Friends, I have a wonderful new book to share with you! I was so blessed to receive a copy of Rachel Norman’s fantastic book for moms called If Mama Ain’t Happy. Let me share more about the book and how it impacted me. Plus, there’s a giveaway you can enter to win your own copy!
From the publisher:
If Mama Ain’t Happy
Why minding healthy boundaries is good for your whole family
Rachel used to be a mom who spent her days weary, anxious, and guilt laden. She had five kids in five years, lived on three different continents, and then was blindsided by a devastating health diagnosis. Neglecting her own physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs for so long—in an effort to be a selfless mother—had left her utterly depleted. And physically unwell. Then she began asking a question she’d never considered before: Could it be that taking good care of myself is not actually selfish, but maybe, just maybe, something a responsible adult does?
In this countercultural book, Rachel takes some weight off your shoulders by:
- Offering hands-on, rubber-meets-the-road strategies to cultivate a life you aren’t trying to constantly escape
- Teaching you to discover and claim your own limits and boundaries so you can be a calm, resilient, peaceful mother
- Showing you how to shape your daily life and values around the few things that really matter, and how to let the rest go
If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. But when mama is at peace? Everyone benefits!
How If Mama Ain’t Happy touched me
What is your mom life journey looking like these days? I personally am still in a learning curve (even though my boy is in college!). I remember all too well the cartoon tiger Hobbes’ words to his best kid friend Calvin in the cartoon series bearing their names: “Live and don’t learn, that’s us.” I hate to admit it, but sometimes I learn more from the disasters or debacles than I do from the smooth moments of life. I’ve not been skilled in either setting boundaries or margin, which has brought me some hard lessons. And because those weren’t hard enough on their own, my self-talk made them even harder with the condemnation that we as Christian women seem all too ready to heap upon ourselves.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a kind, generous-hearted, wise friend or mentor who could help you get past those hard things, and guide you in making different choices with your time, your life, and your people (both little and big) so that your inner and outer lives could be smoother?
Well, Rachel Norman provides exactly that in her immensely helpful If Mama Ain’t Happy. She has been there! And even though she’s not with the reader in person, it feels as though she is. She openly shares what she’s learned as the mom of 5, with an incredibly (and she would say overly) busy life, when she was diagnosed with cancer. She survived it; and she learned so much about how to live a different life with principles of peace, wise choices, and boundaries, and in her book shares those with us. Or, as she says in chapter 1:
If my own daily life seemed too much to bear, something had to give. I was going to believe the promises of God’s Word. I was going to pay attention to my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries.
Why are boundaries important? Simply because, as humans, we only can give or do so much. (I missed that memo.) We have our own limits, and setting boundaries on only doing what we *can* do, and caring for ourselves, enables us to care for our families. Not to mention staying healthy in all the ways that make us human (in our minds, bodies, wills, emotions, and relationships). This not only models healthy adulthood for our kids, but enables us to be present with them as good parents who are not always on the edge of falling into a stress pit. Rachel discusses how to put those boundaries into practice in these life areas:
- Our own rules and standards
- Our friends
- Our emotions
- Our own daily care
- Our responsibilities
- Our home
- and last but not least, our own lives
In chapter 4 and those following, Rachel offers thoughtful questions to help readers engage further with each topic, and to examine their lives to see where and how healthful change can happen.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book contained life-changing counsel and wisdom for me; plus, plans I could shape for my own life to bring health and happiness to, as poet Mary Oliver said, my “one wild and precious life.” For that’s really what we are given, right? One beautiful and precious life of our own; and the loved ones that we’ll interact with in that life.
Rachel Norman’s book gave me rich and wonderful ideas for how I can embrace my own limits even as I live my life as fully as I can. These ideas *seem* simple even as they’re profound; but they are DOABLE. And have the potential to bring glorious change and beauty to our lives. I recommend to you, from the bottom of my heart, her beautiful If Mama Ain’t Happy.
Some of my favorite moments in the book
I have to share some of Rachel’s quotes that were pivotal for me. (I’ve no doubt you’d find many yourself!) Here are some of my favorites:
- “Have you tried to be perfect, excel at everything, and live outside your limits for most of your life, hoping that this would make you worthy or acceptable? Did it work?…No?…Now is a good time to find a more realistic and gracious motivation strategy that doesn’t make you hate your life.” (p. 93)
- “As you try to navigate all your emotions, stop beating yourself up…The next time you’re tempted to put yourself down, try treating yourself with the same gentleness you’d offer a friend instead. It might just change your life.” (pp. 128-129)
- “I realized I was experienced at abandoning my own needs and ignoring my own limits.” (p. 145)
- “But there are likely many areas of life in which you can, with some thought, prayer, and intention, stop going against your limits and boundaries.” (p. 164)
- “Once you realize that you can craft a life that is a blessing to you and those around you, you will start to see the things driving you crazy as flags indicating where your boundaries are being crossed. Next you can begin investigating these flags and start solving problems, because you realize that these problems are your responsibility….And then, guided by knowledge and the wisdom of the Lord, you can begin to act like a person who is balancing…who can steer away from potholes and go down easier paths. You can recognize your boundary lines and work to stay within them.” (p. 165)
Again, if you are that mom (like Rachel, like me, and like so many others) who has carried too many loads and is exhausted; who wants to learn how to create healthy boundaries; who wants to love your family and be able to enjoy precious and dear moments with them, unmarred by constant unnecessary stress; who wants to experience real rest–this book is for you, my friend. May it bless you and bring you peace.
How you can enter to win a copy of If Mama Ain’t Happy
You can enter to win a copy of the fabulous If Mama Ain’t Happy from BlessedFreebies! Just click on the pink link below. That will take you to the giveaway page. Giveaway ends on October 24, 2022. Best wishes!
Enter to win the giveaway for If Mama Ain’t Happy here!
Where you can find Rachel Norman on socials
You can follow Rachel Norman on her social media accounts:
Where you can purchase If Mama Ain’t Happy
You can purchase If Mama Ain’t Happy from Rachel Norman’s website. You’ll be able to visit lots of booksellers’ book links that way (on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook, and more). Just click on the purchase link below!
Disclosure: I received this book from the author. All opinions shared here are my own honest ones.