Writing about motherhood is a tricky thing. How to balance the weight of one’s personal experiences as a mother, and yet not come off as a know-it-all? How does one impart advice to those following after you, with similar problems, and not seem arrogant?
The answer lies in this book. It’s a series of personal essays by a variety of writers on many of the aspects of motherhood/wifehood: divorce, step-parenting, parenting children other than your own, children with disabilities, growing up, teenagers, mistakes, growth, tears, and joy. It’s all faith-based, but not necessarily overtly religious; these are women who are trying to make sense of their lives, of the cards that Fate and God and Choice have dealt them. While reading, it’s easy to relate to and feel for each individual author, learning and growing with her on her journey. Sure, it can be trite: here are the “lessons learned” while experiencing this inevitable trial that came with being a mother. But it never feels saccharine.
While I found merit in all the essays, the ones that resonated with me most were the ones on teenagers. They were equal parts terrifying (really? That much running around and sleep deprivation?) and encouraging (they do turn out okay in the end, right?); they gave me hope and courage that not only am I not in this alone, but also that I can do it. I can raise four girls, and end up sane in the end.
I’m not exactly a reflective person; I tend to take life as it comes and let it flow over me. But this book helped me stop and think and enjoy, for a moment, a little bit of what being a mother and wife can possibly be. Which is exactly why there are books like these.