“I just can’t be a mother today.” If you’ve ever whispered those words to God in quiet desperation, you are not alone. A recent Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 U.S. women interviewed during 2012 showed that stay-at-home moms experienced elevated frequency in negative emotions. A Pew Research survey revealed that 40% of working mother always feel rushed, compared with 24% of the general public and 26% of stay-at-home moms. Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson know those feelings first-hand and their new book, Desperate, they offer help to stressed moms.
“Our book tells the true story of two friends encouraging each other in the midst of a journey of motherhood—a young mom needed input, encouragement, love, and grace, and an older mom who has been through all of the seasons to speak into her life from a perspective of wisdom. Any moms who need encouragement, help, and grace will find inspiration, ideas, stories, and hope in their journey as a woman and in her role as a mother.” Sally Clarkson, co-author of DesperateDesperate is for those who love their children to the depths of their souls but who have also curled up under their covers, fighting back tears, and begging God for help. It’s for those who have ever wondered what happened to all their ideals for what having children would be like. For those who have ever felt like all the “experts” have clearly never had a child like theirs. For those who have prayed for a mentor. For those who ever felt lost and alone in motherhood.
“Sally and I want to encourage you to keep going even when it feels like you can’t, and we want to help you. We won’t offer you formulas, but we will offer ideas, perspectives, transparency, and wisdom. We have some ideas for you in getting help, and we are making a plea for older women to remember the tired years and come alongside young mothers, so that our children and our children’s children will know how to serve and to receive help. Thank you for giving us your precious, little time. We pray our offerings will not just comfort you but will refresh your soul and spur you on in hope!” Sarah Mae, co-author of Desperate.
WhatYou Will Find in Desperate
The perspectives of a younger women going through the little years, and an older woman who has raised her children well
QR codes and links at the end of each chapter that lead to videos with Sarah Mae and Sally talking about the chapter
A friend who so understands those “hide me in closet” moments
Practical steps to take during the desperate times
Bible study and journal exercises in each chapter that will lead you to identify ways in which you can grow as a mom
Mentoring advice for real-life situations
Q & A section with Sally where she answers readers’ questions
Q: The role of a mother is not an easy one, despite its rewards. But women often feel alone and are worried of being judged as they try to be the best mom that they can be and navigate all that motherhood throws at them. Why do you think mothers feel this way, and how have you personally dealt with this same crazy cycle? Sarah Mae: I think they feel this way because there is a lack of older women mentoring/coming alongside the younger women to teach them, encourage them, and help them. Sally coming into my life was like much needed rain on dry soil. She chose to invest in my life, lift me up, speak wisdom to me, truth, and just love me. I think if women felt loved, they would at least have more resolve to keep going in hope. I have dealt with these feelings, and it’s dark and discouraging. But in community, we find light and understanding. We need people.
Sally: We live in an isolationist culture where few know their next door neighbor, most live far away from their families and mega churches create anonymity in life. Consequently, mothers are more alone than ever before in history, raising their children without the benefit of the loving community of family and friends. Add to that the myriad of voices and the prolific information that flows every day on the internet, which women are using as substitute friends, and women feel confused, don’t know which philosophy to follow and end up feeling like a failure.
Q: What made you decide to write this book together?Sarah Mae: I knew I couldn’t write this book alone, it would only be a half offering. I wanted to relate with women, say, “I get you, I am you!” but Sally is the wisdom and experience. Plus, we want to encourage real-life mentoring relationships, and we hope to do that by allowing people into Sally and I’s relationship.
Sally: The story of our friendship was mutually gratifying, fun, and fulfilling. Our friendship grew out of real life and I loved being able to use our friendship as a means of helping and encouraging my younger friend in ways that I was never encouraged as a young mom. We thought together we might have a unique message of hope, share the need for friendship and mentoring, and the ability to give confidence and a model for others to build such a relationship. We also just wanted moms to feel that someone understood the loneliness and desperation that often fill the days of moms all over the world.
Q: As your book reveals, mentoring can have a huge impact on both the receiving and giving parties. What would you say to someone who was considering this?Sarah Mae: Yes, mentoring is a must, and it’s biblical (Titus 2: 3-5, and what Jesus did with His 12 disciples)! We need each other, we were made for relationships and soul investing. Mentoring/friendship/having an advocate can change your life.
Sally: God pre-wired us as women to be relational. A friendship built on mutual ideals and encouragement is not only an overwhelming blessing to both, but is a Biblical accountability to help women hold fast to their faith and their ideals as mothers.
Q: Why do you think it’s so important for older and younger moms together to care for and lift up one another?Sarah Mae: Well, it’s God’s idea, and it’s a beautiful one. Younger moms need the wisdom and experience of older women, and older women need to know they are still valuable and have something good to pass on. We can love each other so well in a mentoring relationship – a give and take of grace, love, and understanding.
Sally: Titus 2:2 tells us that mentoring between women is a Biblical admonition for older moms to encourage younger moms, and so it is a pattern to follow. However, I also promised myself that if I made it through my own mothering, that I would give my life to other young moms to encourage them so that they would not have to feel alone as I had felt. “Two are better than one and have a good return for their labor, but woe to the one who has no one to lift up his hands,” reflects the heart-felt need that I had for a close friend and someone who would pour wisdom into my own life. We all long for help and love.
Q: What tips would you have for someone seeking a mentor?Sarah Mae: Pray! Pray for God to bring you someone, and don’t give up, even if it takes years. I prayed for a mentor for a long time before Sally pursued a relationship with me.Sally: Pray that God would bring a mentor into your life. Then, begin looking around your circle of life for older women whose life you admire and ask them out for coffee or to meet with you. Share your desire for a mentor and see what happens. Sometimes you have to try this with several different people, but hopefully someone will make that time for you, as God put it on my heart to do with Sarah Mae.