ConciliarPress.com. Here, Molly briefly explains what prompted the book, as well as how it will expand upon her popular podcast and blog." />
Close to Home:
For a long while, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It wasn’t the exhaustion or sudden loss of freedom per se; I was sure that eventually time and experience would remedy (or at least numb) the ill effects of those violent intrusions on my health and emotions. When the claustrophobia and hormonally charged periods of baby blueness came and went and came again those first several months, I knew deep down in my gut that they were not the cause, not the root anyway, of my discontentment either. I wanted to be a mom. I was committed wholeheartedly to this invaluable opportunity to raise and nurture my children. No matter how hard I tried, however, to line up my thought life with my set in stone convictions regarding the sacredness of parenthood, I couldn’t make one consistently reflect the other. In my mind, bouts of resentment, impatience, and insecurity were obviously signs of failure – were simply incompatible with good and prayerful parenting. What was dampening my experience as a mother (aha! I finally figured it out!) was that impossibly wide chasm between my ideals and capabilities. My main objective in life, then, became to cross it.
To combat my incompetence I sought voraciously the advice of others. I positive disciplined, sleep trained and chore charted my way to success – success that would last a week or so before I’d lose steam and give up, and then agonize over my laziness? my selfishness? my flightiness? To be honest, I didn’t know what exactly was wrong with me! Somewhere there was a key that could unlock that mystical secret of maternal satisfaction and until I found it, I would dart all over the place testing theories and hypotheses claiming posession of precisely what I was longing for. Out there lay my happiness, perfection and fulfillment. I was always but an article or surefire tip away from arriving at that mommy plateau from which everything runs smoothly and where everyone, parents and kids alike, respond pleasantly and appropriately from that point forward to life’s challenges.
In the midst of a never ending voyage toward an ambiguous and elusive finish line, I began to open up, out of frustration, to my fellow mom friends. What I discovered repeatedly, surprisingly enough, was that each of us was struggling with our own unique self-doubts. Each of us was worn out from trying to live up to our impeccable standards. Each of us was concerned that our children were abnormally something – shy, aggressive, willful, behind in development, you name it. It also began to dawn on me, however, that those conversations so honest and yet seemingly unproductive in which I vented to a supportive and empathetic peer provided comfort unlike any how-to manual I had ever combed through for answers. Feeling part of something bigger than the little lonely world I was dwelling in and worrying in and yet would sacrifice anything to stay in, brought me real and sustained peace. In apartments, houses and condos around the globe were women and men just like me – parents who adored their kids, parents whose families were flawed, parents inching their way toward enlightenment two steps forward and one step backward at a time.
Several years ago I got an idea in my head. I wanted to chronicle my experience as a new mom coming to terms with the actualities of her role. I wanted to state clearly and candidly the misconceptions holding me back from taking ownership of my position as the mother of these distinct children placed divinely in my care. I desired to scream from the pages of a book not, “Here is how you do it!” but rather, “You, my friend, are not alone!” I am abundantly thankful for Conciliar Press and for their willingness to take a chance on me. With Conciliar, I was able to freely and thoroughly examine motherhood in light of the Orthodox Christianity I had converted to. It was rigorous work, writing with four small children on my lap and at my feet, staying up later than I should to finish just one more thought, one more paragraph. It was (and still is) scary, I’ll admit it, to become so vulnerable through the sharing of my faults and fears. But bigger than the challenges were the revelations! I was floored to find out how applicable and transforming are the teachings of the ancient Church to modern day men and women in the throes of disciplining, praying for, and doting on their children.
It is finished; I can scarcely believe it! Close to Home: One Orthodox Mother’s Quest for Patience, Peace and Perseverance is now available to pre-order at Conciliar’s website. I am honored for this chance to reveal how my numerous mistakes and disappointments, a sense of community, and the teachings of Jesus as revealed through the mysteries of His Church, are enabling me to focus less on what I can’t be or do and more on what God can. I want to take this opportunity to thank you, all of you who have listened to these podcasts and read my blogs and who have inspired me to wake up each morning and try all over again to be a little more like Christ than the day before. Let us continue pursuing the unearthly gratification that comes from serving one another, uplifting one another – from loving sacrificially in the name of the Holy Trinity our spouses, sons and daughters, siblings, parents and neighbors.
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