Monday, July 26, 2010

Chasing Superwoman Review

From Publisher:
The Christian community tends to operate under the assumption that the only women attending church are traditional stay-at-home moms. But in truth, more than 75% of mothers with school-age children work outside the home.
Chasing Superwoman gives these working mothers what they’ve been craving—a funny, intelligent, relevant exploration of what it means to live out a vibrant faith amidst the many demands placed on their time and energy. Chasing Superwoman provides a much needed dialogue (not a formula) about the complex spiritual struggle of the working mother, plus a lot of laughter and encouragement for working women to embrace their busy life and trust God’s grace for getting it all done.

My take:
Who is Susan M. DeMickele?  She is constantly changing hats and capes as she settles into her different roles of Lawyer Mommy, Devoted Mommy, Tired Mommy, to name a few.  The working mother of three small children, she has grappled with the challenges of holding in her lunch during an important meeting while suffering from morning sickness, listening to a church leader and other church members equate "working mother" with the apocalypse, and suffering from the judgmental stares.

Susan is also an entertaining writer with a steel trap memory.  She describes, in hilarious detail, her attempt at playing Super Mommy by taking her pre-school son, two year old and newly potty trained daughter, and 5 week old baby on a four hour airplane trip to see her sister. The result was nothing less than amazing and unclothed.  I laughed because it wasn't me.  I also laughed because my steel trap memory now sports purposeful Swiss cheese holes.  I just can't go there.

Susan is me, the working mother.  Like the author, I want to be a devoted mother and spend all my intelligence and time on my children.  But like the author, I felt the gentle tug of the parable of the talents as it spoke to me and taught me that I had other gifts to share.

Working mothers are often judged a little differently than the mother who stays home with her children.  I happen to enjoy my career very much yet when I broach the subject with mothers who stay at home, I feel like I need to apologize or justify.  "What does your husband do," they might ask, assuming I work out of financial need.  He's a social worker.  I get the sympathetic, "Oh," and the look saying, "So you have to work.  Then that's okay."

But then I haven't told the truth.  He is a social worker but he's a supervisor.  He's been in his current job a long time.  But more honestly, I work because I feel called to do so.  But like the author, I don't know how to articulate this to PTA mafia.  Why don't I volunteer in the classroom?  Because I work.  Why do I work?  Money?  Greed?  Power?  Financial security?  Yes, some of that is true, but more importantly, my husband and I spent a good deal of time praying about the decision of being a working mother. The parable of the talents seems appropriate here.

The author shares the same struggles I have had that frankly, make me cringe.  Like the secret rules of the public school system, celebration of birthdays, volunteering in the classroom, guilt, making sacrifices, childcare issues, breastfeeding in public, eating in public, and keeping some talents a carefully guarded secret.

Each chapter begins with a title and then a scripture.  The author then ties together her life as a lawyer and her life as a mother with her journey back to His loving arms. This book is a must-read for any Christian mother who works.

5 stars


Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks Nancy. It's great to connect on many levels. God Bless! Susan

CountessLaurie said...

It's interesting to read that you get judged for working. It is rare in my circles for both parents not to work (economic necessity?) I am the working parent and my husband stays home. I don't feel a lot of judgement. I don't know if that's an East Coast thing or just who I happen to run with. And yet, I hear it happens a lot. Or maybe I am just oblivious.

Thanks for the review!!