t have a mom, and I will mentor her and love her.

I will commit to take a mom of little ones a meal from time to time.

I will commit to offer to watch a mom’s little ones once a month.

I will commit to doing an act of service for a mom with little ones once a month (laundry, dishes, general cleaning).

I will encourage my older daughters to serve young moms.

I will remember to tell women to accept their limitations with grace.

I will remember that I am raising generations by helping and loving moms so they can persevere in the noble call of motherhood.

I will do for a young mother what I wish someone would have done for me.

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And there it is, the conclusion of the book club here at SarahMae.com. Please head over to itakejoy.com on Thursday to read the final book club post.

Thank you so much for sticking with this study, and I pray that you would find help and encouragement and resolve to overcome and be the mama I know you are. So much love to you.

SM

You can get your copy of Desperate at Amazon, B & N, CBD, or DaySpring.

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  • http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/ Jolanthe

    I NEVER got the impression that you had to hire help, but definitely agree that there is such a stigma that if I ‘hire’ help, that I am somehow ‘less than’. When we couldn’t afford to have someone help out, another mom and I would trade off babysitting with each other. We planned date nights with our hubbies and on those nights the other mom would come over to watch our kids {feed them, put them to bed, etc…} and then we would return the favor another time that month for them. It gave us a much needed break and it was free – other than our hubbies were left to take care of our brood! :) There are so many ways to get a bit of a break and just breathe that don’t cost anything – but if you are able to hire someone in to either do a light cleaning, etc… no guilt in doing that!!!

    {hugs} girl!

  • Jessica

    love this!!! I agree 100%. I looked at this chapter a bit differently then others I think. Be not defeated in motherhood or in Christ! http://andtheycallherblessed.blogspot.com/2013/03/desperate-desperatenot-defeated.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/paula.hamiltonpadgette Paula Hamilton Padgette

    i read your book, I LOVE your book. not once did I get that impression? I will say your book came to me at a time in my life where i feel like I am drowning, failing and being the worst mother/wife/friend/Christian that was ever made. I cried many times while reading this book because I could relate to just about every part. I am an older mom of 3 small children 1 amazing, smart, kind,most helpful little man that is almost 7, 1 amazing, wild, brave and at times crazy little man that just turned 3 and a very sweet loving little princess that is 7 months old. most days I can not seem to function. most days I dont feel like cleaning or getting off the couch. and after reading your book it opened my eyes that I am not a bad mom/wife/friend/Christian. i am just overwhelmed and very ALONE!! we moved to Utah almost 3 years ago. I have yet to make any friends out here. it is very hard for me to. even at church. I have made the choice to open myself up and have met 4 moms all in very different age ranges and I do not believe that would have happened if I did not read your book. so I just want to tell you THANK YOU! from the bottom of my desperate heart, thank you! you have helped me in so many ways. I also have bought 2 copies for other moms that I know because I love it that much! keep on writing and smiling because God has blessed you in so many ways. please do not listen to other reviews that are negative there is always some one that has to leave a bad review. your book was written so well. and is easy to understand.

    Thanks,
    Paula

  • Jana

    I loved your book! I also NEVER got the impression that you were saying the only way to “breathe” was with hired help. I’ve patented small children with hired help and without. Both ways have their advantages and their challenges. I agree that no mom should feel less than if she uses hired help to clean, cook, babysit, etc. I also believe that when we cannot afford that kind of help, we should reach out to others to get help and provide help. You both did a wonderful job of communicating your hearts for motherhood – it’s joys and difficulties. I hope you continue to write to us mothers….you are a much needed encourager! Thank you!!

  • Gabrielle Daigle

    I’ve read through Chapter 6 and I’m blogging my way through your book as well, and so far, I’ve never gotten this impression at all. I completely understand what you and Sally are encouraging young moms to do. I’m there in the trenches: My children are newly turned 4, 2, and my baby is 7 months. So I get it. I’m there. But thanks to godly older women in my life, I know I’m not alone. These older women will watch my kids so that I can go to the dentist, get my hair cut (twice a year-ha!), or go to the doctor. I don’t have hired help, but I have the very help that you and Sally encourage us to have. I know that it’s a blessing and I will do the same one day for younger moms.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.b.jennings Patricia Bock Jennings

    Sarah, I am one of those Moms who HAS to hire help because I have no Mom or mentor to help me. Believe me, I would rather not spend the hard earned money! Your book has helped to alleviate my guilt about hiring help, and made me committed to helping a young mother when I am able. I do not want another mother to go through what I have gone through with no one to help, a chronic illness, and a husband who travels for business often. I have been doing little bits here and there, taking a meal, having someone’s kids over for pizza, but I want to do more as I get older. I really want to “adopt a mom” and be the mentor she really needs. Your book is a wonderful gift to me!

