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.
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.