It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
As a self-proclaimed (and slightly crazed) Wonder Woman Wannabe herself, Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a Christian wife and mother to three amazing kiddos. After hanging up her star-spangled bloomers (and that restrictive red corset) a few years back, Jenny now spends most of her “spare” time dishing out the latest in tips, hints, and practical advice to help guide other mommies through the trenches of motherhood. And when she isn’t cooking, cleaning, starting her latest load of laundry, or attempting to raise her kids right (as in manner-possessing, respectful, God-loving little tikes), Jenny can usually be found writing about it instead. Through her children’s books, personal website, magazine articles, blog, and as a contributing writer for the online supersite, The MOB Society, there’s always plenty of information to relate to, and a whole lot of comic relief to go around.
Visit the author’s website.
Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe will provide the modern-day mommy with sanity-saving tips, advice, and hilarious real-life accounts that every Supermom can most certainly relate to, benefit from, and appreciate. After all, the reader may not have been born with super human strength, but with God on her side, Jesus in her heart, and the Holy Spirit in her corner, she’s more than equipped to handle the daily battles that rage before her. So hold on tight, girls, as we prepare to tackle this role of motherhood together: the good, the bad, (the slightly ugly), and everything in between.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Leafwood Publishers (September 10, 2013)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
And there she lay. After forty-one-and-a-half weeks of pregnancy, and eighteen long, and rather painful—make that excruciating—hours of labor, my daughter had officially arrived. And it was at that point that I realized . . . I had absolutely no clue what I was supposed to do with her. Other than admiring that sweet, beautiful miracle, wrapped like a little burrito in her swaddling blanket and asleep in my arms, I was frighteningly devoid of my maternal instincts and just waiting for something (anything!), to kick in.
“Excuse me,” I said as I spoke into the hospital room intercom, attempting to grab the attention of one of the attending nurses. “I’m ready for my infant to be taken to the nursery now.”
There was silence on the other end.
“Hello?” I said again, maniacally pressing the button in an effort to get some attention. “Can anyone hear me? I’m pretty tired and need some assistance with getting my daughter settled for the night.”
It was at that point that I could have sworn I heard cackling in the background as the nurse dispatch seemingly collected herself, paused for a moment, and then stated, “Um, we don’t have a nursery, sweetie,” trying hard to hold back laughter. “That baby girl of yours is bunking with you tonight . . . and every night from here on out.”
Puzzled by her response and quite certain she had made a mistake, I looked at my husband in disbelief. With my hormones raging and tears welling up in my bloodshot eyes, I glanced down at my beautiful baby girl and pathetically yelped, “Help me!”
As a new mom, my mind was anxious with inexperience, as question after question on how I should mother my infant kept popping into my head: Why was this baby sleeping so long? What should I do with her if she wakes up? What happens when she has a dirty diaper? Should I ring the nurse to come and change her? In fact, where was the nurse most of the time and why wasn’t she taking care of this baby for me? Wait, why was my hospital gown all wet? Were my breasts leaking? Dear God, what was going on with my body?
And then the ultimate in negative thinking infiltrated my brain: Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this motherhood gig after all. I mean maybe, just maybe, if I could bribe that delivery nurse to come home with me and agree to be my live-in nanny, this might all work out. After all, she did appear to have a sense of humor and definitely seemed like she’d be good with kids.
As it turns out, this “rational” plan of attack I concocted probably wasn’t going to be the best long-term solution I needed after all, especially since bribery tends to work best when you actually have money. But hey, I was a new mommy and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the helplessness and sleep deprivation I was experiencing since that sweet blessing had arrived safely in my arms. Sure, I had been forewarned of the challenges that these first few days might present, but in all honesty, I didn’t believe they would happen to me. You see, prior to becoming a mom, I’d read book after book on how to be a great mother, how to avoid being a bad one, and everything in between. I felt prepared, confident, and ready to defy those “supposed” issues that most new mommies face: Raging hormones? Please, mine would be even-keel. Colicky baby? Pshaw! Had to be a myth. Complete and total exhaustion to the point where one’s eyelids needed to be pried open with toothpicks? Sounded like complete nonsense to me.
