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Mama's Got a Fake I.D.: How to Reveal the Real You Behind all That Mom Paperback – March 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“Caryn Rivideniera is a real mom. With refreshing honesty, she casts vision and shares a perspective that every mom needs. If you've ever felt like you've lost yourself in the midst of raising a family, this book will help you find yourself again!”
Jill Savage, mother of five, founder and CEO of Hearts at Home

“Caryn writes with humble and heartfelt authenticity, understanding the mixed emotions of motherhood. She unfolds a new and deep perspective for what it means to understand our real identity in Christ and why this is imperative to our lives as we navigate our passions and the potential to imprint our communities with God’s hand.”
Dr. Liz Selzer, director of leadership development and events for MOPS International and executive editor of FullFill magazine

“Finally, a book to shatter stereotypes that shackle moms! Caryn honors motherhood while challenging moms not to lose their unique personhood in this overwhelming stage of life. As a woman who has experienced this identity crisis myself, I'm grateful to Caryn for creating an insightful and much-needed book with the potential to empower moms to become all God designed them to be.”
–Dr. Sue Edwards, assistant professor of Christian education at Dallas Theological Seminary

“I’ve met many moms who passionately love their kids, yet struggle with feeling marginalized. Does being a good mom really require them to surrender the goals and gifts that make them all God created them to be? The good news is, it doesn’t. With wit and wisdom, Caryn guides women who love being a mom through the process of rediscovering and reclaiming their full identity in Christ.”
Jane Johnson Struck, executive editor of MomSense magazine; former executive editor of Christian Parenting Today

“While moms love their kids more than life itself, there is more to every mother than the title ‘mom’. God wants mothers to live their fullest lives, and Caryn reminds us that in the throes of motherhood we can still continue to find our true identities in God.”
– Tracey Bianchi, coordinator of women's ministries at Christ Church of Oak Brook and speaker for MOPS International and other organizations

“I’ve heard mothers say that sacrificing their identity is part and parcel of being a good mom. Caryn shows us that the exact opposite is true. With humor and delightful insight, Caryn reveals that Jesus is thrilled to help every mom discover her unique identity. This is not a selfish side project but an essential way to worship God.”
– Jonalyn Grace Fincher, apologist and author of Ruby Slippers: How the Soul of a Woman Brings Her Home

“Caryn speaks for a lot of moms by openly discussing the difficulties of reducing a woman’s identity to one label and a single season of her life. This book will be a refreshing read for moms who share that struggle. This book gives startling evidence that we need to reclaim God’s richly multi-dimensional calling on His daughters’ lives.”
–Carolyn Custis James, author of The Gospel of Ruth

“With a fresh mix of humor and understanding, Caryn speaks to the women I’ve heard from through the years: the women who feel invisible beyond their roles as moms. Caryn gives moms who struggle with their ‘fake I.D.s’ a voice and a way to find their true selves.”
Ginger Kolbaba, editor of Today’s Christian Woman magazine

“Caryn has given us back those little pieces of ourselves we thought were gone for good. With a clear, biblical reminder that we are first and foremost the daughters of God, Caryn gently nudges us out from behind the false faces of maternal perfection and shows us how to reveal the women God created us to be, women of strength and vision and creativity and depth.”
– Carla Barnhill, author of The Myth of the Perfect Mother and former editor of Christian Parenting Today

“This is a great read: humorous, straightforward, deeply theological, encouraging, and challenging. It will change the way you see yourself, other moms, and God himself. Once you start reading, you’ll be changed and you’ll discover new ways you can change the world.”
–Amy Simpson, vice president of the Leadership Media Group of Christianity Today International and author of Diving Deep: Experiencing Jesus Through Spiritual Disciplines

“This is a conversation long overdue. Are there outside pressures to fit in? Yes. Is there just as much pressure in the faith world to fit in or conform? Sure. Thank goodness for an honest dialogue that takes women deeper as we celebrate the roles in our lives while exploring who God made us to be.”
– T. Suzanne Eller, author of The Woman I Am Becoming: Embrace the Chase for Identity, Faith, and Destiny

“Caryn’s fresh and practical perspective captured my attention–so much so that I let dinner burn as I tore through pages that reflected myself. This work is invaluable not just to mothers, but also to churches and families desiring to respect and appreciate moms for who we really are. I am grateful to Caryn for finally providing moms with such a soul-affirming resource.”
–Julie Clawson, author of Everyday Justice

“This delightful book is written for women like me. We are like Cinderella’s stepsisters, who tried on the glass slipper of mommyhood and discovered a less-than-perfect fit. With humor, grace, and candid self-disclosure, Caryn encourages moms to embrace their God-inspired identity–never ‘just a mom’ but ‘a mom and _______.’ Find out how you might best fill in the blank.”
– Eileen Button, columnist for The Flint (Mich.) Journal

“Did the picket-fence, ‘I’m just a mom’ role lose its paint in the fifties, and you’ve been waiting for someone–anyone–to point that out? Wait no longer. Caryn Rivadeneira and a whole new generation of Christian moms are trading paintbrushes for backhoes. Rebellious and deeply affirming, Mama's Got a Fake I.D. will help you explore the life-giving, Christ-empowering world after the picket fence comes down.”
–Sally Morgenthaler, author of The Emergent Manifesto of Hope

