As a mother who stays at home with her kids, I must admit, I have had these awkward moments when asked what I do for a living. After answering “Oh, I’m a stay-at-home mom," I see the slight frown and the look of pity and then accept the abrupt shift in the conversation to the weather.
I also admit that in response to that question I have downplayed my motherhood and replied with “I’m a writer”. (So cool and bohemian sounding.) Or, “I’m a youth group leader”. (Never mentioning that I’m a volunteer.)
To be honest my full-time vocation is a mother to my children. But looking around at our culture, it’s not easy to find anyone who will affirm the importance of motherhood, a voice that will state, without apology, that being a mom is the grandest career a woman could have.
That’s why I so appreciate Tracey Lanter Eyster’s book, Be The Mom. Overflowing with good-natured advice and encouragement, Eyster clearly communicates her love of motherhood. Seriously, this book bubbles over with the kind of “Hey-I- know-what-you’re-going-through-and-I’m-in-your corner” inspiration that will make you want to run out into the street and shout OH YEAH, I’M THE MOM! Well, okay, I’m exaggerating somewhat. But if you are a mom struggling with your momhood, this book is a shot in the arm.
Not that Be the Mom is a cover-to-cover pep talk. Far from it. Eyster, chapter by chapter, points out the traps that moms can fall into that can damage their relationships with their family and take the wind out of their self-confidence. From the “Just a Mom” Trap to the “Supermom” Trap, Eyster analyzes those perceptions of motherhood that can tie moms up in knots and cause anxiety-induced thoughts of self-doubt at three in the morning.
Be The Mom is a book that could have easily become a study in maternal shortcomings - the kind of book that makes you not want to a get out of bed in the morning. But Eyster has the gift of encouragement with a coaching-not-criticizing approach.
Sure she points out the pitfalls of the “Martyr Mom” Trap, but she makes you feel like she’s right in there with you, urging moms on to see the big picture – to see what a gift from God motherhood really is.
Although Be the Mom is primarily a book that encourages the stay-at-home mom, Eyster certainly does not overlook the mom working full-time out of the home. She admits some moms do have to work, but being the mom should always be of primary importance.
Speaking from experience, being the mom has come with some life adjustments for Eyster, who shunned the corporate ladder in favor of Chutes and Ladders, but she makes it clear, even through the most frustrating and difficult times, it is worth it.
Advanced reader copy from Focus publishing through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.