Yep, upon becoming a mother, it appeared that not only was I slightly delusional as to the expectations I had for myself, but it also seemed that I was suffering from a bit of naivety, a hint of denial, and was under the trance of one serious perfectionist complex already. Unbeknownst to me, my Wonder Woman Wannabe alter-ego (complete with imbalanced hormones) was taking up residence within, and the Supermom Syndrome was well underway.
“I think you just need to breathe,” my husband said.
“Breathe?” I asked quizzically, as if he were speaking a foreign language or something.
“Yeah, as in inhale, exhale, and repeat.”
“Oh, yeah . . . right,” I said. “B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Maybe I should try that.”
If only those superpowers would kick in already.
Struggling to Become “Super”
“There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed. But RBin the eyes, heart and mind of your child you are Super Mom.”
Remembering those first few months of motherhood kind of makes me cringe. Now, don’t take my words the wrong way—I was enamored of that beautiful baby I had been given, and was quite aware of how blessed I was. What I struggled with were the changes that came with being a mommy: figuring out which of my baby’s cries meant what, how the whole issue of feeding was supposed to take place, and understanding how to operate (and fully function) on three hours of sleep. In fact, I think I’m still struggling with that one.
Adjustments such as these, well, they’re all part of being a new mom. Unfortunately for me, though, I didn’t get the memo. Instead, my induction into this “maternal sorority” wasn’t the smooth transition I had originally hoped for, and those early days spent in “the motherhood” transpired a bit differently than the visions I had spent years conjuring up in my head. You see, initially, I had expectations of a well-orchestrated daily schedule comprised of pure baby bliss: maybe routine trips to the gym, long showers, and a much-needed nap or two (or three) each day. Throw in the gourmet meals I was going to whip up for my husband each night, and the spotless house I was going to regularly maintain, and I was convinced of my destiny to redefine the “super” in supermom . . . and channel my inner Wonder Woman in the process, I might add.
I’m sure you can guess what happened instead.
The truth of the matter was this: after becoming a mom, my world consisted of a constant struggle to maintain balance in my life. It was evident that all of those ambitious ideas I once possessed were totally ridiculous on my part, and the reality of my situation was that I hardly ever worked out, cooked macaroni and cheese out of the box, a lot, and detested the mere thought of cleaning my own home. I was run-down, tired, and in need of assistance. My clothes didn’t fit, my hair was a mess, and that unblemished, outward facade I once possessed was long gone. I was forced into accepting the fact that my life on this roller coaster ride of motherhood was going to require every ounce of energy I could muster, a whole lot of help from up above, . . . and maybe a serious caffeine addiction, as well.
But wait. Wasn’t this “ride” supposed to be amazing?
Amazing? Yes! Perfect? No.
Were doubts, questions, and moments of pure pandemonium going to surface?
Would I become the type of mother who prayed incessantly, all the while enduring bouts of temporary insanity, a jolted confidence, and the severe testing of my patience along the way?
Odds were, likely.
Was I going to mess up from time to time, struggle with imperfection a lot, and question my parenting abilities just as often?
All signs would point to “yes.”
But who told me I needed to be perfect? And who said that my best wasn’t going to be good enough? It certainly wasn’t God. Nope, that person was me. I was a new mom struggling to become “super” . . . and I was losing the battle, big time.
So, Now What?
“Enjoy every single moment. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the inspiring, the not-so-glamorous moments. And thank God through it all.”
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned a thing or two, or five hundred, about parenting my clanRB. At this point in my tenure, I’m finally understanding what works, what doesn’t, and what will single-handedly drive me to the brink of insanity without hopes of ever returning. Hey, there’s no denying that motherhood is a blessing and those children of ours are without question miracles, but that doesn’t mean raising them is easy, now does it?
