5 Minutes with >> Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised by Motherhood

Lisa Jo Baker and daughter

I cannot tell you how honored I am to have today’s 5 minutes with. . .guest on the blog. I am a huge fan of this mama, not because she’s so amazing {although she is} but because she is real and honest and loves her family and her readers {whether she’s met them or not} with a fierce kind of grace-driven love. I hope you are inspired by this incredible woman and encourage you to grab her book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom
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Welcome Lisa-Jo! What an honor to have you on the blog today. I’ve been a long time reader and fan of your heart for moms. Thrilled to have you visit us at Grace for Moms today!

What is your hope for this book, Surprised by Motherhood?

That moms who’ve felt alone in their desperate fear that they’re failing what feels like the most important test of womanhood will realize that they’re not alone. And that they’re not failures – they’re the unsung heroes of every family story.

In your book and on your blog, you share what a REAL family looks like – specifically, your family. Is it intimidating or unnerving to share your personal story?

Not when I imagine how it might help another mom who thinks she’s the only person in the world who’s ever lost her temper, had a melt down, cried over dirty dishes or felt totally unqualified for the job. I spent my first two years of motherhood thinking I was the only one who couldn’t figure it out. Nine years later I know that motherhood isn’t hard because we’re bad at it – it’s hard because it’s designed that way. Nothing so radically or so drastically grows us up and out of ourselves as being on 24/7 call for tiny humans. But someone has to be willing to go first and fess up to feeling lost in a strange new land without a road map. I’m happy to be that someone if it will help one another mom out there feel less alone.

You say that motherhood should come with a superhero cape. What do you mean by that?

pic_full_Baker_LisaJoI mean that moms tend to introduce themselves as, “just a mom.” When there is nothing small or simple or easy about raising the next generation. The reality is that what they’re doing requires super human effort, will, love, practice, dedication and commitment. It’s extraordinary, maybe more so because of how seldom it is recognized as such. So to me, I think every mom, whether she knows it or not, has a tattered and battered cape hanging from her tired but victorious shoulders. And whether she sees it or not, I can guarantee that her kids wouldn’t be surprised if they caught a glimpse of it.

The title of your book is Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom. What do you consider to be the most surprising and unexpected things about motherhood?

Suprised by MotherhoodDiscovering how motherhood has made me both the bravest and the most terrified I’ve been in my life. The fact that I grew and pushed three human beings out of my body still blows my mind. How wildly courageous moms are – I sort of can’t believe that it’s routine and that babies are born daily without more public parades and medals. The fact that my body could nurture them and still be able to put itself back together. And the fact that despite the scars and wrinkles and extra weight I would still do it all again. And then there’s the part where you’re almost terrified by your love for these tiny humans. How every day you risk your heart when you send them out into the world. The books don’t warn you about that part. Forget teaching them not to choke on solids, I needed a warning label to stick across my chest the first time I dropped one of them at preschool and thought I would never be able to drive the car away. Moms are fiercely brave all the while introducing themselves as “just a mom.” I can never get over the contradiction.

But most of all how motherhood is the lens through which I now understand how much Jesus loves me. To mother is to lay down your life, your time, your figure and your own needs in order to meet those of someone else. And the surprise is that it’s the most rewarding of sacrifices. I may have spent most of my life believing that Jesus loved me because my family, my church and the Bible told me so. But until I had children of my own, I wasn’t able to comprehend the mighty power of a love that would offer itself up as ransom for someone else. Today I don’t know a mother who wouldn’t walk into the dark for one of her children. And it wouldn’t even be a hard choice. That kind of love? That kind of love is the stuff of motherhood and the Gospel.

Lisa-Jo, we are all about grace her at Grace for Moms. What do you believe it means to experience grace as a mom?

If we’re not careful, motherhood can feel like a test that we fail over and over and over again on a daily, weekly, painful yearly process. There are so many ways to not live up to the expectations of the parenting books, our in-laws, the church, the blogs and of course, ourselves – the most critical of all the list-keepers. And unless we make room for grace we will end each day the same way it’s easy to begin – defeated. But grace says mess ups are covered up by the Christ who loves us up and out of our fears and worries and failures.

