Originally published Thursday, 11 September 2014.
Welcome to the first week of Lisa-Jo Baker’s online book club! For the next six weeks we’ll be chatting and discussing all things motherhood as we go through one of my favorite books, Surprised by Motherhood.
Here’s how it will work over at Lisa-Jo’s blog:
Every Monday: Discussion video posted on the blog – feel free to leave your questions in the comments.
Every Monday Night: Live Q&A discussion with the author on Twitter using the hashtag #surprisedbymotherhood
Every Friday: A Free, Useful, help-you-hold-onto-your-sanity Printable posted on the blog for all book club readers.
This past Monday Lisa-Jo chatted with her friend Lisa Milman about the Intro and first two chapters of the book.
A video of their conversation and a summary of the topics they discussed can be found here.
A recap of Monday’s video and highlights of the Twitter conversation are in a separate post here, where Lisa-Jo talks about the writing process, breaking up with yourself and the freedom to grieve.
When I heard that Lisa-Jo was hosting this book club, I decided to offer the same topic as a Moms Seminar in real life at my church.
Today was our first gathering, and I had a lovely time with five other moms. We talked about expectations, challenges, encouragement and failures. One comment that a friend of mine made had to do with the thanklessness of our task as mothers. She brought it up after I was sharing about my own struggle with a constant desire for affirmation and recognition.
As we all know, the vast majority of motherhood is one long string of thankless tasks. At times, it can be easy to do them with a heart full of discontenment and drudgery. Nobody notices. Nobody expresses gratitude. We just do the work because we have to do it.
Today this friend of mine talked about the freedom that comes when we give up the desire to be thanked for the tasks we accomplish. If we surrender that expectation and desire to be acknowledged, we can see our job as part of the process of sanctification.
That was my food for thought for the day.
Below you’ll find a brief summary of other topics we covered during our time together.
Intro: Why I Wrote This Book: Because You Are My People
Favorite quote from the intro:
“… I’ve discovered three things about motherhood. One, motherhood is hard. Two, motherhood is glorious. Three, motherhood is hard.” (pp. xiii-xiv)
What unhelpful parenting advice have you received?
What do you wish you had done differently as a mother?
Where are you getting encouragement now, as a mom?
Chapter 1: Motherhood is a Superpower
Favorite quotes from Chapter 1:
“It was like discovering a superpower — becoming a mom for the first time. It has led me to believe that motherhood should come with a superhero cape along with the free diaper bag and samples you get when the hospital sends you, otherwise defenseless, home. … But the feeling fades.” (p. 3)
“Motherhood becomes the first test, other than federal taxation, that I thought I was truly going to fail.” (p. 4)
“I didn’t know it then, but I was grieving. I was grieving the loss of a stage of life I’d loved, and I needed directions to navigate into this new one.” (p. 6)
Questions related to Chapter 1:
In what ways do you feel that you have failed as a mother?
How have you experienced that grieving process, that saying “goodbye” to your former life before you became a mom?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thankless tasks of mothering, how do you remind yourself that all of those acts of service are building love?
How can you be a “Natalie” to someone else who is in the throes of motherhood?
Chapter 2: Why You Can’t Possibly Know What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Favorite quote: “…motherhood is a rollercoaster of highs and lows.” (p. 16)
Questions related to Chapter 2:
Which of your expectations of motherhood have been met, and which have been completely different from anything you ever imagined?
What are some of the highs and lows that you’ve already experienced in your role as a mother?
Scripture Passage for Encouragement:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Be encouraged, tired, weary moms — your help comes from the Lord. He watches over you, both now and forevermore.