In fact, ever since birthing my beautiful brood, I’ve morphed into a woman that, at times, I hardly recognize. I don’t say this to scare you of course, but my mind has become pretty scattered (okay—make that seriously spacey instead). “It can’t be that bad, could it?” Well, that useless ’80s music trivia I once prided myself on knowing is now a thing of the past. Dates, names, faces, and childhood memories have seemingly retreated to somewhere in the recesses of my brain, and I’m lucky if I leave the house each morning without sporting my ensemble inside out, upside down, or displaying unsightly deodorant stains. This mom (yep, me) has been found in public on more than one occasion donning two different shoes, a bra gone AWOL, and hair that would never be categorized as cute. Those days of carrying on an adult conversation (you know—using words other than “cacaRB” and “binky”) are long gone, and instead of putting my college degrees to use, I simply have them hanging on the wall to help remind me that I even went to college at all.RB
So, now what?
Girls, I think most of us can agree that we possess the desire to become more prepared, better organized, less frazzled mothers. I myself spend a sizeable amount of time praying for more patience, less frustration, and for God to mold me into the type of mom I so desperately want to become—perhaps one whose even a little less absent-minded at times. Hey, I don’t deny that, on occasion, I’ve even prayed for God to grant me some sort of superpowers, as well. Maybe not bionic strength or x-ray vision, but perhaps an extra arm or two for multi-tasking purposes, the ability to turn back time after a not-so-great mommy meltdown, the option to clone myself so I can be in ten different places at once, or simply the power to be everything to everyone during every moment of everyday (without collapsing in utter exhaustion).
Ahh, the life of a Wannabe is never boring, is it?
You, too, might be in search of easier ways to accomplish specific tasks and complete those unending errands. And you might also be a mom who finds herself stuck in a routine that she just can’t work her way out of. Like you, I wanted to be more structured. I wanted to be more prepared. I wanted less stress in my life and more time for those memorable mommy moments I was craving with my youngins’.
I wanted all of these things and more, but didn’t know where to start or how to begin decoding the mystery of motherhood.
After all, there are no cheat sheet or crib notes we can reference. The manual I was in desperate need of to help me figure out how to do this role of mine—broken down by age and gender, and inclusive of all those unexpected surprises that would most certainly pop up on this journeyRB—just didn’t exist. But through my experience, and inexperience, I began to glean some valuable insight into this role. I found that the unexpected should be expected. I finally began to understand and appreciate what the concept of true patience really meant, and that being present day in and day out in the lives of my children, and loving them with my whole heart, was the most important thing I could do for them. I learned all of these things and more through ups and downs, highs and lows (a nervous breakdown or two…kidding, of course), and ultimately, through divine intervention.
But enough chit-chat already, right? Let’s get started by providing you with the information you’re looking for. After all, this guide is in your hands in order to give you tips you’ll need to make your life easier. And it’s been written to give you the practical advice you’re searching for, with the Christian foundation that’s necessary.
The Three Basic Rules of Motherhood
So, what are the three basic rules of motherhood that every Wonder Woman Wannabe should know?
I’m so glad you asked.
1. Expect the unexpected.
I’ll be honest in stating that I haven’t always been a prepared mom. In fact, there have been plenty of times where I have jumped in the car, kids in tow, only to forget some pretty important necessities. You know—items that no mother should be without? We’re talking diapers, wipes, jackets (in the dead of winter), my cell phone, shoes—of all things, how does one forget shoes—and the list goes on and on. You name it and I have forgotten it, because I have failed to take the necessary steps in preparing myself in advance.
It’s in those times that I seriously think my mommy card should be revoked.
But in order to stave off stress and avoid embarrassment, we need to be uber-organized, prepared mommies. If you haven’t heard this before, I’m telling you now: preparation is key when it comes to being a mom. Whether it be packing your kiddos diaper bag the night before in order to avoid the last-minute, early-morning scuffle or simply making a list to remind yourself of your child’s necessities, being prepared is vital to your sanity and overall well-being. Want to make sure you’re prepared for when the unexpected happens to you? How about trying these tips on for size.
Make a list: Now, I’m a Capricorn by birth, which means that I am a maker of all things list-like. Is that even a word? No, seriously, if there’s a list to be made for any reason at all, I’m the gal making one. And my advice to you would be to do the same. Keep a journal, a daily planner, or whatever else will help you stay on task and be more organized. Go ahead, make a list (and check it twice if need be), in order to keep on top of your chores, errands, or any other type of thought in need of jotting down. Believe me—you’ll be glad you did!
