Book Report: Memory Making Mom

Memory Making Mom: Building Traditions that Breathe Life into Your Home by Jessica Smartt

After a sobering family accident, mommy blogger Jessica resolved to be more intentional about making every moment count. This book is the resulting field manual for anyone who’s in serious need of fun. (The appendix alone lists 200 ideas to get you started; if that’s overwhelming, there are bite-sized questions to consider and suggested activities that follow every chapter.) Among other topics, Jessica addresses spontaneous adventures, sick days, educational bucket lists, and the ministry of food. No matter where you are on motherhood’s memory-making spectrum—Pinterest-level amazing or flailing about in survival mode—today is a good day to seize.

Some of the quotes I found most inspiring include:

We must be celebration seekers and adventure experts because traditions don’t just announce themselves.

When we make a memory, something powerful is happening. We are rewriting the story of our families, our own lives … At any given point—isn’t it amazing?—we can create a new narrative. We are not victims of our days.

For a good long while in the home, learning is play and play is learning.

The simple times build character. The special times give memories. Kids need both.

We wait. Sometimes with giddy, childish anticipation. Sometimes with quiet longings for Jesus to be all that He is, to be the King of our broken world.

A good book is its own sort of adventure.

[When it comes to the avalanche of possible ways to be festive,] I believe that there is a good and a better. With our limited time, we must be strategic in our celebrating.

The concept that most sticks out to me from Memory Making Mom is that I need to “rework my preconceptions about what is an important use of my time.” I’d always heard that motherhood changes everything, but I. had. no. clue. Before becoming a mama, my Type-A personality would swirl around like a tornado, checking off my to-do list like I was getting paid. Now I’m spending hours changing diapers and warming bottles and picking up yet another mess. Without a massive priority shift, my lack of “important” productivity is enough to drive me bonkers. Jessica’s advice: “Dare to waste your time on your family.” Setting my kingdom aside and receiving the kingdom of God in my home, which belongs to little children? Worthwhile. A generous and open-handed approach helps me calm down and enjoy the moment. (Those dang messes can wait—these precious hours with my baby won’t last forever.)

Here are ten book-related questions I’ll need to journal through:

  • What kind of nestmaker have I been? do I want to be?
  • How can I add fresh beauty to existing traditions?
  • Why could my family in particular benefit from making strategic memories?
  • When has God used food to minister to me?
  • What waiting tools help me prepare my heart during Lent and Advent?
  • Where could our calendar use an infusion of fun through a new tradition?
  • Which passions of mine are worth passing along to my daughter?
  • How can I make space to retreat from the daily press of my responsibilities to listen and ponder quietly in my soul?
  • When faced with bids for attention, how might I convey, “I notice you; you matter”?
  • How can I guard my baby’s heart from feeling like she’s a tagalong to my agenda?

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