Monday, September 30, 2013

"The Passionate Mom" Review

Motherhood is full of uncertainty. What do my children really need? Why are they doing that? Is this normal? What can I do to help them? How can I know for certain that I am doing this right?

The logistics are easy. Anybody can do laundry and carpool. But what makes a mother the best mom she can be?

It’s not better scheduling. Or more activities. Or less.

It is passion—the passion to teach, protect, study, and prepare her children for the future.

Great, but how?

Susan Merrill, the mother of five incredibly different children, has asked that question countless times. And she has read countless answers specific to a certain child’s temperament, age, or situation. But nothing she read offered an overall approach to parenting that would enable her to say with confidence, “I am doing this right.” She never guessed she would find a foundational plan—a reliable, universal parenting approach in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.

In The Passionate Mom, Susan takes you on a journey through Nehemiah and into the heart of parenting. Her stories and confessions in every chapter reveal what she has learned: no mom can control her child’s future, but every mom can parent well. There is a plan—a roadmap for how a passionate mom can parent almost any child, confidently.

About the Author: I am a hybrid of sorts. I majored in finance but I love people more than numbers. I left behind the corporate gray of banking for the colorful world of kids. I had three children and adopted two more. I am a very imperfect Merrill family manager and the director of iMOM. I love to analyze life, ponder possibilities, and pray for opportunity, which makes for a very busy and messy house! I live in Tampa, Florida, with my handsome husband—Family First founder and author Mark Merrill—and two, or depending on the day, up to five of my children ages seventeen to twenty-two. On those days, I happily forsake all other responsibilities to run a bed and breakfast and Laundromat for college students. - See more at:

My Take:

In this book, Susan Merrill goes through the book of Nehemiah and relates the process of how he rebuilt the wall in Jerusalem to how we as mothers should raise our children. From the start, this was an interesting parallel, and I enjoyed how each chapter in the book related to the steps Nehemiah took to rebuild the wall. I'm not sure if the theological relevance quite relates to motherhood, but it was an interesting way to approach it.

My favorite part of the book was how she used the gates in the wall as metaphors for things in the world that we need to be monitoring as we raise our kids. It painted such a good picture of what we as parents need to do and how we should be in control of when, how often, and how much each gate should be opened. Although there are many things that would correspond to gates in our kids' world, the ones that she mentioned were: Choices, School, Friends, Free Time, Technology, Cell Phones, Social Media, Driving, Dating, and College. There were some very practical points in this section that I will definitely be referring to in the future as my daughter gets older.

I felt that this book is mostly applicable to those with older children, but I am glad that I read it now so that I will be more prepared for the future. I also think that the author comes at parenting a little bit one-sided at times. She assumes that children will be away from their parents for great periods of time during the day. While we plan to send our daughter to school, I think some home-schooling parents might feel as if parts of the book don't apply to them. I also thought that the whole book was a little one-sided in that fact that it was only addressed to moms. I realize that I have an important role in my daughter's life, but I see my husband and myself as more of a team rather than me as the mom taking the major role in my raising my daughter. (And yes, I realize that the book is called The Passionate 'Mom,' but I just like to view things from a parenting team point of view rather than a Mom point of view).

Even though some aspects might have been one-sided the overall book was convicting, practical, and encouraging. One of the most convicting points for me was that as a parent I should fear God more than I fear what my child might think. Here is a great quote:

"Your child may be attracted to the lovely things of the world. But you must fear God more than you fear your child's anger or you may say yes to things that are not in your child's best interest. You must also love God and his desires more than you love to please your child."

This is so hard for a parent to do sometimes because we want to give everything to our child. But we should want what's best for them more than to just make the happy in the moment.

The Passionate Mom really gave me a lot to think about in my parenting, especially as my daughter gets older and encounters the world more and more. I'm sure I will be referring to this book often in the future.

I will give The Passionate Mom ... 4 BookWorms.

The Passionate Mom
by Susan Merrill
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication date: April 16, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through BookSneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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