The interview I did with Colleen on The Right Heart is one of my favorites. Her brand of honesty about what real Catholic marriage and parenthood looks like, on the ground, is right up my alley. One message Colleen was passionate about even back then is the idea that there is no recipe for raising the perfect Catholic family or being the perfect Catholic mom. I still remember her telling me at one point during our conversation that night, “There are a thousand ways to be a great mom, Erin!”
Now let’s all just stop and sit with that one for a moment, shall we..
So, when Colleen got in touch with me a few months ago (three weeks after I had my fifth baby) and asked if I would consider reading and reviewing her upcoming book, Good Enough is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom, I shot her back an email immediately: “You had me at the title. Yes!”
Even though I barely ever blog these days. Even though when I got Colleen’s email I was nursing a three-week-old at 2am and was OH-VER-WHELMED (still am, mostly) with five young children, and homeschooling, and what I’d serve for breakfast, and what a mess my house was, and how many times I had lost my temper Big Time with the kids that day.
I had a hunch this book was going to be a good read for me.
After reading it, I really do think it’d be a great read for some of you, too.
Because…ya’ll…just the title of this book is such an important lesson for us moms. Sometimes especially for Catholic moms. I read so much in Good Enough is Good Enough that spoke truth to my own anxieties, insecurities, and temptations as a Catholic wife and mother.
I’d like to share just a few of the many quotes I highlighted while reading Good Enough is Good Enough. (I sent a few of these quotes to some girlfriends right after I finished the book, and two of them immediately bought the book on their phones.)
“Here is one truth we Catholic parents have to accept: we must quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and set to work becoming holy within the confines of our own particular families. St. Katharine Drexel once said, “It is a lesson we all need–to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path.”‘
“Sometimes, we end up being grateful for our failures, because it makes one thing really clear: we’re not here to be particular kinds of parents. We’re here to be the parents of particular kids.”
“[Life] is going to require that we surrender those idealistic visions of Catholic family life we may have and accept the real family we have sitting right in front of us.”
“Our best bet is to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and trust Jesus to fill in the gaps of even the most difficult of situations so long as we offer our simple loaves and fishes, an offering that is not perfect but that is good enough. The truth is, we aren’t responsible for whether our children become Catholics. Success isn’t the goal. Miracle making isn’t the goal. Our goal is to discern the path God is calling us to and then to do all we can to stay on the path and teach our children to do the same. It isn’t our job to make our kids stay Catholics. It is our job to show up with the necessary supplies and to be faithful. If we want to really win at Catholic parenting, we need to go to the mountaintop with our loaves and fishes, sit at the feet of Jesus, and patiently wait for the miracle. I’ll meet you there.”
That last quote is so awesome. It’s one I need to pray with often.
We’re not responsible for being perfect, but we’re responsible for trying our best.
Every night, Michael and I pray together before going to bed. It doesn’t take long, and it’s nothing fancy. But it’s faithful. (And isn’t that so much the point?) Daily couple prayer is a Domestic Church commitment that has become a quiet anchor in our marriage. When we pray every night, we pray that God would multiply our efforts as spouses and parents, and give us wisdom and right discernment. We thank Him out loud for the blessings and successes of the day, and we ask for His mercy to work out any problems we had or messes we made. We pray for help to do our best, and we ask God to do the rest.
Colleen’s humble honesty in this book about her own struggles reminds us that we all come to the table of marriage and parenthood with different gifts, weaknesses, personalities, spouses, children, resources, backgrounds, and–maybe most importantly–Heavenly plans for our lives.
Colleen puts it so well: we aren’t growing into the women God created us to be despite our internal and external struggles, but through them.
I am actually the very last blogger on this official blog tour of Good Enough is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom. Below is a list of the stellar women who have preceded me on this blog tour, with links to their reviews. It was an honor to be asked to review this book, and I love the idea that some of you may be blessed by the book because you read this review.
But you know what? In the end, I’m just grateful for the way this book has blessed my own life. 🙂
“Good Enough is Good Enough: A Book Every Mom Should Read” – Sarah Reinhard, Snoring Scholar
“Good Enough is Good Enough Book Review” (and podcast interview) – Sterling Jaquith, Coffee and Pearls
“Good Enough is Good Enough Blog Tour: Q&A with Colleen Duggan” – Amanda Villagomez, Focusing on the Core
“Book Review and Reflection: Good Enough is Good Enough” – Allison Gingras, Reconciled to You
P.S. If you use the coupon code COLLEEN, you can get 20% off the book at Ave Maria Press’s website 🙂