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Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Nourished by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph is a book written by a mother/daughter team about "A search for health, happiness, and a full night's sleep." Sounds like a book that every mother can use!

I love and hated this book at the same time, which is a very rare occurrence for me. On one hand, the book is very well written but on the other hand I immediately bristled at several things the daughter, Rachel, writes about. 

For one, she has one small child. She laments quite often about how mothers have such limited "free time", yet her toddler goes to a mommy day out twice a week, for 5 hours at a time. That's 10 hours a week without a child. I know that doesn't sound like a lot to some but that is like....hmmm...10 hours more per week than I have childless! Maybe that's more my problem then hers but I can't imagine myself complaining at all about my free time if I had 10 hours child-free weekly! And to add insult to injury, when her toddler is at mommy day out she actually rents out a desk at an office space for her writing time. Why does this bother me? Because it speaks of money, something a lot of moms don't have the leisure of. I can't afford to pay for my child to be in a program for 10 hours a week, nor rent out desk space for my writing time (especially when my house would be empty if said children were elsewhere). We also can't afford to go away, alone, twice a year for a "marriage check-up weekend", much less find a willing person to watch three crazed children for 48 hours! That type of freedom started me off on the wrong foot, because aren't we talking about mothers who feel at the end of their rope already because of their lack of nourishment in life?

Then in the chapter of friendship Rachel is giving all types of tips on how to formulate friendships, yet she herself says she is bad at it and everything she mentions she has "written down on the calendar" or "planned for next week". Essentially, she hasn't tested and proven these theories, yet is writing them with an authoritative air.

I enjoyed the mother's (Becky's) writing more, as she has been in and through the trenches of raising four children. I just wish we would have heard more about how she did that. Did she put these principals into play during the child-rearing years or only now as a (mainly) empty nester? Because one or the other is a quite different story! 

Don't stone me yet though, as I may redeem myself in this review (and the book as well!). I did get a lot of helpful information from this book. Whether the authors themselves have perfected how to nourish yourself while raising a houseful of children or not, the wisdom inside does look good on paper and even sounds possible. As a matter of fact, this book motivated me to get up immediately and clean my refrigerator out, which is not a small task to get me to do. It put a fire beneath me to stop procrastinating on what needed to get done.

It gives helpful advice on home organization, cooking, time management, health, relationships, and even your spirit. All the while carving out just enough "sanity space" for nourishing yourself. That is a good thing!

In the end, I realize that this book can be for all stages of motherhood, as Becky as been through it and Rachel is in the beginning stages of it. I just wish it had been presented a bit differently to begin with.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. This is such an honest and well thought out review. I found your blog through the BookLook Bloggers page. I'm receiving this book to review and wanted to see what other people thought. I read your About Me section and was drawn in by your story. Thank you for sharing your heart. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Let me know when you publish your review; I'm curious to see if you felt the same or have a totally different reaction to this book.

  2. I admire the honesty you put into this review. I may be wrong, but it almost sounded like you were jealous of the things Rachel could do. You choose to be with your kids 24/7 and to live a on a very small income. Don't complain and don't put others down because they don't choose your lifestyle. To me, Rachel's lifestyle is much more normal than yours. I base this on what I see, nothing more.

    1. I agree, I did choose this lifestyle. But The point of the book, I think, was to help burned out mothers nourish themselves. And the reason a lot of moms are burned out is because of the lack of free time or extra money. So Rachel's lifestyle didn't help me feel better or make those options seem more attainable, instead I think it will make burned out mamas feel worse.

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you for your honest review of Nourished. I'm so glad, despite some shortcomings, you were still able to find some parts that inspired you. I would like to sincerely apologize that I came across sounding privileged. I assure you, between my part-time writing career and my husband's high school coaching job, we are middle class at best.

    It was edited out of the book for conciseness, but in my original text I did explain that the co-working space I used twice a week was only for six months to finish a deadline on my first book. A friend of our's is the owner and he cut me a great deal for that time period. Nourished was actually written almost in it's entirety from the comfort of my sweats in my living room, and an occasional afternoon at Panera. 

    Regarding childcare, writing is my career and I think most working moms would agree that childcare is a necessary (and sometimes guilt-ridden) part of working. Contributing financially to our family is not an option for us and writing is a career that allows me to be home most days, which is a wonderful gift. In our first book, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, I talked about how hard it was for me to let go of the guilt and sign Jackson up for a two-day program. I've intentionally included my choice to do a Mother's Day Out program in both books, because I had deep struggles reading other books by mommy writers who seemed to be able to do it all without ever mentioning what they did with their kids when they were writing. I finally asked an editor who knew several of them, and she gave me the assurance that most of these authors I admired, indeed did have help. Of course, some don’t, and to be honest, I don’t know how they do it! My husband is a football and baseball coach with very long working hours during the seasons and we don't have any family nearby that doesn't work full-time, so yes, I needed help...and it was very hard for me to admit that, but I don't feel guilty one bit for it anymore. It was a step toward creating a life that worked for our family. I have a freelance writing job in addition to the books I write to help pay for the program, because he loves it and I need it…and it nourishes all of us.

