2013 Reading parenting

Reading 2013: Hope for the Weary Mom

April 19, 2013


A message that seems to be trending in Christian circles (and to a degree, secular, as well) right now is that motherhood is wearisome, messy, and so, so hard. In Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothin seek to apply wisdom and hope from Scripture, drawing from their experience as mothers.

Feeling Weary and Seeing Hope

As I started into this book, I was reminded of how messy, wearying, and overwhelming motherhood can be. Sure, I feel that way from time to time, but I think if I got stuck in the intro portion of the book (especially on a cloudy day), I’d likely feel like this was the constant state of motherhood, or that motherhood = dismal weariness.

Deeper into the book, I did find true encouragement and hope–hope found in God’s Word and the encouragement it brings to our labor, in motherhood and elsewhere. This part was well-written and probably the most helpful portion of the book. Other portions also focused on the fact that due to crises and unique life circumstances “there are moms who experience a weariness that goes far beyond the ordinary.” While I think that this book would be a good encouragement to moms in any situation, I think the best audience probably lies more on this latter category.

Transparent Parenthood

I appreciate the recent upsurge of promoting transparency toward one another, and in motherhood in particular. This is quite the change from just a few decades ago when glossy images of Stepford wives were held up as the frustratingly unobtainable standard. Yet, in this reaction, I fear we have perhaps overreacted. (Though any time there is a pendulum swing in reaction to an old faulty standard, this is to be expected and is often necessary to gain proper momentum and attention.) I wonder if maybe some have gone beyond transparency and instead made it a spill-your-guts free for all. (This article offers some helpful correctives.) I am all for transparency, but sometimes I think we are, one, transparent simply for the sake of the buzzword, and, two, we don’t understand quite what it really means.

It seems there are a number of factors that are making motherhood more wearying than it needs to be for us as Western, modern women with many resources at our disposal. To name a few, it seems that as a culture we experience a widespread lack of margin, hurried lives, living apart from community and extended family, poor health choices, overwhelming information and obsessive choices to make, just to name a few. While the book offered a good bit of encouragement and empathy, I felt it could have offered more practical help and could have furthered acknowledged that, while God may indeed have sovereignly placed some of us in situations we have no control of, there are others of us who need to take action to change our circumstances.

Overall, this is an encouraging book; yet, paradoxically, it has the potential to discourage and keep the focus on equating motherhood with constant exhaustion.

(This review is certainly not intended to mitigate the suffering of weary mothers. Regardless of whether or not we are mothers, most of us face huge trials and difficult seasons in life that often go unseen beneath the surface. This will be true for almost every one of us regardless of how many, or if any, children we have.)

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  • Tracy Penwell April 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I read this, too, and though similarly about the recent “depressed mother syndrome.”