  • Erin @ My Mommy World

    I’m sorry to hear that you received a negative comment :( I don’t know what that person on Amazon read, but I read right at the beginning that you and Sally suggested getting a mentor/friend to help, and that’s what you were alluding to throughout the rest of the book.

  • http://twitter.com/ShanMKWalker Shan Walker

    Seem like maybe the commentors that had the impression about “hiring help” being dominant in your book must have skimmed through and not really READ your book. That was not the impression at all and quit beating yourself up about it! Don’t you DARE let 2 lil comments {maybe satan himself trying to discourage} undo the God-given encouragement you two give to others. ;)

    I didn’t give a review on Amazon yet but here’s my review that I wrote last month about it: http://www.the-how-to-guru.com/2013/02/valentines-hope-chocolates-giveaway.html
    Blessings,
    Shan
    The How to Guru

  • http://www.facebook.com/alecia.marie.16 Alecia Marie

    Sarah, I have read your book and am about to read it again. It has so encouraged me and helped to alleviate the guilt I often feel. Thank you for being real, in Desperate and in your blog. Being real and vulnerable is difficult, but it shows what a beautiful person you are. Just like all of us moms, who need to be reminded that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, but that we are being sanctified through the blood of Christ. Keep sharing and praying and knowing that the Holy Spririt will work through you.

  • http://twitter.com/EverydayEO Janene

    Our book club loved the book–we finish it up tomorrow and are sad to see it end as it has met us in a busy season of mothering and was balm for our souls. We REALLY loved the SKYPE date–thank you for being you and extending that offer to our group. In prayer. . .

    http://everydayeo.blogspot.com/2013/03/moms-in-prayer-meet-desperate.html

  • Jill Susanne

    I am a young mom who relocated in the middle of my first pregnancy. We are far away from family and have slowly made a few friends. My husband is in his residency and I chose to stay at home with our babies. This left us pretty tight financially (but thank goodness I had saved and saved when I was working for a downpayment on a house. This has ended up instead going to help us meet our needs during this 4 years). We don’t have extra money to spend on hiring help although on a rare occasion I will pay to have a neighbor girl come over if my husband is working 80 hour weeks for several weeks/months in a row!
    From my perspective, I understood completely the message Sarah and Sally were sending. If you can afford it, great. If not, look for other options for relief. One option I have managed to work out for myself is to “swap” kids with a neighbor every Friday. This gives me 2 Fridays a month to go to a coffee shop, relax, and read for an hour or two. It is amazing what that time has done for me and I guard it with my life! No chores, no errands, just time for ME!
    I am a huge fan of Sally’s and am so thankful for this book (and all her books). I don’t know if I can find a mentor where I am and we plan to move again in about 2 years at the end of residency. During this season, these books are my lifeline and a source of wisdom. Thank you so much!

  • Amber

    I didn’t read your post, only the title, because I originally clicked over to hopefully leave a message saying, “Thank you!” The book is SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH MORE than a book only for mothers who can hire help. There is encouragement for mothers in various places, I being one of them. I have some help, but minimal and it is encouraging. I don’t have hired help and because I am staying at home (vs. working in my profession of physical therapy) with my 2 young children we have not hired help.

    I don’t want to leave a long comment just one that says, “Thank you for your honesty and for partnering with Sally.” Since reading the book I have renewed focus and hope.

  • Annette Honeycutt

    Never once got that impression! I loved the book & this chapter! I think I’m going to read it again. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.mynaptimeponderings.wordpress.com

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    I have not even gotten to read the book (just trying to get through some other books I had already started) and I would NEVER have thought you would ever communicate that just by the summaries of the chapters you have been going over these last few weeks.

    What makes me sad is there must be such a feeling of desperation, and I can write that because I’ve been there, that even if that’s not what you and Sally are communicating, that’s all these poor ladies are reading. I’ve had that tunnel vision. It’s not the truth (although hey! Hiring help helps!) but it’s what we feel and think with each passing day of feeling utterly overwhelmed. :(

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    Oh, and I LOVE the printable!

  • Cynthia

    Thank for all the effort that went into offering this study. What a blessing!

  • Tara Eveland

    I think your suggestions are great, and I’ll tell you that as a wife and mother, and full time running my own business too, I HAD to hire help. At first I tried to do it all myself, but would only get so ran down that I wasn’t enjoying my life any longer. I wasn’t enjoying my kids, my husband, or my job at all. My spare time was spent on dishes and laundry when I really just wanted to spend it with my family. Now that I hired some help I know when she is coming, I have planned my schedule around it, and its just such a relief to know I have help on the way. Also, it was important for me to hire someone that understood, no I am not rich by any means, but what is important to me is spending my free time with my family, and the way to do that was to get some help in other areas that were less important to me. (cleaning was most deff. the first to make that list!), but still had to be done.