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Momumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family Paperback – May 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...It is a love story, a must read for every Mom (and Dad!). With gut-wrenching honesty, Grant reminds us that imperfection should be celebrated, not feared, because we find beauty, grace and redemption in the messiness of real life.
- Kirk Martin, founder of CelebrateCalm.com and CelebrateADHD.com

More advance praise at jennifergrant.com

Grant stares down the monster of idealized parenthood, laying bare her own dreams and failures as a mom, and ultimately offering up a gentler, more effective model. Any mom living the competitive lifestyle that is modern motherhood will find relief, companionship, and encouragement in this delightful book.


- Lara Krupicka, writer, speaker, mother


MOMumental is a book about parenting, family, and intentional relationships for readers who normally avoid such fare like an overzealous street evangelist. (Raises hand.) Its wit and wisdom completely enraptured me. A delightful and surprising gift to us all.

- Cathleen Falsani award-winning journalist and author

Grant gives moms a real treasure in theis book:  the knowledge that none of us is perfect and yet each of us is up to the monumental task of building a great family.
- Caryn DahstrandRivadeneira, Author


Jennifer Grant's new book is as refreshing as a latte break, as forgiving as your best friend, and a lot cheaper than a therapist. Grant will make you realize that your kids will be fine--and so will you.
- Meg Cox, Author


...It is a love story, a must read for every Mom (and Dad!). With gut-wrenching honesty, Grant reminds us that imperfection should be celebrated, not feared, because we find beauty, grace and redemption in the messiness of real life.
- <span>Kirk Martin</span>, founder of CelebrateCalm.com and CelebrateADHD.com

More advance praise at jennifergrant.com

Grant stares down the monster of idealized parenthood, laying bare her own dreams and failures as a mom, and ultimately offering up a gentler, more effective model. Any mom living the competitive lifestyle that is modern motherhood will find relief, companionship, and encouragement in this delightful book.<div>
- <span>Lara Krupicka</span>, writer, speaker, mother </div>

MOMumental is a book about parenting, family, and intentional relationships for readers who normally avoid such fare like an overzealous street evangelist. (Raises hand.) Its wit and wisdom completely enraptured me. A delightful and surprising gift to us all.

- Cathleen Falsani award-winning journalist and author

Grant gives moms a real treasure in theis book:  the knowledge that none of us is perfect and yet each of us is up to the monumental task of building a great family.<div>- Caryn DahstrandRivadeneira, Author</div>

Jennifer Grant's new book is as refreshing as a latte break, as forgiving as your best friend, and a lot cheaper than a therapist. Grant will make you realize that your kids will be fine --and so will you.<div>- Meg Cox, Author</div>

From the Author

I've written about articles about parenting and family life for as long as I've been a mother - just over sixteen years. Writing - especially writing books and longer form articles - helps me to work through issues that trouble me and to better understand an experience I've had. As I write, my thoughts and convictions are challenged, deepened, and clarified.

When I wrote my first book, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (2011) I grappled with both the ethics and losses associated with adoption and the miracle of adopting a child. When I was writing Love You More, I felt vulnerable and exposed. I revisited old journals. I spoke to adoption professionals. I received angry email from people who hadn't read my work, but are opposed to all adoptions. I examined issues that were painful to focus on, such as gendericide in India and the global orphan crisis.

After that book was done, however, I felt more sure-footed as an adoptive mother. I also was glad to have written what I consider to be a gift to my youngest child. That is, I can't tell her a first-hand account of her birth story, but I can give her this true story of her parents' love for her and detail the way she became our daughter.

In writing MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, I again waded into very personal material. I begin the book by looking at my own childhood desire someday to create a "perfect" family. The notion of family is particularly frightening and alluring to those of us who grew up in "broken homes." We wonder if we have what it takes to be a committed spouse and parent. We worry that somehow we are cursed by our parents' failed marriage or other problems. When I became a mother, I was intent on landing on the perfect way to raise my kids. Organic foods. Mozart on the stereo. Simple, time-tested playthings. No TV. Some of those things are still - sixteen years on - part of my family life, but imperfectly so. Some have fallen away.

I've had to decide, as all parents do, what are my priorities. And in our culture, that can be very difficult to do. Whenever we open a newspaper, hear a teaser for a news show, or scan headlines online, parents are met with conflicting messages about how to raise children.

Everything from the "family bed," to when to wean a baby, to discipline techniques is turned into fodder for making parents feel guilty. We are constantly told that we're failing our kids in multiple ways. But, in the end, all kids really need is what they have needed throughout history. Connected relationships - especially with their parents, a healthy lifestyle, and time to imagine and play. As a parent, I've become more real and relaxed. I no longer compare myself to other moms. I know I'm doing my best to be an intentional, connected parent.

So, MOMumental tells that story of my evolution as a mom. The book tells stories about the family culture I'm trying to create and maintain in my home and about the many missteps I've made. I'm happy that first readers of the book have said that MOMumental has affirmed them, has helped them relax a bit, and has inspired them to take a breath and truly enjoy their children.

I'd love to hear what you think.

  • What are the best ways you've found to connect with your kids?
  • How have you changed as a parent since you first became one?
  • What messages about parenting do you hear on the news, or elsewhere, that most trouble or insult you? 
  • What does being a parent mean to you?

Wishing you all best in your (messy) family adventures.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Worthy Publishing (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617950742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617950742
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,893,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Grant is the author of four books: Love You More, MOMumental, Disquiet Time, and Wholehearted Living.

