Shocking, right? Well what prompted this grand revelation is that, though I read all of these essays before when I was helping to edit the initial manuscript, totally different essays stand out to me now.
I first found Power of Moms when I was a discouraged new mother with a colicky baby. I was adjusting to a very new life as a homemaker, and during those long winter days when the weather was too awful to get out much, I sometimes turned to Pinterest to fill the time. I would get totally overwhelmed by all of the beautiful and delicious-looking recipes, the money-saving tips, and the advice about chore rotations to keep your home spotless. Is this what I was supposed to be able to accomplish as a stay-at-home mom? So many other moms that I knew seemed to be able to get decent meals on the table and keep their homes deep-cleaned. As my baby screamed in my arms and I looked around at my messy apartment, I felt like I was failing.
Then I read Your Children Want You, an essay written by the founder of Power of Moms, which assured me that "...it is our uniqueness and love that our children long for...it is our voices. Our smiles...Of course we want to learn, improve, exercise, cook better, make our homes lovelier, and provide beautiful experiences for our children; but at the end of the day, our children don't want a discouraged, stressed-out mom who is wishing she were someone else."
The whole essay, in which she shared tender, real moments with her own mother and her own children, spoke to my heart and reassured me. Reading that essay lead me to search for other articles and resources on the Power of Moms website which were invaluable to me during my adjustment-period to motherhood.
Now as I read that same essay, though I still think it's so well-written and such an important and timely topic for mothers, it doesn't resonate as much personally. I've matured as a mother; I don't compare myself as often as I used to or hold myself to such an impossible standard; I've learned that I can focus on my talents instead of wishing that I had others' that just don't come naturally to me. (And I've stopped looking at Pinterest altogether because it just makes me feel overwhelmed.)
So while I enjoy reading that essay now, there are others that speak more to my current stage of mothering.
For example, the essay Love Loans describes one mother's experience of feeling totally exhausted by caring for the needs of her young family and catering to the requests of her toddlers. This, I understand. Noah has been unusually whiny, needy, and defiant lately, and though I know this is normal two-year-old behavior, sometimes I feel like I just can't do another moment of being patient. Not one more moment. The author of Love Loans reaches a similar point with her children--"there wasn't an ounce, sliver, or tiny shred of patience left in me." But then, as she was putting her son to bed and "mechanically" going through the motions, "sweet mercy of miracles...the love came unbidden, bubbling up and over, into the cracks of my consciousness." She suddenly realizes, "...I have a Partner in this mothering that I do. A Partner who helps me, lifts me up, and loans me love when I'm certain I've run out."
Love Loans is the only essay in the book that is religious, and I love it. That last line gives me goosebumps because I have had moments like this--moments when I've received a "love loan" from my Father in Heaven because I literally have nothing left to give. He fills me up and makes me more than I am on my own. He allows me to feel the incredible, overpowering love that He has for Noah and for me, and somehow, I am able to make it through the umpteenth reading of The Cat in the Hat that month, or the 3,000th shriek of "But why????" I've heard that day, or the third messy underwear accident I've cleaned up that week (true story--this happened this morning), without completely losing it.
This is what the essays on Power of Moms, and in their book Motherhood Realized, have done for me--they've given me something to think about and relate to during the different moments and stages of my mothering.
I will admit that as I've promoted this book this week, I've started to feel a bit self-conscious. What if other people don't like it as much as I do? My sister, after ordering one for herself and several for her friends, asked, "Do you promise this is actually a good book?" Hahaha...no pressure or anything!
I've thought about her question, and the answer that I've come to is, yes, it's actually a good book. It's written by varied mothers with varied experiences. Will every single essay in the book resonate with you, your personality, and your current mothering experience? I doubt it. But I sincerely believe that some will. And I believe that others may start to apply more as your stage of life changes. At least that's the experience I've had.
So that's my disclaimer about the book and my review of it. If you think this book is something you would enjoy reading, you should order a copy of it today (Saturday). Today is the last day of pre-sales which will determine if the book makes the NY Times Bestsellers' List. Apparently we are close which is exciting.
Okay, off to play with my little cherub now. As hard as he can be at times, he really is my favorite.