Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo: A Book Review
When my four boys were all very small, there were days when I could have argued that I was too strict, and then heaped guilt upon myself for being too lenient — all within one hour’s time. When my mind and heart were in the wrong place, mothering was a toxic cocktail of irrational guilt, odious comparisons, and self-condemnation.
Written by mothers for mothers, Mothering from Scratch offers an approach that breathes grace into a mother’s life. Instead of shoe-horning ourselves into someone else’s plan, why not try mothering out of the individual strengths and characteristics that God designed when He made you? The “perfect mother” lives next door to Big Foot and down the road from the Loch Ness Monster. By recognizing this and owning our inadequacies, mothers gain a “unique opportunity to make a gigantic leap in our moral development.”
Kathy and Melinda urge mums to find their comfort zone and then to work at broadening it so that mothers and children grow together. This is a graceful balance between sensible self-care and mature self-denial. Mothers need relationships with other adults and the opportunity to develop personal interests, but they also must set up boundaries to protect the fleeting years when their children need them most. Godly wisdom is necessary for setting these priorities, and every family will look a little different.
At the end of each chapter, thought-provoking questions and suggested action plans make this book a great choice for a mum’s group study. Rich in resources throughout and then finishing off with three pages of suggested books, blogs, and pod casts, Mothering from Scratch is also a practical reference. The authors’ personal anecdotes from their own families are like a warm hand on the reader’s shoulder saying, “We can do this.” Empowered by the Spirit, free of the cookie cutters, and sensitive to the uniqueness of our own family, “there is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.