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Author Rachel Norman knows what it’s like to be a busy mom; she and her husband had five babies in five years. As Norman juggled the demands of marriage, motherhood, and running a household—she was an only child and unused to family chaos—she found herself ignoring all her own needs and always putting her children first.   

When Norman received a cancer diagnosis and her world was turned upside down, she made a startling discovery. Since she could no longer afford to ignore her own needs because she was ill, she had to get enough sleep, rest, nutrition, and downtime if she hoped to be restored to health. She writes, “I started minding my own limits and realized, with surprise, that I had once thought taking care of myself was selfish.” As Norman’s eyes were opened to the false dichotomy she had embraced—abandoning herself for the sake of her family—she realized that the people who suffered most from her resulting bad moods, impatience, and resentment were her family members. A question began to nag at Norman: “Could it be that taking care of myself is not actually selfish, but maybe, just maybe, responsible?”  

With honesty and self-deprecating humor, Norman shares her parenting mistakes, the hard-won lessons she learned from enduring chemotherapy, and her spiritual journey with the Lord. Each is explored within the context of discovering her limits, boundaries, and preferences. In an easily readable format, including many anecdotes and practical suggestions, Norman’s book “centers on ways to come to terms with your own limits and preferences and then structure your life around those. Doing so will lead to wisdom and, dare I say it, happiness.”  

Throughout If Mama Ain’t Happy, Norman focuses on the need for mothers to lean on the Lord first of all as they seek to care for themselves and their children: “Know that apart from God you cannot find true peace in yourself or in your efforts, but you can work to rid your life of the chaos, strife, and disorder that block that peace.”   

Highly recommended for mothers of children of all ages since the need to embrace healthy boundaries and self-care is a lifelong parenting reality. 



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