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Motherhood Realized was written by a group of women who want to share a message. That family life is beautiful and motherhood is a privilege. Even though some days it is hard to see that beauty. Especially when you don’t feel you match up, or your heart wants to do more than your hands can manage.
Compiled by women at Power of Moms (a gathering place for deliberate mothers), this book is an anthology that redefines social media’s perception of a “good mom.” It addresses topics like getting through hard times, shifting perspective when needed, savoring moments, becoming your best self, and not comparing but encouraging each other in motherhood. It’s a lovely collection of essays.
Motherhood Realized launched Monday of this week, and is quickly topping the charts. Currently, it has moved into Amazon’s #1 spot for motherhood books, and is the #4 best seller in parenting books. Especially exciting, is that it is close to making the New York Times Bestseller list – a window of opportunity, however, that will close on Saturday, March 29th. So the Power of Moms community is working hard to sell as many copies as they can before Saturday. Please consider buying this book for yourself, sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends. It would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
Books that rank on best-seller lists become topics that get attention in the larger world. So topping national book lists would spark media discussions that explore the power and beauty of motherhood. A result that would benefit mothers everywhere.
None of the authors are making money through this effort. All proceeds go back to Power of Moms to continue building an online community that supports mothers globally.
And if you buy the book this week, you will receive a free gift from Power of Moms. More info here.
A few excerpts:
Your Children Want You by April Perry
There’s this crazy phenomenon going on right now. Good, devoted mothers get on Pinterest (and blogs, and Facebook, and Twitter), and then they flip through parenting magazines and TV channels (full of advertisements and media hype), and they’re convinced they’re not enough.
They’re convinced that everyone else has magnetic, alphabetized spice containers, and unless their garden parties are thematically accessorized with butterfly lanterns, and they’re wearing the latest fashions (in a size two, of course), there’s no point in even showing up for the day…
A few months ago, I was practicing sideways Dutch braids on my two daughters. They had found these great how-to videos online, and we set up our comb, brush, and hair bands in front of the computer so I could become an expert. Halfway through the braid, my fingers got all tangled up, the hair was too loose, and one of my daughters had been sitting with her head to the side for several minutes.
Feeling extremely frustrated, I said, “That little girl in the video is so lucky to have a mom who knows how to do hair.” My daughter stopped me in my tracks when she responded, “But I have a mom who is trying.”
My mother didn’t specialize in home decor or gourmet cooking, and she didn’t lift weights or run marathons. But she makes me feel like I am the most important, wonderful person ever born. If I could pick any mother in the whole world, it would be my mom.
There’s something deeper going on in family life than can ever be expressed on a social network. Whatever it is we feel we are lacking, can we collectively decide-as deliberate mothers-that we are not going to sit around feeling discouraged about all the things we’re not? Can we remind each other that it is our uniqueness and love that our children long for? It is our voices. Our smiles. Our jiggly tummies. 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.
If you ever find yourself looking in the mirror at a woman who feels badly that she hasn’t yet made flower-shaped soap, please offer her this helpful reminder: “Your children want you!”
“Good Mom” Redefined by Allyson Reynolds
What is the definition of a good mom anyway? There are as many answers as there are mothers, and the answers are formed by the mothers who raised us, the places where we grew up, where we currently live, how much media we let into our lives, and even how we’ve been educated. All these influences combine until each of us has our own somewhat self-imposed idea of what constitutes a good mom. And for some of us, we can never match up…
Rather unintentionally, [my default definition] grew over the years as I approached my own journey into motherhood. It didn’t just evolve based on my own generation’s special flavor, it ballooned into an impossibly broad definition that included the domestic goddess as well as the fitness guru, fashionista, home-based business woman, and unstoppable soccer mom.
My definition of what it meant to be a good mom was now spanning two or three generations of Supermoms.
Essentially, I created a monster-an amalgam of Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa, June Cleaver, and Ma from Little House on the Prairie-and it wasn’t pretty. I failed to consider that Martha has only one child (compared to my four), Kelly has a personal trainer and chef, June didn’t drive her kids to twenty-seven activities per week, and no one expected Ma to do yoga each morning before gathering the eggs…
Where could I look for help in creating a new and improved definition of what it meant to be a good mom-a definition that would work for me? Personal history? Popular culture? Pinterest?
The answer was clear. I needed to look within myself.
Of course, there are many resources that can help in the process of becoming a better mother, but ultimately, what it means to be a good mom can only be defined by each individual mother. Since there is no one-size-fits-all definition, it’s probably better to ask the question, “How can I be the best mom I can be?” rather than “What makes a good mom?”
By starting where you are, focusing on your strengths, and doing what you love to do, it becomes easier to let go of the irrelevant or ill-fitting expectations and standards you’ve developed over the years and create your own definition of what it means to be a good mom.
When you start where you are, you put the past in its place and allow yourself to experience success little by little. When you focus on the things you’re already good at, you get a boost of confidence that encourages you to learn new things. And when you do what you love to do, you usually do it well, creating a sense of contentment as well as energy for the less enjoyable things that still need to get done. You can’t go wrong!
Living My Dream by Saren Eyre Loosli
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending an evening with eighty other deliberate mothers at a Power of Moms event called “Live Deliberately: Dare, Dream and Do.”
The night before the event, as I was tucking kids in bed and reminding them about how things were going to work the next day while I was at the event, my eleven-year-old, Isaac, asked me what this particular event was going to be about. I sat down with him and eight-year-old Silas (they share a room) and told them that we’d be talking about our dreams and how to make our dreams come true.
