I think, in fact, it started with Danielle Bean’s books, and carried on into Lisa Hendey’s work and included Elizabeth Foss, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, and many, many others who I now look on with less of a starry-eyed gaze and more of an eye-to-eye respect.
I cheered when Kate Wicker, Ginny Moyer, and Colleen Mitchell entered the Catholic mom scene and started contributing, along with many others who I consider friends and mentors. I’m humbled to have tossed a clod of dirt into the pile myself.
In fact, I love the genre of “Catholic mom books.”
But I have to confess: I’m at a different point with them now than I was over a decade ago when I first started reading them.
Quite a few of the moms who helped me walk those early years were about ten years ahead of me. (Those women, by the way, are women I still follow.) I’ve found myself , quite unexpectedly, the “veteran” mom.
That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t still need help.
YOU GUYS. I. STILL. NEED. HELP.
And don’t we all?
Don’t we all need someone who will turn to us, with an unconditional love and a no-nonsense air, and tell us just exactly how things are? Who will keep it real without sacrificing the beauty? Who will let us cry without us having to break something (or someone)?
Let me introduce you to Colleen Duggan.
I didn’t know she was a soul sister of mine until I read Good Enough Is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom.
It’s a book that, quite frankly, every Catholic mom should read. And reread. And share. And discuss.
Full disclosure: I endorsed it. And I also meant to write a personal thank-you note to Colleen.
Because she wrote a book that I read exactly when I needed to read it. It said exactly what I needed to hear.
It was a dose of encouragement and a breath of sensibility. It was a balm, but it was also a challenge.
Which is sort of the story of my life.
Duggan has five chapters, and each of them is a truth in my life:
- I don’t know how to master motherhood
- I don’t always take care of myself as I should
- I don’t know how to keep my kids Catholic
- I don’t like watching my children suffer
- I sometimes compare myself with other parents
What Duggan doesn’t do is hold these over your head. Nor does she wear them as a badge of honor in the “I’ll one-up you with how badly I parent” competition from Hades.
Instead, she opens herself — her heart and her soul — to her readers. She bares herself in a way that, as an author myself, I can appreciate.
Colleen, honey! I thought as I was reading, You WROTE THAT DOWN FOR THE WORLD TO READ OUT LOUD! It will NEVER GO AWAY.
But that’s the appeal, at least for me.
Not that she sucks, because she certainly doesn’t. Not because she’s less of a mom for it, because she absolutely isn’t. Not in a way that even is incriminating, because she really doesn’t even do that.
It was more a recognition, for me, that hey! I’m not in this alone.
I mean, I knew that.
You know that, too, I’m sure.
But even so, this motherhood deal is isolating. At the end of the day, it’s me and God. At the end of my life, which is very much on my mind right now, it’s me and God.
These souls…they’re entrusted to me.
And I’m not in this alone.
Duggan doesn’t just cheer, though she’s a great encourager. She also gives you flat-out great advice and tips throughout the book. She looks at that big impossible task of motherhood and she breaks it down.
Best of all, you’ll pray.
(No, really. There’s a prayer at the end of every chapter. Worth buying the book to get them!)
Each of us moms has a tank we run off of, and that tank gets empty more often than we care to admit. It’s not just me, or books like Colleen’s wouldn’t exist.
Fill your tank. Give yourself the gift of reading this book. You’ll be glad (and so will your kids).
And in case you wondered, here’s the full text of what I had to say about the book in my too-long-for-full-use-as-an-endorsement rave:
Yes, you deserve this book. You, the mom who has tears coursing down her face. You, the mom who doesn’t understand what you’re doing wrong. You, the mom who thinks you’re failing. You, the mom who just feels off about something. You, the mom who has questions. You, the mom who has tons of answers and yet a gaping hole.
Colleen Duggan bares herself in an unprecedented, for the betterment of moms everywhere. Good Enough Is Good Enough is not just a fabulous read for you, but for your best friend and for the mom down the street. This is more than a pat on the back: it’s also a soothing balm for your soul and a cheery cup of tea for your weary heart. Know, moms, that there is hope for you, for your family, and for eternity.
This book will be treasured for the wisdom it contains and for the gem of hope it uncovers for moms everywhere.
Call this one of the “baby shower book must-haves” (pairs nicely with A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy 😉).