If you’re called to motherhood, what does that mean? In the simplest terms, it means you have children, who either came to you by way of birth or adoption (both formal and informal). Chimene Shipley Dupler posits that being a mother is a high calling in her new book on the topic. Hers is the voice of encouragement, whispering in our ears that we can do this mothering thing because God has given us this work.
Written in a breezy, cheerleader tone, The High Calling of Motherhood offers guidance on what it means to be called to motherhood. The chapters flow into each other and cover a lot of ground, from social media feeding our insecurities to the power of prayer in the lives of our children. The book’s strength lies in her biblical grounding that God is sovereign over our entire lives—and the lives of our children. All too often, we let fear reign in our hearts instead of resting in the sovereignty of Almighty God.
Dupler’s sincerity and her passion for helping moms shines throughout the book. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to overcome some inherent problems with the book overall. Her prose exuded excitement—a good editor should have curbed her generous use of exclamation points (!)—as well as repeated phrases and ideas, such as informing us over and over (and over) again that motherhood is a high calling (and that’s just in the first chapter). Subsequent chapters also have the similar repetitive notes that could have been streamlined and beefed up with a more rigorous exposition.
I also had a hard time with one huge assumption Dupler asserts early on in the book: “But motherhood has always been hard, in every generation and in every culture. Mothering is hard because it comes from the heart.” I know for a fact that my mother or grandmother would never have said that being a mom is hard in general. This “mothering is hard work” is a very modern idea, one that is largely American in nature (read Bringing Up Bebe to see how different modern Frenchwomen view motherhood, for instance).
In addition, the book has more of a “you can do it!” tone than practical advice, which is thin on the ground. It’s all good and well to tell us that we are called to motherhood, but how does that fit into our other callings as wives? Or into our work or volunteer opportunities? I wished for more chapters like the one on storyboarding and visioning, which provided tangible ways to envision our children’s future that could help us through a particular season of life. While she gives us insights into her own life and shares a few stories of other women she’s met, I wanted Dupler to provide the voices of other moms in her book.
The Bottom Line
The High Calling of Motherhood is a saccharine dose of encouragement for moms who have lost their way after having children. You will find much in this book to spur you on to rediscovering your calling as a mother. However, for those who are in search of practical ways to be a mother, you might find Dupler’s work a little lacking. For that group, I recommend How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. For Christian mothers wanting a guidebook to raising kids in the faith, there is no better recommendation than The Mother at Home by John S.C. Abbott, a 19th century American pastor.
Readers can enter The High of Calling of Motherhood Blog Tour Giveaway for a chance to win either a custom made “World Changer” necklace by The Giving Keys or two tickets to attend the Passion4Moms conference being held in Washington, D.C., May 5-6, 2017.