Books I Read: September

Ok so mayyyyyyyyybe the last book was solidly in October. But I’m pretty certain I will have 3 ~other books to count for October, and I’m late writing this post so we’re gonna count it. September was super busy, and the books I read on vacation were pretty much it. I listened to a lot of podcasts though, and one audiobook so my brain felt very fed.

I will never stop preaching the importance of audiobooks and podcasts for mothers. There is an amazing set of podcasts and books out there for something YOU love. Go find it! Listen in the car, as you fold laundry, as you clean your kitchen, while taking a much-needed spa style bath. You can learn something, laugh, get super engrossed, forget the world, get inspired, become informed, or just feel like you’re an adult and not a mom machine. Seriously. For your mental health. Listen to something good. Hit me up and I guarantee together we can find something you’ll love.

The Magic of Motherhood

This anthology shares motherhood experiences from all walks of life, all types of parenting situations, all categories of children. Bloggers and writers share key experiences and lessons in motherhood, such as the pain of a miscarriage, the uncertainty of adoption, the change in a marriage, the fear of a diagnosis, and the breathtaking overwhelm of love. Above all and through it all… motherhood is magic.

My best friend lent this to me seriously MONTHS ago and it sat on my shelf, waiting patiently behind the more urgent reads from the library with due dates. Finally I slipped it into my bag as we headed out the door on vacation to Bear Lake, where I read it at every free minute between snuggling my girls and gazing at our gorgeous view. Which is the perfect way to read it. I found myself crying, laughing, and opening my perspective to include all the varieties of motherhood and the potential of my own.

Good

  • Multiple perspectives. I haven’t spent a ton of time even thinking about adoption, but a few of the stories focused on various perspectives of adoption and it really touched me. Same with an interracial family, a family with children with Autism, and those facing years of infertility.
  • Compassion. The biggest undercurrent of this anthology is compassion. For ourselves, other moms, our children, other children. It’s just really good at expanding horizons and eliminating barriers.
  • My friend mentioned a few stories that stood out to her, and they were totally different than ones that stood out to me. I think every single mother or potential mother will find a story or two which speaks directly to her, which she needs to hear.
  • Glue & Glitter – one of the stories is about a mom who says she’s the glue and her husband is the glitter. He’s the fun one, the patient one, the loving one. She’s the one who gets everyone their flu shots, lunches packed, everywhere on time, dressed appropriately in clean clothes. SURPRISE that one hit home, except we call it “Disneyland Dad.” Ryan is the glitter, and I am the glue. I worry about it a lot – that I’m not fun enough, soft enough, patient enough. But in the story she goes in to check on her sick son in the middle of the night and without waking he responded to her touch “Mom?” and she knew that her efforts were known, appreciated, and worthwhile. I can’t tell you how much I needed to read that.
  • This book is designed to be a gift for a new mom, and I think it’s a great one. If you’re looking for a unique and useful baby shower gift – highly recommend.
  • PLUS It’s pretty. The design is gorgeous. Excellent coffee table book.

Less Good

  • I guess I was looking for something specific and didn’t see it – large families. I have been thinking a lot about family size, child spacing, that kind of thing. It would be nice to see that represented in this book, but it didn’t feel like it was.
  • Strangely I didn’t feel like there was much at all about postpartum depression or anxiety. There was a story about anxiety, and a lot of stories about the tough days/stages of parenting, but I really feel like something like this should include more explicit discussion about postpartum depression and anxiety.

The Best Yes

In this religious self-help book, Lysa Ter Keurst shares strategies, reasoning, and motivation for making the best choice for you. Not saying yes to everything, not saying no to everything, but for giving YOUR. BEST. YES. Your best yes leaves you, your whole tribe, and the requesting party with the best possible circumstances – mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. If you struggle with saying no or you feel crushed with overwhelm, The Best Yes can show you how to get your life back.

This book freakin resonated with me. I listened to it over the course of a week and that was perfect for listening in pieces and processing. The whole message of this book is that it actually ISN’T Christlike to say yes to everything and everyone, and if you’re not consciously choosing the BEST yes then you’re saying NO to a lot of possibilities. This flips the script on a big message in modern Mormonism and mommyhood – say yes, help every single person, if you can physically do it then YOU SHOULD DO IT, put yourself out there and take every single opportunity that might possibly cross your path!!!!!!! NOPE. That’s not what God has in mind for you, or your family who have to deal with a stressed out and exhausted mom, or the people you sweep in to save, or the people who won’t like you no matter how many times you say yes to their pointless demands.

Good

  • This book is definitely rooted in Christian principles, which helped me a lot because this kind of behavior is super rooted in religion for me. BUT the principle stands as standard self-help and is applicable even if you aren’t super religious.
  • She uses a lot of applicable anecdotes and examples of issues you might encounter. It’s not just about saying no to the pushy PTA mom. It’s also about leaving space for the things you love, the people you love, and the future God may have planned for you.
  • Biggest Takeaway: If someone is going to be mad if you say no… they wouldn’t actually be that happy when you said yes!!!! The idea that my value is set on my ability to say yes or do what people need is so so so so so so so so so soooooooooooooo dangerous!!!
  • Sometimes the only reason to say no to something is that you don’t have the emotional resources. Does that sound dumb? Maybe. BUT IT MATTERS. If you keep saying yes to stuff that you ~technically can do, but you’re emotionally out of gas – the effects will be bad for you and those you love. It’s ok to say no if you don’t have the emotional resources.
  • “Chase it Down.” I loved this! She talks about “chasing down” our choices. When you’re going to make a choice or you want to examine your current path – chase it down. Where will this lead? What will this choice mean for me and my family and my friends and my coworkers? Not that you need to be critical of everything, but you can’t just assume saying yes is the best thing for everyone – what negative things could happen if you continue on this path?
  • What if saying no to someone is the best thing for them? Sometimes we enable people. Sometimes we step in too quickly. God might have something better for them. They might be missing out on the feeling of need and dependence on God or others. I had never thought about it like that.
  • I just really appreciated that she framed saying no in terms that didn’t feel selfish or miserly or cold.

Less Good

  • It’s pretty preachy. Lots of “Show me, Lord!” and scriptures. A bit much for my taste, but that’s kind of her thing.
  • Luckily for me I’m a Christian mom with a side hustle. If you don’t fit that category this book doesn’t do a great job of generalizing the message. Which is disappointing, because I think it’s a super applicable and necessary message for anyone in any circumstance! With just a little editing this book could have reach a wider audience, in my opinion.
  • She spent a lot of time on knowledge vs wisdom vs insight vs blah blah and would have done better to focus on things like “how to say no when it’s hard” and “looking for your best yes in a sea of choices.” She hits those, but I’d have liked more.

My Lady Jane

It’s hard enough being 16 without suddenly becoming queen of England, experiencing a coup, learning your beloved cousin is dead, and your brand new husband is… a horse??? It’s complicated.

This book came recommended by a few people and I’m so glad I impulse-checked it out at the library! Hilarious young adult fantasy-historical-fiction-romance. It was so much fun to read, and the perfect book to break up some of the heavier or more emotional reads lately.

Good

  • So hilarious. We’re talking literal LOLs throughout.
  • This would make a great audiobook read I’d think!
  • The romance is cute and totally PG/PG13
  • Feminist undertones, I’m always here for that!!!
  • The history teacher in me is obsessed with ~good historical fiction. Yeah, this has all these fake fantasy additions, but the bones are true historical facts which I like.

Less Good

  • About 3/4 through I got a little bored and had to push through. Fighting the bear and the France part seemed to go too fast and felt far-fetched, but overall it was ok to push on through it.

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What do you think?