I recently honored a decade of motherhood when I celebrated my eldest’s 10th birthday. It’s crazy how fast time flies by when you’re in the middle of sleepless nights, endless diaper changing, multiple pregnancies and births, school and extra-curricular shuffling, and more. One minute it feels like you’re cradling your newborn and the next there’s a tween living in your house texting her friends.
Even though I’ve been a parent for 10 years now, I’ll be the first to admit that I still have no idea what I’m doing. Sure, I feel like I’ve learned how to multitask, change a diaper within seconds and balance a baby on my hip while cooking, amongst other things. Yet, every milestone I pass there seems to be something new to encounter, navigate and learn. The parenting is never fully over and the pressure to be a “good enough” mom never ceases to go away.
Hitting 10 years of motherhood right before welcoming my fifth child into the world has led me to reflect quite a bit on my parenting journey thus far and how I can continue to grow and develop as a mother. Stumbling upon The Better Mom: Growing in grace between perfection and the mess by Ruth Schwenk while browsing my bookshelf seemed like solid ground to fall on to gain encouragement and wisdom for my season ahead.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a fan of fellow Michigander Ruth Schwenk for a while and I actually purchased this book back when it released in 2018 but never got around to reading it. I swear, God always knows exactly what I need to read or hear exactly when I need it the most!
The Better Mom is more than a book, it is spiritual refreshment that is received like a long-awaited coffee date (sans kids) with one of your closest friends. It breathes freedom and purpose into a weary mama’s soul. Each chapter has that “me-too” factor that reminds us we are not alone in our motherhood struggles while directing us back to God’s truth and unending grace.
The Better Mom is comprised of 19 chapters and touches on various stages of motherhood such as feeling stuck in certain seasons of motherhood, experiencing a sense of identity loss, battling fear and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated, fighting the pressure to be perfect or “enough,” the mommy wars (that are possibly harder to win than trying to keep up with the Joneses), plus so much more.
What I really enjoyed was how Ruth used the topics addressed throughout The Better Mom to demonstrate how God uses parenthood as part of sanctification. Followers of Christ are constantly being molded and shaped into who God created them to be and parenting is a big piece of the personal and spiritual transformation process. Another theme I appreciated was acknowledging that just because we are called “mom” doesn’t mean we are not also “called” by our Heavenly Father. Our identity and our purpose are found in Christ, not in who we are or what we do. We are designed for a more type of life and that more is more than being “just a mom” – it is so much more than anything we could ever imagine.
There is much wisdom and encouragement offered throughout The Better Mom! I would recommend this book for moms of any stage and season of life, however, I think it is especially helpful for new moms or for moms with toddler-aged kids. The author herself has four children who are between school-age and teenagers – to me, knowing this made her words very valuable, relatable, practical and inspirational. Still, the majority of the content written throughout this book is something I wish I could have heard a decade ago. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself! 🙂