Maintain a schedule: I absolutely must keep track of my appointments, and any other event I’m scheduled to make some sort of appearance at, or they become completely lost in the recesses of my brain. I’m a mom, I’ve had kids, and that means my memory is shot (we’ve been over this before). It’s a given. But part of being prepared for day-to-day endeavors is knowing where you have to be, at what time, and for how long. This requires a bit of planning and some organization. Use your cell phone calendar to keep on task, or establish a wall calendar at home so your spouse, kids, and anybody else interested in your monthly activities can be “in the know.” Keeping an up-to-date schedule is a huge sanity saver, girls!
Get help: I am a mom of three. I’ll let you do the math here, but since there is only one of me and three of them, this would indicate that I am severely outnumbered when it comes to my mothering duties. I need help. In fact, I need a lot of help. Confessing this doesn’t make me weak, nor does it make me less of a mom . . . it simply makes me aware of the fact that I need assistance (and that I should never RBbe too proud to ask for it). Do yourselves a favor, moms and employ neighbors, friends, in-laws, parents, or whoever else can help you as often as possible. Help is often times needed . . . and usually just a phone call away.
2. A little patience, please.
Who else out there finds themselves quick-tempered and easily frustrated? I’ve got both of my hands held high on this question and will be the first to admit that part of the problem with me resides in the fact that I no longer think like a kid. I think like an adult instead, and expect my kids to think (and act) the same way that I do.
But as Mark Merrill once stated, “Patience is choosing to control your emotions rather than letting your emotions control you.”
Hey, our kids are going to make mistakes. They’re human. At times, they’re going to do things that make absolutely no sense at all, in this lifetime or any other. They’re going to act out, behave poorly, throw tantrums, and embarrass the heck out of us, because guess what? They’re kids, and the whole concept of good behavior just so happens to be a learned one. It’s how we respond to those crazy situations that make all the difference. Yelling and screaming won’t get you anywhere (believe me, I’ve tried), but controlling your tongue, using reason instead, and implementing the use of prayer most definitely will. When your patience is all but gone, try a few of these tips to help you keep your cool.
Count to ten . . . or eighty: For me, ten seconds won’t cut it. In order to calm my temper and reach that happy place within once again, I shoot for eighty seconds instead. Take some deep, calming breaths and try to breathe your way through the frustration. Remember those Lamaze breathing methods you once used to deliver you’re now tantrum-throwing toddler? Time to brush off those birthing manuals and bust out those techniques all over again. Breathe away that frustration and keep your cool when tempers threaten to rage. It’s worth a try, right?
Pray: In fact, pray like you’ve never prayed before. I find it helpful to sound off in the middle of my frustration: “Lord, help me now, because (enter child’s name here) is trying my patience. I need you to let him know that I can’t take it anymore. Will you please help (speak child’s name here, once again) to become a sweet, loving, and respectful child? You know, the kind of gentleman (or young lady) you call him to be? Lord, hear my prayer. Amen.”
Hey, God knows when you’re about to flip your lid, and He’s aware of how trying His little creations can be. So, seek Him out for help anytime you’re being tested and your sanity is in question. Better yet, ask God for help first and go to Him always . . . and often.
Keep calm and carry on: I feel like this phrase was written especially for me. Keep this saying close to your heart, fresh on your mind, and maybe plaster it somewhere in your home as a reminder when times get tough—because frustration is inevitable when you’re a mommy, which means we had better find ways to deal with it appropriately, amen? Keep calm girls . . . breathe, pray, relax, repeat.
