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Survival Tips For Mums

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Posted by Anna Marsh, 16 Apr 2020

Anna Marsh reviews Elizabeth El Mostain's book, "Survival Tips For Mums: Practical Ideas for Thriving in the Early Years of Motherhood".

Elizabeth El Mostain is a pastor’s wife and mum-of-six living in France, but don’t let that intimidate you! This book gives a wonderfully warm, wise, and honest perspective on what it looks like to rely on God through the bumpiness of mothering young children. It’s also jam-packed with laugh-out-loud and ‘Oh, so it’s not just me then!’ moments.

The first half is divided into four sections, each focussing on a different area of life in which mums need some TLC: mental health, physical health, spiritual health, and social health. How is it possible to do a quiet time or practice hospitality or even wash your hair when little people are demanding your attention every moment? Elizabeth encourages mums to ‘accept the limitations, the changing bags, the messes, and thank God for what he has given you today. Learn to rest on your heavenly Father even in the crazy moments, doing your work for Jesus.’ (p79) This might mean that sometimes, your house isn’t clean and your guests eat frozen pizza for tea! There’s a lot of judgement and comparison and guilt out there for mums, and it’s wonderful to be reminded that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – even if your child has just bitten an old lady or dropped your friend’s phone down the toilet.

The second half is an A-Z of tips covering a wide range of mum-problems, from chicken pox to potty training to fussy eaters. So much of parenting is trial and error, but after six children Elizabeth has done a lot of that hard ‘error’ work for us and can pass on what actually works! This gives new mums a head-start on problem-solving, and even as a second-time mum, there were plenty of brilliant ideas for me to try now and more to store up for the next stage.

I’d say it’s not just a great gift for mums of young children – it’s essential. I ordered 10 straight off. For mature Christians, it will show them how to keep deepening their faith in a dramatically different season. For new or nominal Christians, it will show them what they’ve been missing and encourage them to get really stuck in. And for unbelievers, there’s a huge amount of practical wisdom, but even the A-Z tips section is generously peppered with Jesus – they can take it or leave it, but who knows what God might do through it?

Anna Marsh spends her time looking after her two pre-schoolers, and is married to Jack, who is training for ordained ministry.

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