Some days, I feel like I stepped on an Amtrak Express train going 100 miles per hour. I zoom past stops, that I really should exit for--basic tasks, such as putting away the laundry in baskets all over the house, sorting through out-of-season clothing, and the like; as well as more relational tasks, such as stopping to go outside and watch my sons climb trees, catch butterflies, ride bikes, or play baseball, or make time for a messy indoor activity, such as finger-painting. The hectic pace of my day just never seems like I can jump from the train to enjoy the little side-stops. I fear I'd get run over by the stuff I'm already behind on and desperately trying to catch up with.
Ever been there?
Tracey Bianchi, author of the new book Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood, has. A busy mom, like us, of three, she understands how packed our days can be, and how detrimental this busyness is to relationships, which she argues are absolutely essential to our well-being. Without them, we wither in isolation, amidst "heaps of poop-stained Onesies," she writes. I received a copy of Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood to review from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).
"I want to be the mom who drenches her children with time rather than
hurry. The mom whose presence signals rest and peace rather than
activity and chores. This is how I want my whole family to be known--a
people of rest and grace."
In Mom Connection,Bianchi shows us how creating the right rhythm to our days affords us the time to create these vital connections with others. Chapters focus on connecting with our spouses, children, extended family, female friends, neighbors and communities--both locally and globally. Good things take time, she reminds us, but the main premise I took away is that we need to slow down to savor (or start) relationships!
"Task lists do not have to be barriers to relationships; instead they can be the very source of our connections. If I keep telling myself that I'll call a certain friend or forge a special connection once things slow down a bit, the reality is that it may be a very long time before that happens. Perhaps calling that particular person is what it will take to actually slow down!" (page 44).
Bianchi's writing style is highly-energetic and conversational. You'll feel like you're sitting down with an upbeat friend who has a perky perspective, which will leave you feeling inspired. But I had to laugh when she used the word "spaziness" in a sentence, because it's conversational to our culture, but it isn't technically a word. (Because I worked as a writer and an editor, I tend to read books with an eye to details such as that. I found a few small typos, but that's not her fault, and it doesn't detract from the book as a whole).
However, I should note that reading this book requires some understanding of current pop-culture, otherwise you won't get some of the jokes. For example, Bianchi references Tyra (model Tyra Banks) without explanation (assuming most readers will get it) and "McManus's son." Maybe I've been orbiting in outer space, but I had absolutely no clue what the story of McManus' son was all about (so I googled it, and I'm still lost).
Technical criticism aside (which, again, is geared more to her editor), this is a fabulous book. It really has me thinking about some simple changes I can make in my life, such as being more willing to ask for help from others (even though it feels scary), buying Popsicles from the store to live an invitational life for friends and neighbors (creating that front porch culture), and mostly, slowing down enough so I can exit gracefully from the train to take time to connect with my kids. Through her book, I think I'm finding a better rhythm to my days. And I'm grateful for it.
MOPS generously sent me a copy to give away to one of you. If you would like to check it out, please leave a comment on this post, and I will pick a name randomly next Tuesday and post the winner.
The Better Mom Mondays
Gratituesday @ Heavenly Homemakers
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