excruciating detail – unusual for me – I knew that I would be a Mama someday. And then after ten years of happily married togetherness, we looked at each other and said, “so that parenting thing, we should probably get on that, no?” That was all the planning we put into it. We won’t be intentional. We won’t worry. We won’t plan. We’ll just do it until it happens. So much for not worrying. I realize in retrospect that it happened pretty quickly. We were blessed. We started officially not “not trying” in January, and by the 4th of July we knew we had a baby on the way. And then I started planning. In excruciating detail. I was a marketing project manager at the time, so I had a binder – a large, color coded, branded one. Including a birth plan with scope management; project sheets; spreadsheets; cross-referenced lists; and an alphabetized, organized, prioritized phone lists. Dang it, I had a moment-by-moment birthing playlist set; my child bursting forth into this world to the sounds of Creed’s With Arms Wide Open. Yeah. This will give you an idea of how I intended mothering to work for me.
The reality is so far from that binder that it’s almost hilarious. Or maybe it’s just so normal and what I had in mind was hilarious. The more I mother, the more I’m inclined to believe the later. Anything you plan – the way you think motherhood is going to go – that plan is kind of hilarious. Because you don’t know. From beginning to end, you don’t know. I only have my one, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s the same if you have more than that. Because each one is so unique and special in their own way. You don’t know. You can only pray; ask for grace; and trust that perhaps two percent of the good stuff that you try to push into your tired Mama brain from all the terrific books, articles, and blogs will stick. And between that and what you learned along the way – and if you’re really fortunate – from the ones who come alongside you, you and your baby are going to be just fine.
And because everyone needs someone to come alongside them – at their most tired, and most low, Lisa Jo Baker, a well-travelled mom of three who never thought she’d be a mom, has written Surprised By Motherhood. It’s not a how to book on motherhood, it’s a “yes you can” affirmation that no matter where you are in your mothering journey, you too can be the one in the superhero cape. Even while covered in ketchup splotches and stray socks.
There is an authentic honesty in her voice that talks about the joy of mothering that makes us laugh – even at 2 a.m. in the midst of projectile vomit. That same voice speaks true and reminds us that with the joy comes the anger and sometimes grieving of a stage in our life that is no longer ours. I think that’s the part (on page six), when I knew that no matter what my other worries were, this book was for me. I continually wrestle with “how much of myself do I need to give up in order to be a good Mama?” And Lisa Jo is there to hug me and say, not give up, just give different, so they can be better.
There is a comfort to know that someone else gets it. Someone else knows what the pain and the heartache looks like. Even someone who looks for all the world like she has got her stuff together and is miles above all the vomit, and the poop, and the dirty laundry. This woman – this wonderful mother – she laughs out loud all the time and tells us tired moms that she doesn’t. And that it’s okay. That there’s grace, and cake, the soft palms of your babies as they stroke your face, and a community of moms just like us that are here to do this brave, mighty mothering thing with us.
Because no matter how old you are or how old your kids are, it still feels pretty fantastic to have someone tell you that motherhood (and you) deserve a medal, a superhero cape, and likely, a chocolate sundae.
I hope that you’ll run right out now and order a copy of Lisa Jo’s book, Surprised By Motherhood from your favorite bookseller. You’re going to love it. You’ll probably want to get one for any of the new mothers in your life, and frankly for your best friends who are in the mothering trenches with you.
As a special treat – because it was such a treat for me to be on this launch team – I am hosting my very first give-away on the blog. I’m giving away one copy of Lisa Jo’s book, Surprised By Motherhood, plus this absolutely adorable pendent from Origami Owl. It’s a medium silver locket with a cherry charm. I noticed that someone had sent a similar necklace to Lisa Jo (notice the whole cherry theme – so darling!) and wanted to get my hands on one. What makes this extra-special is that the cherry charms have just been retired (sad face, but lucky winner!) and are no longer available. My good friend and Origami Owl rep, Susan Fleury, was kind enough to chase one down for me, and I’m so pleased to be able to offer this as part of the prize. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below, and on Saturday morning (April 5), I’ll announce a winner.
Get the first three chapters for free right here