Archives For Mothering

 

Mommy Guilt, Work,
and The Role of Women

A Review of

A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World
Katelyn Beaty

Hardback: Howard Books, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Ashley Hales

 

I didn’t actually expect to love Katelyn Beaty’s book, A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, The Home, and the World. You see, my own relationship to work is complicated. I’m a stay-at-home mom (at least from the outside) living in the middle of suburbia, helping my husband plant a church in a neighborhood miles from where we each grew up. It doesn’t look like I’ve done much with my life. Sure, I can point to my Ph.D. from a prestigious university in Scotland, my few years lived overseas, our years of ministry in Salt Lake City, as things that make me interesting — evidence that I’ve worked, I’ve made my mark on the world. I squeeze writing a book into the wee hours. But since my weekly routine involves grocery shopping, caring for four little children, and managing homework, I thought I’d find more mommy guilt. I was expecting to either feel shame for the form my mothering takes (“Why aren’t you using your Ph.D.? We need more women in the academy!”) or feel that the portfolio life I’m living (balancing life as a writer, pastor’s wife, mother, volunteer) was somehow less consequential than a 9-5 job.

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Anne Lamott - Some Assembly Required You Look Beautiful in that Grandson

A Feature Review of

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.

Anne Lamott.

Hardback: Riverhead Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Heather Grady.

A portion of this review is included in our current print issue.
(Which is in the mail to subscribers now! Are you a subscriber? )

[ Watch a video of Anne talking about this book…]

I began to write this review halfway through listening to the audiobook version of Some Assembly Required as I traveled back from a trip to North Carolina. I was pondering the adjectives I could insert to describe the ever profound, yet laughable tales of Anne Lamott. I had waited anxiously for this follow up to Operating Instructions – her journal of her son’s first year. What a joy it had been to come to know the crazy cast of true life characters that made Anne and Sam’s “family” of blood and choice. The vivid illustrations of her first time mothering mistakes were engaging and endearing. How could this book disappoint with Sam, Anne’s son, that baby I fell for in Operating Instructions, co-authoring? Yet, even with the treat of Sam and Anne narrating the audiobook, it did.

The first half of the book lived up to my high expectations. Anne writes from a place of division – devastation and worry about her so young son and his girlfriend Amy (they were 19 and 20 respectively) and their impending parenthood; and her enthusiasm at the notion of becoming a grandmother while wishing the timing were ten years later. She narrates so well the birth of Jax around whom a makeshift family–including Amy and her parents who would visit from North Carolina – is created. How as Jax enters the world, Anne falls for Amy and after he appears, Sam falls for Jax and of course, the grandparents fall for “the loveliest baby boy.” Anne describes meeting Jax: “I felt as though I was seeing a river gorge, from way up on high on a bridge, silenced by the vastness of his tiny face, the depth of his brown-black eyes.”

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“The Vanguard of Social Change

A review of

Radical Homemakers.
By Shannon Hayes
and
The Missional Mom.
By Helen Lee.

Review by Sara Sterley.


RADICAL HOMEMAKERS - Shannon HayesRadical Homemakers:
Reclaiming Domesticity from Consumer Culture.

By Shannon Hayes

Paperback: Chelsea Green, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Paperback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Read an excerpt of this book

The Missional Mom:
Living with Purpose At Home
And in the World
.
Helen Lee.
Paperback: Moody Books, 2011.
Buy now:
[ ChristianBook.com ]
[ Amazon – Kindle]

MISSIONAL MOM - Helen LeeI’m a relatively new mom: our son will be two in July. Most of the time, I’m still wondering  to myself how it is that we’re supposed to be responsible for this new little life, especially since he has actually started to develop opinions of his own as of late. My husband seems much more confident and capable than me thus far. In the midst of this uncertainty, I’ve also been struggling with how best to incorporate and find time for pursuing the justice-related passions that my husband and I were so involved with prior to becoming parents. Two recent books have challenged me to rethink some of my preconceived notions about motherhood, homemaking, and what it means to live out my mission in the here and now.

I read Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes over a weekend several weeks ago. Several of my favorite bloggers had recommended it over the last few months, and I finally got my hands on a copy. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but the book really shook me up, in the best kind of way. Hayes articulated for me much of what I’ve been thinking and wrestling with in the back of my mind, but had yet to come to any coherent conclusions. I’ve been pushing copies on everyone I know and working it into the most random of conversations.

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The Mother
L.M. Montgomery

Here I lean over you, small son, sleeping
Warm in my arms,
And I con to my heart all your dew-fresh charms,
As you lie close, close in my hungry hold . . .
Your hair like a miser’s dream of gold,
And the white rose of your face far fairer,
Finer, and rarer
Than all the flowers in the young year’s keeping;
Over lips half parted your low breath creeping
Is sweeter than violets in April grasses;
Though your eyes are fast shut I can see their blue,
Splendid and soft as starshine in heaven,
With all the joyance and wisdom given
From the many souls who have stanchly striven
Through the dead years to be strong and true.

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An excerpt from

Radical Homemakers:
Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture
.
Shannon Hayes.
Paperback: Chelsea Green, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon – Paperback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Read our above review



 

“A Window into a Different Kind of Living

A review of
One Thousand Gifts:
A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
.
By Ann Voskamp.


Reviewed by Zena Neds-Fox.

1000 Gifts -  Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts:
A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
.
Ann Voskamp.

Hardback: Zondervan, 2011.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ] [ Kindle ]

[ Read an Excerpt here… ]

Ann Voskamp wrote a book.  And that’s a big deal because people wait for Ann’s words.  About six years ago she started scratching out words in the dark on a dark screen during the dark days of motherhood.  She began a daily blog that has changed as she has.  She lives on a hog farm in Canada, raising six children and writing out the daily life of waking, working and loving.  She embodies a motherhood that has struck a chord with women reading alone in the midst of the messes of their own figurative hog farms and children waiting to be fed.  Her blog became an international sensation for one reason and one reason only.  This girl can write.

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320364: Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet A Brief Review of

Green Mama:
The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet

By Tracey Bianchi
Paperback: Zondervan, 2010.

Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Jeni Newswanger-Smith.

It’s hardly a secret that evangelical Christians have arrived late to eco-awareness and environmental protection.   Thankfully, more and more of us have embraced care of creation as part of our God-given responsibility; a way to work, quite literally, for the Kingdom of God.  In her book Green Mama, Tracey Bianchi offers multiple ways to incorporate better care of the environment into our everyday lives.  She supports her information with solid research and softens the fear with compassion and understanding for those who might not be ready to make big steps, yet.

Bianchi, herself a mother of 3 young children, understands some of these facts and some of the research she writes about can become overwhelming.  She encourages the reader to avoid compassion fatigue, both in oneself and in thrusting it upon our children.

Bianchi addresses a wide range of topics, from teaching one’s children to simply love the earth by learning about local animals and habitats to ways in which less chemical-laden products can be used to clean our homes.  She isn’t naïve, she knows all these things may be super overwhelming for the newly convicted, and she repeated advises the reader to pick just one or two things to change at a time, in order to avoid giving up. At the end of each chapter, Bianchi suggests some ways to evaluate your current choices and then make minor changes (e.g., shorter showers, reusable water bottles, reading labels thoroughly, buying more organic produce).

Bianchi offers many way to further your own research, through other books as well as online resources.  Each chapter includes multiple additional resources (websites and books).  Her “Green Mama Guide” at the back of the book is an additional easy way to find out more information.

Overall, Green Mama is an invaluable resource for people beginning to explore how to take seriously God’s command to care for creation.  It would also work well as a check point for people who may have gotten bogged down on the journey.