The Handbook for Catholic Moms was available for pre-order, I immediately put my name on the list. I'm a big fan of author Lisa Hendey's website, CatholicMom.com, and when I saw the list of contributors to this book, I knew it was going to be a winner.
I was not disappointed.
I've only got one wish--that this book had been written eighteen years ago when I was a new mom and needed the kind of encouragement that Lisa Hendey offers. But that's just not possible. Lisa's oldest child is right around the same age as my oldest child--and this book is the fruit of her eighteen years of experience in living the vocation of Catholic motherhood.
That's not to say that there was nothing in this book for the "seasoned" mom. In fact, this book can touch moms at any point in their mothering lives.
Lisa begins each chapter with an anecdote from her own life, and includes encouraging essays from other moms including Danielle Bean, Donna-Marie Cooper-O'Boyle, Heidi Hess Saxton, and Rebecca Teti and advice from experts like Phil Lenahan, Deacon Tom Fox and Father Jay Finelli--to name just a few! The book is full of ways to nurture your heart, mind, body and soul--and seeks to help moms take care of themselves so that they will be better able to take care of their families. Each chapter ends with a "Mom's Homework" section that gives moms concrete ways to do just that.
Here's one nugget from the book that falls into the "I wish I'd known this" category: "Rather than joining existing (mom's support) groups at neighborhood churches from other denominations, please consider being the brave soul who starts something new and special at your own parish." When Big Brother was a baby, I needed the support of other moms--and our parish had nothing of that sort. Being new to the area and knowing no one, I was afraid to try to start something at our parish. I did find a wonderful group at a fundamentalist church 20 minutes away, and I participated in that group for about four years. But while it was a very encouraging group, I always felt like I did not quite belong, as I was not a part of that particular church. As a Catholic, my experience of some things was different, and I could not share that experience there.
I'd like to encourage any mom to read this book. There are treasures on every page of The Handbook for Catholic Moms. It's going to be part of any future christening gift that my family gives!
Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book with my own money. I was not compensated financially for this book review.