|Breaking Open the Word|
|World & Nation|
|DCR Advertising Rates|
|DCR Submission Guidelines|
August 11, 2010
Book helps Catholic moms balance demands with their own needs
By Julie Filby
Mothers can give so much of themselves in caring for others that they neglect their own needs. In “The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul,” author Lisa Hendey tells moms it’s OK for them to take the time and energy they need to live the lives God truly intended for them: emotionally, physically and spiritually.
“I think many moms are like me: when things get a little crazy at home I justify letting go of a few disciplines,” Hendey told the Denver Catholic Register. “My prayer time may be shortened, or I may not work out because I’m ‘too busy.’
“Family relationships can suffer as the stress kicks in,” she said.
Hendey—wife, mother of two teenage boys, and founder of the popular website www.CatholicMom.com—has written a practical guide that draws on her 18 years of parenting experience and deep faith tradition, along with the wisdom of more than 30 contributors from the Catholic Mom community.
“Most motherhood books speak almost exclusively about parenting issues, but have little to say about the mother’s own journey and personal growth,” Hendey said. “We compiled a resource aimed at encouraging women to care for ‘the one who is always taking care of everyone else’ so they can better love and serve their families, neighbors and Church.”
The handbook is divided into four sections: Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul. Heart focuses on nurturing relationships with family, friends and self. Mind centers on staying engaged intellectually and creatively, time management and work issues. Body examines nutrition, fitness, sleep and stress reduction. Soul focuses on knowing the resources of the Church, such as the sacraments, prayer and Scripture, and how they help in both self-care and the care of others.
“I’ve found in my life that all four of these areas—relationships, intellectual pursuits, physical self-care and spiritual life—are interconnected,” she said. “Focusing on one and ignoring the others throws off the balance necessary to keep life’s wheels rolling along smoothly.”
Each of the 22 chapters shares anecdotes from Hendey’s experience, counsel from other moms, catechetical and Scripture references, quotes from Church teaching; and concludes with relevant web resources and “Mom’s Homework” activities.
“’Mom’s Homework’ isn’t intended to add yet more tasks to your to-do list,” she explained. “Rather it’s to help make the book more than something you read once and place on a bookshelf. I hope moms will turn to it as an ongoing resource in their vocation.”
Hendey, a resident of the Diocese of Fresno, Calif., holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University. She is a regular contributor to Catholic Exchange, Faith & Family, and The Integrated Catholic Life; and conducts a weekly interview podcast at www.catholicmoments.com.
CatholicMom.com, which received more than 2.5 million hits in the last year, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It has grown to include more than 90 contributors with interactive blogs, a weekly podcast, video resources and Gospel activities for children. Hendey was inspired to start the site when looking for support herself.
“When I started Catholic Mom.com, my husband hadn’t yet joined the Church,” she said. “I was looking for encouragement to help me grow as a Catholic and as a mother, but especially as the head of my domestic Church.”
She continues to recognize the importance of encouraging families in their faith and daily life challenges.
“In the book, I hope women will find a companion who wants to walk with them through the ups and downs of motherhood,” she said. “I hope it will lift them up, make them feel valued, and give them support for what can be a very difficult job.”
“The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul” by Lisa Hendey (Ave Maria Press, $15.95)
Purchase: Catholic book stores, www.Amazon.com, www.CatholicCompany.com
Request free discussion questions: e-mail lisa@CatholicMom.com
More information: visit www.CatholicMom.com