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Moms are in charge of a lot. We hold multiple jobs. We wear multiple hats. We juggle multiple balls, making sure to keep them all in the air at all times. So, it’s no surprise we try to control everything we can. We make plans, and back-up plans and then emergency plans for our back-up plans, because if we don’t then all those balls could come crashing down with such velocity and with such a domino effect that it could send someone spiraling straight into a full-blown meltdown. And that someone is usually us.
Moms need a cheerleader. A guide. A leader. A chauffeur. A tutor. A mentor. Someone who can reciprocate all the roles a mom fills on a daily basis. We need someone in our corner. Someone who can pick us up and take over control when the going gets tough and we feel like we just might lose our ever-lovin’ minds. Our social media feeds can certainly “feed” the parenting pressure. The mom-anxiety. The Mom-guilt. The feeling that we can’t trust anyone but ourselves and our minivan. And although we may use hashtags like #jesustakethewheel or wear t-shirts that say “this mom runs on coffee and Jesus,” how often do we actually rely on Him as heavily as we rely on our “#dryshampoo?”
Enter, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday by Valerie Woerner. “Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday” confronts the mom-stress head on. Looks it right in the eye and tells it to take a hike. Because, despite what we may see on social media, there’s so much more to motherhood than coffee and complaining about your crazy, misbehaved kids or your good-for-nothin’ husband. Valerie uses Romans 12:2 in the introduction to her latest book, and it’s this very line that had me hooked until I reached the last page. It reads, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” She goes on to to link this verse to the increasing number of memes, posts, tshirts, etc. etc. etc. that spin motherhood into this wild mess of misery. Sure it seems harmless, and we might get a little laugh out of them, but I can assure you this book is much more relatable than those images you see online.
She says we are mom’s, not martyrs, that we are not “victims of motherhood” and that “our children are not inconveniences.” My favorite line from this book reads, “The unpredictability of children is something we should be grateful for, because it reminds us how much we need the one who is really in control.” We, as moms, have so much to be thankful for. So many daily opportunities to find joy in the chaos of raising children. So many moments to find laughter instead of frustration. Sure, there are hard days. There are moments when I think I may not make it to nap time, let alone until 6pm when my husband gets home. There are days when I cry just as much as my toddler does. But those days are far outweighed by the good days. By trips to the library and the zoo and watching them laugh and learn and become these wonderful little people.
That is where God wants us to live, and that is how Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday made me realize that I can find joy everyday by choosing to see everyday moments as joyful ones. In the happy moments that remind us why having the opportunity to raise children is the biggest blessing on earth. In the mayhem that will someday become the peaceful memories of their childhood. In baby giggles and slimy kisses and sticky hands and messy faces. In barefoot dance parties, in laughing while saying “go get your shoes” for the 459th time in twenty minutes and, yes, even in the days when I think things may really come apart at the seams. Because being a little someone’s mama is simply the best job in the whole world and no meme or GIF or website can convince me otherwise. And yes, while this honest review “contains affiliate links,” I can assure you that my motivation for sharing this book with my fellow mamas is not monetary. It is to encourage you to read this book cover to cover, tell a friend about it, then talk about it and invite prayer into your parenting. It hasn’t made me perfect, I will always be a-work-in-progress mom, but it’s certainly made me better.