    After a long year of trying and miscarrying, we are expecting our second child. I look forward very much to learning more about life as a mom of multiple kids...and all the exhaustion that comes with it. I'm 100 percent sure that I will look back on life with one and think, "Wow, how did I ever think THAT was hard?!" But I I doubt I’ll feel that my struggles as a mom of one weren't real or valid or applicable to other moms. Because whether a mom of one or five, rich or poor, being a mom is a tough job and we’re all just doing the best we can!

    I hope this doesn’t sound too defensive. Your review was completely fair and honest—the holes in the story are on my end and if those holes left you feeling worse off after reading the book, I felt the need to fill them. In the end, knowing these things about me may not make it better for you, or for the next reader, and that’ okay.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read and review Nourished.


    1. Rachel,
      Thank you so much for your comment! It isn't at all defensive and that's the bad thing about books - what you write is "set in stone" when perhaps you wish you could have elaborated or described something differently.
      I think your opportunity to have your toddler in mother's day out is a wonderful one. I think my issue more was "What about the mother's who can't afford that or don't have that option?" My question (to myself) is, can a full-time mother nourish herself if her children are home 24/7? Is it possible to find sanity in that situation? Maybe that is what I was hoping to find the answer to in your book. :)
      I do understand that being a mother of one is a huge adjustment and is no less important than being a mother of many (by the way, Congratulations on your pregnancy!). Which is why I came to the conclusion at the end of the book that with your mother's story included as well, this really is a book for mothers of all stages.
      I really did enjoy both you and your mother's writing. I will read your first book together and see how I like it.

    2. It sounds like you are at a great starting place. Take the pieces that you feel can fit into your life and forget the pieces that don't apply. Hey, as mom of three, you got your fridge cleaned out, you read a book and you blogged about it. Assuming those are things that nourish you, I call it a successful start!

      You've also walked a much heavier path than most moms, losing a child, you probably do need more nourishing self care than you've been able to give yourself while raising three other kids full time. I pray you feel God's grace filling in the gaps when you can't get it all done...or be all to all who need you.

      Best wishes to you! I'll stick my nose out of the discussion now. :)

  4. http://zenpoo.blogspot.com/2015/01/glorified-busy.html

    1. I'm not sure I can relate both my post and yours. I'm not glorifying busy at all. I'm not saying that "my" busy is harder than "Rachel's busy". I'm saying I was hoping to find more solutions to my mothering issues in the book and couldn't relate to the different situations.

      Was it the authors fault? Probably not. Does everyone's own choices make their lives easier/harder than they have to be. Probably yes.

      But people's life circumstances also make a difference as well. Does a couple have trusted family members willing to watch their children for a 48 hour get away? Do they live in an area that offers quality childhood programs, such as mothers day out? It's not always a choice to be able to pick up and move to a larger city that offers more. It's not always an option to go on a getaway with your spouse when it is sorely needed.

    2. There are ALWAYS options. And the options and answers do not need to be found in a book, as no mother has a one size fits all solution to someone else's needs. Not every couple can do a 48 hour getaway, but every couple can and should carve out a minimal amount of dedicated one on one time each month. That can be something as simple as having a babysitter for a measly one hour and getting groceries together. Or a midnight candlelight picnic while the kids are asleep. Areas lacking in childcare programs means getting creative and taking initiative. Childcare swaps, play dates, story hour, pinching enough pennies to hire a babysitter once a week for even just an hour. It CAN be done, but it's all in what each individual mother chooses to do. That's where our priorities come in, and if something is not made a priority, it will be put aside. And we can suffer for it. If you have a need, or feel there are issues, the inspiration may come from something you read, but fitting it into your own schedule and catering it to your own lifestyle can only come from you. That's why I've never been a fan of looking for answers to anything in any book. There are tools out there, but you've got to know how to personally use them instead of them automatically working.

    3. We shall agree to disagree then.

  5. I am planning to read this book. Thank you, Elizabeth, for your articulate, honest review. It was neat to read the author's comments here as well. I am in that burned out stage of life

    right now and trying to honestly step back and evaluate and change what I can. The frustration that I find in mommy books, blogs, magazines, etc. is the constant advice to take more time for yourself, that if you want it bad enough---you can make it happen! Yes, I can scrounge money and try to juggle schedules
    ...but in my case I have several young children---that makes it 1. difficult to find someone who is responsible enough to watch all of the children at once and 2. expensive to pay per child per hour. I also do not have much family near me who could help and live in a smaller town with very limited options.
    I am sharing this not to complain about my life, but just to let you know that I totally "get" what you are saying. :) I enjoy reading your blog because you keep it real. I would love to read more posts about this topic.

    1. So sorry you are in the same boat...but then again, I think a lot of us stay-at-home mamas are and it needs to be said that this is also a "normal" within the realms of parenting. I think more empathy for different situations would put a halt to these "mommy wars" and help find a solution instead of placing blame on already guilt-ridden shoulders. <3



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