Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom
SURPRISED BY MOTHERHOOD – Book Sample
Contents – SURPRISED BY MOTHERHOOD
- Why I Wrote This Book: Because You Are My People
- Chapter 1: Motherhood Is a Superpower
- Chapter 2: Why You Can’t Possibly Know What to Expect When You’re Expecting Chapter 3: From Zululand with Love
- Chapter 4: A Great, Big Man Named Chuck Chapter 5: Two Funerals and a Baby Shower
- Chapter 6: Because Sometimes Becoming a Mom Is Like Moving to a Foreign Country Chapter 7: There Is No Road Map
- Chapter 8: What Brave Looks Like
- Chapter 9: There’s Nothing Routine about the Routine Chapter 10: How to Fall in Like
- Chapter 11: When You’re Scared Motherhood Means Missing Out on Your Life Chapter 12: And Then after Eighteen Years, I Rediscovered My Mom
- Chapter 13: Jesus Loves Me This I Know, for My Children Taught Me So Epilogue: A Letter to My Mother
- Acknowledgments Notes
- Glossary of South African Words
- About the Author
Why I wrote
I GUESS MOST people who write books about motherhood start out by telling you how much they always wanted to be a mom. That is not my story. At sixteen, I was a skinny South African teenager with a crush on the tall, lanky swimmer who rode a motorcycle and left me roses.
When I was seventeen, my mom was in the hospital and I was trying to figure out how to cook roast chicken while the pastor’s son laughed at me all barefoot and cliché in the kitchen. When I was eighteen, my mom died and I swore I would never have kids. At twenty-one, I fell in love with a boy from the American Midwest with cowboy-green eyes, and at nearly twenty-five, I married him, on the condition that he wouldn’t expect me to produce children.
More than a decade later, we have three. There’s also the dog and a hamster. This is the story of how I got from there to here. Here being a sleep-deprived, messy rental house where I’ve discovered three things about motherhood. One, motherhood is hard. Two, motherhood is glorious. Three, motherhood is hard.
In between, there’s a lot of sleeplessness, laundry, and diapers. And I’m still such a newbie. At this moment, Jackson, my oldest, is about to turn seven and lives for tae kwon do summer camp and flexing his biceps in our full-length mirror. Our middle, Micah, is four and a half, weighs more than his brother, and will lay you low if an animal is ever harmed in his presence. The baby girl, Zoe, arrived just over sixteen months ago, and my heart will never acclimate to the daily awe of rediscovering myself in her deep-sea-fishing-blue eyes.
Somewhere God is grinning. I can hear Him saying, “I promised you so” over and over again. How He always saves the best till last, and each new baby has seen me unwrapping unexpected treasure again and again until I’m laughing too and agreeing. Yes, the best. The very best. Even at 2 a.m. with the rivers of projectile vomit. Even then. I wouldn’t trade it.
But I would do some things differently. I would throw away the parenting books that made me feel like I was somehow failing this most important test of womanhood—being a mother. I’d throw out the advice about what I was doing wrong or should be doing differently or should aspire to be doing. I’d just revel in the daily, sleep-deprived merry-go-round and eat a lot more chocolate cake.
Also, I’d go up to tired moms dragging screaming kids through Target and give them flowers. I would stop each and every new mom I ran into with chocolate and promises that they could do it. I would tell them they’re my heroes—for every month of pregnancy, every 3 a.m. feeding, every boo-boo kissed, every diaper changed, and every plate of food they never got to eat hot.
I’d be tempted to break into song. But since I always forget the words of any song I try to sing and am notorious for just making up whatever pops into my head, my new plan is to write to them instead.
Sweet, exhausted, amazing, resilient, fearless, remarkable, run-down mom—this book is for you. No matter how you got from there to here, can I just take your precious face between my hands, look deep into your sleep-deprived eyes, and whisper, “You are much braver than you think”?
You are my hero. Someone needs to say it out loud, and I’m happy to be that someone.
Would it be weird to say I think about you late at night? When I’m rocking Zoe in our old, white rocker with the faded-yellow, Desitin-stained cushions, I’m thinking about all those mamas working the midnight shift. I’m thinking about all of us who are dancing our babies back to sleep or waiting up for them, like every generation of mothers before us—the ancient two-step that tattoos our love into the carpet, the hardwood, and the bosoms of our children.
Tired we may be. But also victorious. You are a wonder. What you do—it amazes me. You’ve got this. Even on the days when you think you don’t. When you can’t imagine one more shift. When you want to take off running after the ice cream truck. When you can’t remember when you last washed your hair. When you want to climb back into your pre-baby body and the days that didn’t start with Elmo and end with bathwater anywhere but in the bath.
You’ve got this. This book is for you. And for me. This book is for us. Lisa-Jo Baker
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