Book Review- My Other Name Is Mom

I find it ironic that I have been trying to get this blog ready to send out for nearly a week! It normally takes a day or two till I get it wrote up, analyzed and edited by myself and Jerald and then I like to sleep over it at least once. But this time! It’s not because I was having editing problems or such like. It’s because I’m a Mom! Other things totally took priority and I feel as though I’ve been spinning tires in regards to this blog post. Actually, more like the Levite who “passed by on the other side.” Literally! I saw my tablets and books cluttering up my desk on the other side of the kitchen, and I just went on by for several days!

Today I had an excellent morning of sewing while my one year old took a precious two hour nap! In fact, I was able to get so much done in those two hours, that I very sporadically decided to take the children to a nearby park to play in the water. It was a little more than I had planned on, with Reece being a big time water lover. He wanted his life jacket on and then off and then on then off. He loved to just plunge in and splash so hard his face got soaked more than a little, but he was not to be daunted. I finally sat right down in the water with him because it was just too dangerous to leave his side even for a moment; life jacket on or off! I was not planning to get so wet myself, but… And the sand mess!! Oh how wet sand clings for hope of a better life! After swimming, we occupied the play set for awhile so that shook off some sand but plenty came along home. So there were baths and a load of wash. The kitchen sink and bar is cluttered. The sewing rooms a mess. Jerald came home with a 10 lb. box of blueberries and five zucchinis. (Yes these are wanted zucchinis, not secretly dumped in his truck!) I’m glad for the produce of course but right now my fridge is full! I mean FULL. It’s chaotic! And where am I going to put these blueberries?! (Hmmm. Seems to me I read a blog post this summer on organizing your fridge. I should probably check that out because mine needs help about now!) Another thing, it’s well nigh time I ought to be getting some food on the table for supper and here I sit typing away! (It won’t take long to get supper on because my fridge is so full, remember?!) I told Jerald just this afternoon I need one of those machines like The Cat In The Hat with all those extra arms so I can do everything at once! Also, It’s a gorgeous day and I would love to be out mowing yard but that’s not even an option. And I really hoped to get another dress cut out today but it think it will remain a hope unseen. Yesterday was brim full too, but I won’t start on that!

Does this scenario sound familiar? Are you a Mom? (And I know you don’t need to be a mom to be swamped with work, but moms usually are!)

This summer I was gifted the book, My Other Name Is Mom written by Mary Burkholder. Have you read it? I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it for any mom! Here are some of the highlights for me.

I’ll begin with a couple sentences from her foreword that really sum the book up well…

* Being a good mom does not mean being perfect. A good mom loves God, cares about her children, and does her best. And that’s enough.

That was so encouraging to me! So often guilt plagues me for whatever reasons as I review my day. And these words just beautifully sum it up. Loves God. Cares about her children. Does her best. Also, let go of perfection! Perfection I’m referring to is perfection in things like house work, cleaning/ organizing, cooking, gardening, sewing and such like. No, not sloppiness but be ok with the less than perfect! We forget we live in an imperfect world and life will, many times, NOT be perfect!

*In chapter 2 entitled If You Don’t Want Children, she discusses our desires for or against children. Of course we want children! (Or we should want children!) It’s just that it’s not always pleasant. No one enjoys labor, a colicky infant, or a fussy, teething toddler. But it’s part of children and we can not go by our feelings! We must be willing to sacrifice our own desires for the good of our children.

* The Christian life is not about doing what we want to do; it’s about giving and serving and finding fulfillment in doing so.

*Chapter 7 called, Romance? What’s That? She writes, The romance level in every couple’s relationship will take a hit when they begin a family. That’s normal. But it doesn’t mean your love life is over. It means you have to make adjustments. The stresses of children in the home can strengthen your bond and teach you more about being selfless. A healthy, stable marriage doesn’t mean endless fun and romance. True love means sacrificing our own needs. It means caring, and speaking civilly when it would be easier to be cross and “touchy” and vent our frustrations on each other.

*Chapter 11 she covers the Supermom Myth. A woman trying to be supermom is tired, lonely and easily upset. Her children are insecure and anxious, overly worried about their performance. Children don’t want a supermom: a regular one is great, thank you. How do we stop trying to be supermoms? A few of her bits of advice on that is;

*Stop striving for perfection. We can improve as we open ourselves to improvement, but we won’t ever get perfect. We need to get this into our heads.

*Be realistic with limitations. This includes accepting help as well as learning to say “no” to outside obligations and interests. Our family and our home should always take priority with us.

*Discern the necessary from the extras. A woman who is trying to be supermom usually ends up doing things that are unnecessary and unimportant.

*Slow down and enjoy life. The wannabe supermom rushes from one task to the next, always planning her next move. Ooh! I didn’t think I was trying to be supermom but this sounds way too much like me. Roaring around at a high rate of speed so I can be sure to get the work accomplished! Even as I was making notes for this blog the other day, I was scribbling so fast I could scarcely read my own writing! Slowing down is definitely necessary for me. But I really do like to make my moves count too!

*In chapter 13 she writes about Mommy Guilt. A cloud of guilt can hang out in the back of our minds, keeping us in doubt as to whether we read enough stories, give enough hugs, cook a healthy enough diet, or discipline enough. Sounds so familiar, right?! Who else out there knows exactly what this is talking about? It is certainly something I struggle with.

*Living in guilt renders us incapable of being effective mothers. If we convince ourselves we can’t do a good job, we are sure not to.

*I really enjoyed chapter 19 on Happy Homemaking. She lists challenges to homemaking as well as some tips to getting organized. I personally love organizing and creating lists but still sometimes feel like a hamster on a wheel. But at least getting things on paper gives my head a bit of a break!! In order to be effective homemakers, we must take care of ourselves. Running ourselves ragged for our families is not managing well. We should not be slaves to the system.

Something else she mentioned that really helped me put things in perspective was this. Family first, food next and then clothing/laundry. Things like cleaning, organizing and sewing can get pushed further down the list. Of course I should know this but I can get so caught up in a project, even something that is necessary such as cleaning or sewing, that I nearly forget myself! And sometimes, because I love to sew or write, or whatever it may be, I’m speeding along at 90 mph, when I need to exercise discipline to stop and go cook supper! ( like, right now! Hey, I’m going in just a minute or two!) Food for my family is more important. What I’m doing at the moment, can usually wait.

The last portion of the book she includes a Homemaking survey on various aspects. I love practical tidbits like that and found it interesting and helpful!

I enjoyed this book so much that I have decided to do a drawing and give one away! So, here are the rules…

1. One entry per person- this could be yourself or a busy mom you know who would enjoy the book

2. Send an email to jeraldsflower@gmail.com with the name and a mailing address.

3. The book will only be shipped within the US or Canada

4. Entries must be submitted by Sunday, August 16, 2020

This book can be purchased here or at your local Mennonite bookstore

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