This moring, I ended up at the blog of Amy Scott. I'm sure most Christian women in the blog circles where I travel are familiar with her.
There was a post there about women who influenced us as mothers; particularly women authors. The name Elisabeth Elliot was mentioned by many of the commenters. I must admit to having hung my head in shame - virtually speaking, of course - because I have never read a thing by Elisabeth Elliot. I don't know what that is, either. I certainly didn't read books like that as a young mother. From the time I had children until many moons later, I was working part-time toward my degree. I spent more time reading about Penal Laws, Elizabethan England, and how women got the vote than I was about parenting. Maybe I should have been reading Elisabeth Ellios, too; it sounds like I was missing something good. It was actually a conscious decision I had not to read parenting books when the kids were babies. I found too much information was just too overwhelming, and I was fortunate enough to be close to my mother and mother-in-law, who both taught me more about caring for babies than I could ever read from a book.
I did, however, before I had children, read the book The Family, (this was published by Moody Press, and I think it is out of print) by John MacArthur, and I can say with all certainty, that it was very instrumental in helping me to decide that I wanted to be able to stay at home full time with my children. I have recommended that book to other mothers as well. There you go; as usual, I get my advice from the place where most women don't.
When I began homeschooling, my husband and I were encouraged to sit under the teaching of the Ezzo parenting program. We did. We tried to employ the principles. Time went on. We woke up one morning and began to ask questions. We regretted our decision. There are some personality types of people who, when asked to comply with that particlular parenting program, end up spontaneously cumbusting at some point. It is one of the things I wish we had not done, but it made me think about what bibical principles applied to parenting really looks like, and I can say our kids have recovered from that. But I still regret it.
I think reading books about parenting can really help a young woman out, but she needs to find the right ones; they need to speak with a biblical voice. What is even better, I believe, is if that new mother can find an older mother -- ideally, a group of older mothers of varying age -- to guide her. It is so much easier to learn about motherhood in a group of other mothers. One thing that I was blessed with when my children were small was a group of other female friends. Our kids were all the same age, and we had visits together, babysat for one another, supported one another, and listened to stories about vomit and boogers and times of frustration when our husbands were working late, again. I had my parents close by, too which helped.
Some day, if I am ever blessed to be a grandmother, I will likely give the expectant mother a book. I tend to give books as gifts. I don't know which one I will give yet. I know what I won't give. Perhaps I'll read Elisabeth Elliot after all these years and pass her along. Maybe my daugher and future daughters-in-law will be inspired.