3. Be there or be square
Life can get pretty crazy at times—as in the out-of-control, coo-coo type of crazy. Time speeds by much too quickly. I often find myself anxiously wondering how in the heck my children grew to their current ages and how soon their sweet childhoods will be but memories (ones I hope I’ll be able to remember, that is). It’s downright scary. All those efforts to freeze time have failed miserably. But even if we mamas can’t stop the clock, we do possess the power to make the most of the time we have by enjoying our children purposely, willfully, with our whole hearts, and with 100 percent of our attention. Being present means being deliberate in everything we do with our kiddos. It means refusing to allow the mindless, monotonous jobs of motherhood—cooking, cleaning, laundering, and so on—to consume us. Instead, we focus on the larger picture ahead by not getting wrapped up in the small, meaningless stuff. Confused? Let me clarify:
Together time: Set aside a period each day to spend intentional time with your kids. Read together before bed, watch a favorite family television show, talk about the day’s events, play a board game, or better yet, spend some much-needed time in Scripture. No matter what you do, make these designated moments of the day routine for your child. You know, a portion of the day they can count on and look forward to spending with you.
Listen up: As a mom, my mind just happens to always be in motion. Whether it’s trying to remember if I turned the Crock-Pot on this morning or whether I failed to turn the curling iron off, my brain is never at rest. Come to find out, my children are the same way. But rather than keeping their thoughts to themselves, they’d much rather express them . . . every single one of them, out loud and all of the time. As moms, we need to listen to our kiddos. We need to turn off our minds and turn on our ears. It doesn’t matter if our kids don’t make sense or if the vocabulary they’re using doesn’t exactly equate to English. They feel happy, secure, and safe enough to share with us all that’s going on in that brain of theirs, and their begging for a captive audience. So, let’s make a concerted effort to place our thoughts on hold as we intentionally listen to what their young minds have to say. Because chances are, if we don’t pay attention now, they won’t give us the time of day later.
Limit technology: Cell phones, computers, tablets, and other technological devices that have made their way into our lives are also the instruments currently stripping us from valuable time with our families and loved ones. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of letting these electronic contraptions invade my life. Try curbing your use of these devices, especially when at home, and tend to your social media needs well after they’ve gone to bed.
If only motherhood were this easy though, right? If only these simple practices mentioned above could be the answers to all of our questions and the solutions to all of those mommy dilemmas. But keep in mind: this is only Chapter One, girls. Hang on tight, have no fears, and keep on reading.
A number of sites had this quote with “and”
Punctuation found at this site and others.
Might consider saying “can of #.” Since the first story started off with the experience of your firstborn, readers might be interested to see the “then and now” big picture.
Consider changing to “poopy” or some other version of caca. Funny enough, in my house, that would was a no-no to use growing up. 🙂
I would suggest “stinky” as well, but then you’d have rhyming words.
Mine never even made it to “wall status.” They’re tucked in my closet next to a heating pad. Very sad.
This one word seems to convey what you’re getting at, and avoids the awkward phrasing. Okay change?
Some of us (me!) still struggle with this on a daily basis. Using “should” may help remind us stubborn moms that we need to find humility in this area. That includes being willing to call our mother-in-laws for kid-pickup when we’re down to one car. RGG!
I’m writing this as I’m sitting at my daughter’s bedside in the PICU and I guess I do appear as if I’m the Wonder Woman Wannabe described in this book – I’ve been here since Friday and haven’t left the hospital grounds – although I’m still taking care of myself too. This book was a surprisingly wonderful way to look at the way us moms try to do everything on our own – even the disgusting areas like poop, pee, vomit and those boogers – Jenny Lee Sulpizio has a refreshing take on being a mom and like me she also has 3 children and her stories sound much like mine. However, unlike Jenny, I couldn’t wait to get my mini-van, although now I drive an SUV but I sitll have dreams of filling a passenger van with my children and $20 sunglasses aren’t cheap, those would be top of the line in my house.
I read through this in about a day, give or take the interruptions from doctors, nurses and the insertion of a chest tube – it was a relatively easy and fun read that, had I not been where I am I would have more than likely busted out laughing – but that’s not something one usually hears in the PICU. So while I’m not going to surrender my Wonder Woman Wannabe title (I don’t like the whole corset and tight look) I’m going to use some of Jenny’s tips and hints, especially like the ones she gives on working out (since I’ve sort of fallen off the wagon with that) and about hormones and our wonderful visitor. This isn’t your usual parenting/motherhood book but one that offers actually tips that can be implemented by any mom and that can actually work – unlike some of the more far fetched books out there.