I was recently approached to ask if I would do a book review for the book MOMumental (Worthy Publishing), by Jennifer Grant.
Though this isn't usually the kind of thing I do, I thought, why not?
Why not indeed.
More than just another parenthood/raising a child book for you to chuckle your way through and say to yourself, "Amen! I've been there!", MOMumental is Jennifer Grant's reflections on the grace of family.
Although it's true that it is filled with great parenting pointers and plenty of humor, it is more than that. It is a reminder to slow down, slow your children down, and inhale the moments:
"Too often when we travel at the speed of modern family life,
we're in a blur. We fail to slow down, take a breath, and
see God's grace all around us. Maybe modern families would
do well to clip-clop along like our Amish friends once in a
while instead of strapping ourselves in, tucking in our ear
buds, and keeping our eyes glued onto brightly lit screens as
real life flies by us."
I'll be honest, some of the ways the author proposes we slow down left me feeling a little...judged. Don't we all? All the time? There are so many different types of mothers we're supposed to be: the parent raising academic scholars or Olympic athletes, the newest fashion Mom with blinding white teeth and perfect highlights whose children look like they've been ripped from the pages of a catalogue, the oh-so-crunchy Earth Mamas who wouldn't dream of buying "one-use" items such as disposable diapers or paper napkins. Ms. Grant herself admitted right there in the pages of the book to making the decision to remove the TV so the kids wouldn't be exposed to commercialism. And to buying only high quality toys for her kids, not the cheap plastic junk that fills most houses. And for a moment, I hung my head in shame as I read on, feeling the blush of guilt as I wondered how badly I had damaged my own kids in their formative years.
But I needn't have worried. I soon learned that the author had only fallen victim to the same How To Be A Great Mom pressures we all have, only she acted on those pressures more than I, in my laziness, ever did. With a little experience, and an eye to things that truly mattered, she was able to focus on Being A Good Mom: connecting with her family, and letting her children just be children, and let most of those perfect-Mom pressures fall by the wayside.
Ms. Grant lets her readers know that it's OK to not overanalyze everything our kids say and do. In fact, it's better than OK, it's neccessary. Because sometimes, things have a way of working themselves out much better without our overindulgent micromanagement. She spoke to my large family heart when she said:
" ...one argument in favor of having bigger families. You just don't have the time to fret over each and every thing your child says, does, or feels. Things pass. Fall between the cracks. Get forgotten. And that's okay."
Perhaps my favorite thing from this book is her parenting philosophy about "letting out the rope":
"...visualizing myself literally releasing a skein of rope, foot by foot, as my children grow older."
Can I tell you how much I love this? So much. When they're little, you release that rope verrrrry slowly, inch by inch. By the time they're teens, you can more freely let that rope go. Let them stand on their own two feet, but still tethered, still supported. Love it.
And you will love it.
MOMumental. Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family.
Check it out!
On Barnes and Noble:
Watch for a guest post from Jennifer Grant in the next couple days!
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