I loved, loved, loved Real Moms, Making it Up as We Go by Lisa Valentine Clark. It is a quick, easy read, but that doesn't mean it isn't deep and meaningful, too. Lisa is hilarious, down to earth, and genuine. I loved reading what she had to say. She inspired me to be a better mother, and gave examples from her own life that helped me to see how to do just that.
One of my favorite paragraphs:
"It amazes me that most kids today truly don't know how to open up a van door. This happens 100 percent of the time anyone under the age of twenty-one comes into my 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan: They stand in front of the door, waiting for it to open automatically. It doesn't. This car was built before most of them were born. I yell, 'You have to open the door! It's not one of those that open . . . you're just going to have to slide it . . yank it open!' At this point they look confused and inevitably shrug, presumably looking for a doorknob/handle/lever, and about 23 percent of them locate it, but of those 23 percent, none of them can successfully operate it to open the door. Not one. It's the weirdest phenomenon. (Has our reliance on technology atrophied our arm muscles already? Are we living in the future NOW?) They yank. They look confused, and preemptively, while my own kids have been starting at the door or looking aimlessly around at no one in particular, I've been telling them, 'Just do it. Just open the door. Just . . . ' and soon my kids are telling their friends (like its obvious), 'JUST PUSH THE BUTTON AND SLIDE THE DOOR OPEN!' Twelve percent of that group is able to, and I usually sigh at this point. (My youngest, Margaret, always asks me why I sigh so loud. I tell her I'm just trying to catch my breath. Which I am. I'm also reevaluating the choices that brought me to this point. This 'point of sigh.')"
But she's really spiritual, too. For example:
"We mothers are often accused by our children of asking too many questions, of being too intrusive, meddling, smothering, and interfering, but that happens because we often err on the side of loving too much instead of not enough. We love too much. (You're welcome, children.) Is that even possible? Our job as mothers is to love our kids, to teach them, care for them, and prepare them for the journey ahead because we don't know what that road will look like. One of the hiccups in parenting our kids with a prescriptive list is that we can't predict the future. There is so much I want to teach my kids that, if I make a list, not only does it seem overwhelming (although I wouldn't hate it if they all knew how to play the piano), but is conditional on so many things that are out of my control: their choices, the choices of others, accidents, surprises, changes in society, technology, and a million other variables. If I can show them how to find answers to their questions (by studying, learning, and seeking personal revelation through prayer and listening to the Holy Ghost), and where to look for guidance (by studying the scriptures, words of the prophets, and worthy mentors), then they can find their own way to find lasting joy, no matter what the path ahead turns out to be."
I really feel like I could quote this whole book. I can't recommend it enough. Mostly, Lisa made me feel hopeful about the heavy responsibility I bear as a mother. She made me want to get to know my kids better and enjoy their company more. And she did it in the most positive, uplifting, and happy way.
You can find more of Lisa on her Youtube Series, Pretty Darn Funny.