She is a promiscuous reader who (usually) finishes what she starts, and is just as likely to be found reading Dinosaur Bob as Kate Chopin. Her work has been published on britannica.com, adoption.com, momitforward.com, and eatdinner.org and in magazines including Chicago Parent, Christianity Today, Draft, MomSense, and Conscious Choice. For more than a decade, she wrote features, restaurant profiles, and general interest and family life columns for Sun-Times Media newspapers. She also was a health and family columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

Grant is a contributor to and co-editor of Disquiet Time with her friend Cathleen Falsani. She is also writing Wholehearted Living: Five Minute Reflections for Modern Moms, to be published by Loyola Press. Both Disquiet Time and Wholehearted Living will be released in 2014.

Published in May 2012 by Worthy Publishing, her second book, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, was featured in Publishers Weekly and The Christian Science Monitor.

Jennifer's memoir, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter was published in August 2011 by Thomas Nelson publishers.

Jennifer is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and received her Masters degree in English literature with concentrations in fiction writing and critical theory from Southern Methodist University.

She lives with her husband, four children, and a wise and affectionate mutt named Shiloh outside of Chicago, Illinois.

Find her online at jennifergrant.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. G. Scott on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
First things first: Grant, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, is an adroit storyteller. Packed into this book are many stories from Grant's life with kids--stories that are filled with wisdom and humor. But while her book is an entertaining (and refreshing) read, I don't think that's the most important contribution that MOMumental makes. Like Grant, I was a "child of divorce", "a latchkey kid" and I, too, heard all the doom-and-gloom predictions that psychiatrists and pastors alike used to make about our generation. Maybe you did too. We were the cursed generation. In a nutshell, we were doomed to terrible marriages and were set up to be colossal failures at being parents. In MOMumental, Grant tackles this myth and points out several ways to be a successful parent--albeit not perfect--no matter the baggage you come with. Read her adventures in parenting--you'll be blessed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By More than just mama on April 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am an avid reader who likes books on parenting and motherhood, and I am a fan of Jennifer Grant because she makes me feel like she is one of us. A person who tries to make it through each day and make connections with her children that will make them feel loved and valued.

One of my favorite stories in the book was when she wrote about her children fighting and how she had to let them work things out. She had to fight her urge to get in between the battle because she wanted them to know the home was a safe place where they could live together and feel heard. As moms, we want to fix things and make sure everyone is happy, but Jennifer Grant reminds us stop trying to be that perfect or functional family, but to create a home that is filled with memories, where people can grow, and just be REAL.

Jennifer Grant is a wonderful writer who allows moms to breath deeply and be inspired to keep doing our best in a culture that puts unfair pressure on moms to do everything perfectly. This is a great book by a mom who understands motherhood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ruth A. Hill on July 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I come across a good parenting book, I am instantly mesmerized. Add a Christian perspective to it, and I am definitely hooked. Jennifer Grant has written a book that is definitely all that and more. Over my years as a mother, I have read several "mother" books, but this is probably one of the best I have ever read. It is practical, humorous, and above all, non-condemning!

In the past, I have read mothering books that made me feel like I had to do A, B, and C in order to be a better mom. Oh, and if I didn't X, Y, and Z, I was going to mess my child up for life! I am so glad that Jennifer Grant does not take that view. She even shares stories of other's mistakes (including hers) that makes mother realize that it we are going to mess up (and sometimes mess up big!). And it is okay. We do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time.

I share her view of little kids. I struggled through my daughter's early years, but I am enjoying her now. It does get easier. Even though there are other issues that will arise, I am glad my daughter is the age she is now. No more diapers or bottles.

My favorite page in the book was her take on the "Serenity Prayer." I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but I definitely want to frame a copy for my wall! I also was comforted when she talked about the different "bad mom" names she has had to endure over the years. I know how it feels to have someone criticize your parenting skills. Not fun at all!

I have no criticisms at all except she needs some companion guide to this that has some of her inspiring sayings. It would be neat to do this as a light, fun mom's study with some kind of interactive workbook. But until that happens, I will just go back and read certain parts when I get to feeling down as a mother.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By melissa_k on July 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Author Jennifer Grant knows what it's like to have sweet, idealistic dreams of mothering collide head-on with the real work of raising kids. And that it doesn't always fit the picture-perfect template in our heads.

In Grant's book, MOMumental, you won't encounter any deep theological discussions. But you will find honest insight sprinkled with humor and her obvious affection for her children. She shares from her heart about how she has gone from trying to become her version of an ideal mother to recognizing what she truly can and can't do. She shows that while she now recognizes her goal of a conflict-free home where everyone is kind and loving 24/7 was an illusion, she has been able to make a priority of the things that really matter. And that does not happen to include being perfect.

There were a couple of sections that particularly resonated with me. One was in chapter 4, where Grant tells of a old college professor of hers who introduced his class to the phrase "prefer the given." It essentially means "choosing to appreciate what we have instead of being dissatisfied with the grace and other gifts God gives us." While I have learned to do this more and more as I've matured, I can see one area of parenting in which I could stand to apply this concept: the noise! That may sound silly, but I am a person who recharges by being alone. The thing is, with four children, solitude is rare. (Though I must say that my husband is so great about making sure I get some from time to time.) So instead of lamenting that the house is rarely quiet, I can prefer the given: the fact that my four children are healthy and able to laugh and make lots of noise when they play.

I really loved Chapter 12, which is about "Creating Family Lore.
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