Silas asked, “What are you going to say your dreams are?”
I have tons of dreams and I feel like my kids see me doing work towards them all the time. They see me doing all the “mom” stuff, like helping with homework and volunteering in their classrooms and cooking dinner, that’s related to my big dream of having a family. They see me working on my computer and heading off to events for Power of Moms to support my dream of helping other moms be the moms they really want to be. But I realized that they-and I-don’t often think about how all these actions are related to my dreams.
In a moment of inspiration, I took Silas’s face in my hands, looked him right in the eyes, and said, “You are my dream. I always dreamed of having wonderful, beautiful, fun kids and you turned out even better than I dreamed.” I went on to tell Silas and Isaac how I have tons of dreams and many of them have come true but that they, along with their siblings and their dad, are the most important and most precious dreams of my life.
My heart was so full of love and joy when I shared this truth with my sweet boys that when I left their room, I decided to share the same truth with each of the other kids as I tucked them in bed. I was met with beautiful smiles and hugs and experienced some of my best-ever moments in motherhood that night.
So I went into the event the next day with this beautiful realization: I’m living my dream. And it’s harder and crazier and more complicated and deeper than I dreamed it would be-in fact, there are moments here and there when it feels like a nightmare! Some of my dreams have been put on the shelf for a while at certain points in my life. Some dreams have been dropped in favor of new dreams. But truly, my most heartfelt dreams-that of being a wife and a mother-have come true. I dreamed this. I chose this. I hoped for this. I worked for this. And now, here I am, reaping the consequences, both hard and good, of the dreams I set in motion.
Boys by Katrina Kenison
They grow up. They leave home. And then, of course, they come back.
They return bearing bags of dirty laundry, stray socks, T-shirts you’ve never seen before, strange cords for charging various digital devices. They are different, in a way you can’t put your finger on. Taller, yes, but that’s not quite it. Bigger in some other way; deeper, with knowledge that won’t be shared with you.
They are clean shaven (because they know you love that). They wear their hair short by choice-now that you’re no longer the one saying, “You need a haircut.” They use words like “fundamentalist” and “metaphorical” and are eager to test your knowledge on constitutional amendments and C. S. Lewis. They want to know your thoughts about original sin, and whether you can still scan a line of poetry…
You used to think that you would never get your life back, the one where you got to choose how to spend your own time, or what to watch on TV, or how loud the music in the car should be. But of course, it’s been your life all along, and those little boys were always on their way out the door, growing up and growing away from you, even as they were pressing your buttons and driving you nuts and forgetting their homework and not brushing their teeth.
You wonder if you paid enough attention, if you cherished those days enough, if you ever really grasped the fact that your life was always in the process of turning into something else. You don’t want to be too hard on that younger, more impatient self. But you are perhaps a little wiser now, more attuned to the moment, how precious it is. And so you don’t mind being awake, listening to your husband’s gentle breath rising and falling beside you, the dog’s soft snore, the wind tossing the bare branches outside the window.
Everyone is home, and glad to be here. You give thanks for that.
Realizing Life by Catherine Arveseth
After Doug and I returned home to our five little ones-all asleep-I cracked their doors open and stroked each cheek with Emily’s voice echoing in my head. “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you!” There, in the whisper of the night, I embraced my motherhood and every bit of tenuous longing I had for this gift.
The next day I moved through the house with different eyes. I saw the busy hum of what we were about with fleeting but tangible beauty. It won’t last-can’t last-and will be gone before I know it. So I began to make note of things I saw, felt, and cherished. A scrap of paper here, a note on my calendar there, and some plinking away on the keyboard at day’s end. It took some time. But how could I not do it? Writing it down makes it last.
While washing Sami’s hands, I noticed her dented knuckles, the pudgy softness. The way she lets me slap her paws together-blowing suds onto our faces and shirts. I wondered how long her hands will keep that three-year-old look, how long she’ll let me hold them under warm water, my body bent over hers, before she wants to do it herself.
I noticed how Ali flutters instead of walks. Sailing from room to room, with a song spilling from her lips, she stretches her fingertips out to catch the wind. Teetering, gliding, dancing on tiptoe. My graceful girl, with wild brown curls-floating through our house.
I smelled Eliza’s hair at bedtime. The scent of gritty playground. Wind and dirt all tangled up in fraying ringlets. I felt the heat rise from her body as I tucked my arms around her and sang. She snuggled into her favorite blanket and quickly fell asleep. I kissed her cheek, wishing she could know how much I loved her in that instant. My oldest. My first.
I admired my boys as they took milk from me in the morning. Their eyes closed, softly caressing my arms and neck. The tender sight of their hands clasped together. This won’t last more than a month or two. It’s the closeness I love, the time alone with them, the giggles and tickling after. A quiet dependent circle, all three of us, needing each other.
And then I saw it. Today. The flash of silver in my husband’s hair- glinting in the light as he tossed our son into the air, the two of them laughing deeply. It’s a rite of passage, those flecks of gray. They are symbols of living-a sign that we are aging. Together. My heart flew to him, grateful for his arms around my waist when the house is finally quiet.
Writing about these small things seems to freeze-frame the joy, slow it down so I can return to it, handle it, remember.
I’m no saint, but I’m trying to realize you, Life.
One day at a time.
On this earth that I love.