Grace, like chocolate cake, can cover a world of awkwardness and bridge beautiful new friendships. It can restore our strength and sense of humor. It can remind us that our kids aren’t the only ones that are still learning to walk into new areas of life and that learning to walk requires falling down. A lot.

But that grace is what keeps us getting back up again and loading the clothes and having the conversations that need to be had. Grace is oxygen in a mother’s day to day and it’s what keeps us believing that no matter how tired we are, this calling is a gift and these kids a delight and that chocolate cake is always better when shared.

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See?! She oozes grace, right?! I knew you’d love her! Lisa Jo and her publishers at Tyndale are generously giving away two copies of the book, Surprised by Motherhood this week. One lucky winner will win our Mother’s Day book bundle including 6 books we are featuring this week {worth over $75!} and another will win a copy of Lisa-Jo’s book! Enter via Rafflecopter below.

Read more about Lisa Jo and her ministry to moms here.

While we’re chatting about it, what about you? What’s been your biggest surprise of motherhood?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. She is passionate about writing words of grace for moms and moms-to-be. Co-author of The Pregnancy Companion and The Baby Companion books, she also co-leads a community about TTC, infertility, pregnancy and new motherhood on Facebook. Connect with Jessica on Google +

Comments

  1. cassidy says:

    I never knew I could love another person as much as I love my daughter yet be so worried I’m screwing it all up.

    • Cassidy, totally with you on both counts. But truly, we aren’t screwing it up. We may screw up from time to time but we can’t let that define us in motherhood, right?! Grace covers those moments so that they fade in the midst of all we are doing right! I promise to believe that today if you will!!

  2. Motherhood has surprised me in many ways… but what caught me most off-guard is the amount of waiting that has come with my motherhood journey… 3.5 yrs of infertility before meeting our son (who is now 5) and currently in the midst of a long adoption wait (2+ yrs). I’m certain God has a plan for our family but sometimes I wish I could see the roadmap!

  3. I just finished the book last week and loved it. Her story is one that most mothers can relate to. Lovely and beautifully written.

  4. Joylyn says:

    At this stage of being a mom (4 year old, 2 year old), I have honestly been thinking lately about how hard being a mom is, and that has indeed surprised me! Probably because my 2 year old is a great deal more challenging than my 4 year old ever has been, but I don’t think I knew just how hard parenting can be, until I lived it. But I’m so thankful for God’s grace and his Word that reminds me my identity is not determined by how good of a mom I am, but rather my identity is totally defined by Jesus alone and what he has done for me on the cross. Sure takes a lot of pressure off!

  5. I was never so happy and miserable when I became a mother in November 2010. Those first few weeks are so hard and there really is no way to be prepared. I love my son more than life. I remember breaking down and being so emotional numerous times and one time in particular I just had a spirit-filled moment when I realized the amount God loves me. It became real when I became a mom. I finally got it. I finally understood how much God loves me and that as his child I am precious to him. What a moment. This book (the excerpt I read a few weeks ago) is very relatable and such an awesome reminder that this job we all share is impossible without God and his daily grace.

  6. I’m amazed at how much motherhood really brings up my selfish desires and makes me deal with them head on. I am grateful. I see so much differently now.

  7. Nicole Corman says:

    I’m surprised at all the emotions I can truly feel after having kids – deep love, disappointment, gratitude… it seems that I’m feel all of these things deeper now that I’m a mom.

  8. I’ve been most surprised at how inadequate I feel. Grasping the all-sufficiency of God’s grace even in my biggest mommy failures has been SO important!

  9. I’m surprised at how little I really know about life – when I see how my kids just tend to “get it” as they go about their lives. They teach me new life lessons daily :-)

  10. Lynnell says:

    I’m surprised by the intensity of my love for my son. He is nothing like me (daddy’s mini-me), but I love every bit of who he is. I’m eager to meet boy #2 in August and start getting to know and love another one.

  11. Amber Chapais says:

    Knowing how my much I have for my children when I first lay eyes on them all…

  12. I’m surprised by the intensity of love and the complete joy it is to just see his face. It doesn’t matter how sleep deprived I am, I want him to be cared for as best as I can manage. It’s so crazy

  13. Love this interview with Lisa-Jo. What a beautiful lady and mom.

  14. Beth norwood says:

    It is much harder than it looks. The things I worry about now are completely different than I thought.

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