Women Are Scary: A Review
"Too many of us women are frazzled and lonely, isolated in our minivans, schlepping bags, strollers, and munchkins to and fro across town. It doesn't have to be this way. In this guide to "momlationships," I use a dating analogy to take us "around the bases" to our home-run friendships, the ones that last a lifetime, not just a soccer season. This is our journey to each other, to finding our people and being other people's people, to learning how to bless each other and not destroy each other."
I was instantly interested in Dale's book as I have experienced first hand the beauty and importance of female friendships. I have two small kids, and I'm home most days, and I still find it hard to connect with other women. But it is so vital. This book is funny, but also gives super practical ideas on how to foster relationships with other women [mom or not], and even goes so far as to give specific ideas for things to do together. I appreciated that Dale goes beyond the typical "coffee date".
In the chapter where she discussed "The Group Date" and having other moms and kids over to your home, she quoted the book A Life That Says Welcome [by Karen Ehman]: Entertaining puts the emphasis on you and how you can impress others. Offering hospitality puts the emphasis on others and strives to meet their physical and spiritual needs to that they feel refreshed, not impressed, when they leave your home. Dale then talked about how that shift in her mentality made it easier to have other women over to her house, and "flipped the purpose of [her] gatherings." Isn't that awesome? Doesn't that make you breathe a little deeper when you think about having someone over?
I don't think it's a secret that women tend to be judgy. I think we all judge from different places, about different things, and for different reasons. I appreciate how Dale addresses this and encourages women to acknowledge that we do things differently, and that's okay. Don't focus on those things. She said, "Instead of disagreeing with each other about our parenting choices, what if we celebrated that we have a choice? What if we used our freedom to stop fighting each other and start fighting extreme poverty together?... Let's fight human trafficking. Let's fight for the kids who don't have families. Let's fight anything but each other when we have so much work to do in the world."
She talked about our real, deep friendships as "fourth base" friends. [As a softball coach just, ya know, whatever about the whole fourth base thing ;)]. I absolutely loved that she shared the why of these friendships--that we need these deep friends to walk into our "trenches" with us. But more than that I love that she said, "They are not our Jesus. But he can use them to speak truth into our lives and hold us together when we're falling apart. My friends aren't my Savior, but sometimes he uses them to point me to him when I can't find my way." Amen. Just, amen. Right? Those sentences alone make me want to step out more and deeper with more women in my life to gain even more of these friends because, if you've had one and they've done this for you, you know just how important it is.
She shares practical ways, with examples, of what it looks like to be humble. And wrong. And to not talk badly of other women. [Why are we so bad at these things, ladies?!] She writes, "There's freedom in learning to be wrong. You give the people around you permission to be right. You become approachable. If I think about the people I admire most, they're the humble ones, the truly teachable people who are not afraid to admit when they're wrong or don't know something." [And Brent is reading this right now and thinking, "Oh Kels, I'm so glad you read this book!"]
Dale does a great job of not speaking to one "category" of moms in her book. She addresses "working" moms and "stay at home" moms, and I put those in quotes because she does, because she says she knows that all moms do more than what we put in front of the word 'mom'.
Things I didn't like:
/The term "momlationships." You know me and weird/meshing words: Pinterest and Webinar make me shudder.
/ The layout of the book is really busy. It does this thing that I really don't like in books and magazine articles where you read a sentence and then the next thing you know you're reading the same sentence again in offset big type. Why? There are also occasional snippet from other mom's stories that they have sent in to Dale via her blog that she includes in the book. I really just skimmed them but mainly skipped them. And then there are also little tweets from Dale's Twitter account here and there. I did read those because they were generally pretty funny and I didn't feel like they detracted from the book.
Several reviewers have said her humor is too forced or over the top, but I actually enjoyed it and laughed out loud several times. I thought her humor was relatable and more natural than the last book I reviewed. An example: I'm pretty lax about germs. You have to be if you have more than one kid and ever want to leave the house and see other humans. You have a cold? Fine, we just won't mouth kiss. Your kid has a low-grade fever? Meh, let's risk it and just lube up with hand sanitizer. Your baby barfed last week? Ugh, let's give it another three weeks just to be safe. Don't breathe on me. Full body shudder.... Heck, I don't even like the idea that we're connected through the internet if you've just puked." And that, my friends, sums up my thoughts exactly.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book. It made me thank some of the women in my life that I am lucky enough to call friends. It made me finally call my college roommate on the phone [we both hate the phone and play phone tag way too much because it's never the right time for one of us]. It made me want to invite some other women over that I don't know very well yet. And it just made me deep down thankful that God created us to thrive in relationships.
I was provided a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan publishing but all opinions are my own.