About the Author

The former managing editor of Marriage Partnership and Christian Parenting Today, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira has been writing for and speaking to women for more than a decade. Today she is the managing editor of, an online community for Christian women in leadership. Rivedeneira lives with her husband and their three children in the Chicago suburbs.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400074932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400074938
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,399,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello! I am a writer, speaker, and serve on the worship staff at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church. I'm one of those kinds of writers who's been writing since the magic age of 7 and have written all sorts of stuff. But the stuff you can find here at Amazon is: Shades of Mercy: A Novel (RiverNorth, 2013), Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (Revell, 2013), Grumble Hallelujah: Learning to Love Life When It Lets You Down (Tyndale House, 2011), Mama's Got a Fake I.D.: How to Reveal the Real You Behind All that Mom (Waterbrook, 2009). The stuff you can read elsewhere includes my writing as a regular contributor to Christianity Today's Her.Meneutics and a columnist for Re:Frame Media's Think Christian. I also write regularly for places like Relevant and FullFill, along with several other media outlets.

I live outside of Chicago with my husband, three kids and one pit bull. Visit me at, on my Facebook author page ( and on Twitter @CarynRivadeneir!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have some serious issues with the typical messages the church sends to moms. But it's hard to question those messages without being accused of being a bad mom. So that's why I loved this book. Caryn has provided a resource (for moms and dads and well, anyone who has to relate to moms ever...) that helps get past some of those false messages and affirm moms' true identity in God's eyes. And she does it with humor and encouragement throughout.

I found myself reflected on the pages of this book. I know I have tried to pass off my fake id - attempting to fit into a one-size-fits-all motherhood mold. Caryn pointed out though the hypocrisy in encouraging my kids to develop as unique individuals while I gave up my identity at the motherhood door. That's not the sum of who God created me to be, and if I want to truly follow him I need to claim my full identity. Moms shouldn't feel guilty to be themselves, explore their gifts, and follow Christ. Caryn affirms that it's okay to be more than a mom, be upset at the stupid ways our culture treats moms, and admit our frustrations as moms. She affirms that we are not alone in dealing with the loneliness and loss of self that plagues the modern American mother. And that people who think that moms have all the free time in the world are just clueless.

But at the same time, this book provides resources in learning how to be content as a mom. This doesn't involve striving to be someone you are not (including the perfect domestic goddess mother). It doesn't limit mothers or try to strip them of their God-given talents and identity. But it does involve learning to be grateful for what we have right now - being thankful in all circumstances.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chad Hall on April 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a husband and dad, I found this book to be a jewel. Well-written, witty, intelligent and hilarious at times, it kept me reading and learning the fake i.d. world my wife is in (and to which I often unknowingly contribute). The insights are making me a better husband - one that sees my wife as more than a mom and makes room for her real, God-given identity to flourish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Debra Gaynor on March 18, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Caryn Dahlstrand Ribadeneira offers readers a guide to being the spiritual person God intended us to be. "God created us to bear His image in all of life, not just in one area." "Too often, those of us who wish others could see us as more than moms keep quiet about it, out of typical mom guilt and church-induced shame."
God made you a unique person. Becoming a mom does not change that. While motherhood is challenging, time consuming, and fulfilling, it does not change who God created you to be. Before your children were born, you existed; you were capable of thinking, dreaming, and planning. That does not stop with motherhood. Unfortunately, many women feel guilty for wanting more out of life than motherhood. Sometimes the church itself perpetuates that feeling of shame and guilt for not being satisfied to be "just a mom."
Rivadeneira writes in an easy-to-understand style. She adds just the right amount of humor to her text to keep a smile on readers' faces. She has included questions at the end of each chapter to keep you thinking. This would be a great study for a young mother's group. She also furnishes the address to a blog, where you can discuss this book with other women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cbd on March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Caryn echoes many of the thoughts and issues I've struggled with since becoming a mom six years ago. I've only read the introduction, but I can safely say this is a must-read. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for others. It's time for all of us--women, men, pastors, etc.--to talk about how we have viewed motherhood and whether or not those views are biblical. Caryn opens up the dialogue in an honest and refreshing way. I'm looking forward to reading more, discussing it with people in my church and community, and seeing how God uses Caryn's voice to impact His kingdom. He is already using her voice, along with the voices of many other brave, intelligent women who write about and address these issues, to impact me.
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Format: Paperback
On a quiet morning in mid-March of 2008. A fellow professor and I were softly chatting in a library of the university where we served as professors. Both of us had been encouraged by mentors from early on throughout our academic careers, about our potential for contributing to the academic community, about charting new territories for women scholars. And we loved academia. We loved the life of the mind. And we never thought, in all our years of learning and studying and teaching and writing, that our gender would ever stand in our way. Both the feminists and our fathers had taught us that we could be anything we wanted to be, that the world was ours for the taking, that we were only limited by the things we never chose to do. But on that March morning, we secretly admitted that we didn't feel that the academic world was all we wanted out of life--we didn't just want to be scholars and writers and professors--we wanted to be mothers. And we wondered how on earth such two demanding, seemingly opposing spheres of life could ever be reconciled and how we could participate fully, incarnationally in both worlds. I remember the tension building as we talked, as our minds scrambled for answers to what we thought were new questions. "The problem," I said, "is that there are no maps."

Exactly one year later, I gave birth to my daughter. Motherhood is all and more that I ever dreamed it could be, but tension I felt that March morning remains. Motherhood and academics and writing don't always meld. It's hard to transition from diaper changes to dissertating on the dynamics of spiritual formation. It's a strange, foreign, and sometimes stark borderland where I often check and recheck the path I have chosen.
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