Surprised by Motherhood

Everybody has a story to tell. And my blogging friend Lisa Jo Baker has told her story.

book-sidebar-300x330Surprised by Motherhood ( was released Tuesday (April 1) and from initial reports, it has been receiving good reviews and raves.

Lisa Jo and I became blogging friends a couple of years ago. I was struck by the honesty of her writing and was following her. Of course, she is the same person who thought of Five Minute Friday (FMF), and after reading a couple week’s worth of samples I sheepishly asked if I could join her writing exercise clan. After all, most were young mothers and I was, well, an interloping senior male. She and the group have welcomed me with open arms and I look forward to my five minute Friday writing exercise and following at least some of what the hundreds of  fellow FMF devotees contribute each week.

Lisa Jo is a lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights. She never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

Set partly in South Africa and partly in the U.S. (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect — it’s about being present.

I must admit, I have not read the book, but I did preview a few of the opening chapters. As a father and husband, I couldn’t relate to the same depth a woman and mother could. That being said, even in the short time I spent on the pages, I could hear myself telling my Karen — It’s okay to have Cheerios crushed in the carpet …  Take some time for yourself … Enjoy the kids, they grow up too fast … The most important thing you can do is mother your children … Motherhood is a vocation unto itself … Never sell yourself short … So what if the house isn’t pristine …

Lisa Jo figured it out. she has discovered three key things about motherhood. One, motherhood is hard. Two, motherhood is glorious. Three, motherhood is very hard.

This book is a reminder being a mom isn’t about succeeding at some parenting checklist — it’s about what motherhood prepares women for while they’re busy preparing for it; how a new identity brings new meaning for their future and new appreciation of their past; and how there is wonder to be found in the daily merry-go-round of dishes, laundry and tiny humans.

Since each of us is unique, it stands to reason our children are each unique. So, throw away the checklist. There is no parenting manual. There is just a sorority/fraternity of fellow parents doing the best they can with what they have. They key is not doing it right, but being there. It’s acknowledging we are not perfect so we can’t expect our kids to be perfect. It’s being supportive and taking time to join in the wonder of youth. It’s jumping in with an open heart filled with love.

I’m not going to tell you to buy Lisa Jo’s book {although I know she would love it if you do}, but I am suggesting you check out the reviews and watch the trailer. I know she wrote it for everyone — new moms, “my brain is more important than having your babies” woman, motherless mothers, dog days of motherhood when you want your money back, husbands who wish they knew what their wives were thinking, daughters who are trying to make sense of their mothers, those who may not have kids of their own but mother on regardless, mothers of strong-willed kids and empty nesters who already know the hard truth … we will miss this — but I think it might be most appropriate for the new mom or soon mom to be. This might just give them some insight into what to expect.


The book is available in print and eBook through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, DaySpring, Books-A-Million, CBD, LifeWay, Parable, Mardel and Walmart. If you want to hear it read in her own confused South African/American accent – the audio book is also available at Amazon, Books-A-Million, CBD and Walmart.

For my international friends, you can pick it at Koorong in Australia; in Canada;,,, CLC Book Shops and any other Christian retailer in the UK; Manna Books in New Zealand; Faith Mission in Northern Ireland; special order from SKS Books and Tecman in Singapore; and CUM stores, Leisure Books, CNA, Bargain Book and others in South Africa.

If you do read the book, I would love to hear your take. I know Lisa Jo would too.

Everybody has a story to tell.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You can’t make some else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in encouragement, motherhood, relationships, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Surprised by Motherhood

  1. Kathleen says:

    This is so true: “Enjoy the kids, they grow up too fast … The most important thing you can do is mother your children … Motherhood is a vocation unto itself … Never sell yourself short … So what if the house isn’t pristine …” Well done! Also, a beautiful trailer!


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