One book in one week is a big accomplishment for me. The book was The Myth of the Perfect Mother: Rethinking the Spirituality of Women.
I read this book in order to participate in the Open Discussion, hosted by my friend Linda of Mama Mia McMasters.
After a day or two of reading, I wrote to Linda to tell her I didn't like the book. I was about half way through & considered quitting. But, I didn't. I pressed on through.
I am glad I did. About midway through the book, I think I started to hear her message.
I think Carla's main goal with this book is to identify why so many Christian mothers struggle with serious depression. I do appreciate that. I knew it was a problem. And, after reading this book, I see even more how much of a problem it is. It's huge. The book left me greatly convicted to reach out to the women in my life. But, I didn't think the book gave very many answers to the problem.
The author struggles with depression herself. In that way, perhaps she is uniquely qualified to speak to the problem. She really helped me see into the heart of the struggle.
But, because she still struggles with depression, the book ends without a solution to the issues.
I thought her theological conclusions & historical references were often off the point, or incorrect.
Though, I am no scholar myself.
She blames the Evangelical church for creating this "Perfect Mother" portrait that is false & therefore creating guilt amongst women. Through much of this discussion, I guess I felt a little picked on. She seemed to find the idea of a big, happy, homeschool family to be pretend or something. I'm not sure.
The style of the book is a bit disjointed & there is not a lot of clarity on a lot of the issues brought up.
In her conclusion, she admits to writing with a "crabby" voice. I agree! It did sound crabby. And, I don't know if it helped to bring the message with a crabby voice. Rants & reactions are not very easy to follow.
She talks a lot to the issue of motherhood not being the whole of a woman. I really appreciated this. Motherhood is not the ultimate. It is great. But, not the ultimate goal to reach for. But, the church can often make women feel that way. She addressed the fact that many woman in the church are somewhat cut off from using many of their God-given gifts. If we make motherhood to be the greatest gift, what are we doing to all the women who can never have their own children? They will never be able to serve God in the greatest way? Are they just supposed to wait around, hoping? No. God has something great for them. And it is not inferior to motherhood.
And for the woman who are mothers, is mothering really supposed to consume them completely? Where does the Bible say that they can't or shouldn't use their gifts outside of the home? Being the mother of toddlers doesn't mean that all you like to talk about is potty training & feeding picky eaters.
I am a mother & I love being a mother. But, there are many more parts to me.
The author confesses to being turned off to the idea of "mom's groups" or "play groups". I am so with her. I always think, "I don't like to just talk about my kids all the time & hear everyone else talk about their kids all the time. That would drive me mad."
Maybe I should realize that all those other moms are more than moms. Just like me. Even if they feel completely buried in diapers & midnight feedings, I'll bet there is something underneath it all that they would love to talk about.
Let's try to reach out to the women around us. And get to know more about them. Not just classify them as mother or not-yet-a-mother. There is so much more to all those ladies.
The discussion on the book starts next week, May 10th. If you want to grab the book & join in, go for it. You still have time. The first discussion will just be on the first chapter.