her new book
Mommy, Come Home, author Sandra Gillmore strongly advocates the
role of “full-time motherhood”. Some may disagree with the book’s premise
that mother should eschew career and stay home with children (in lieu of day
care or even dad or a relative providing in home care). I found the value
of this book to be for readers who have chosen the “stay at home” route and
are seeking support and encouragement in this decision. Sandra Gillmore
shares a veteran’s experience and perspective and has so many wonderful tips
and suggestions to share. Women choosing to voluntarily walk away from
careers to pursue the vocation of motherhood are often met with resistance,
financial concerns and a lack of support. A new mother may find herself
isolated and uncertain as she attempts to ascertain her new identity in
Mommy, Come Home is a great tool for women facing or considering such
transitions. Sandra Gillmore gives readers many pearls of wisdom to aid
them in the journey of parenthood.
LH: Sandra Gillmore, author of
Mommy, Come Home, thanks
for your time and for participating in this Book Spotlight feature. Could
you please tell our readers a little bit about your background and your
As a single
person, I worked in various office positions, and prayed for the Lord to
send me a devoted Christian husband. God powerfully answered my prayers to
the point that I wrote a song for Dave entitled, "You are the Answer to My
Prayers." Dave and I have been married for 20 years and we have been
blessed with ten children, ages 19 down to 1 year in age. We both shared
the vision for a large family and grew into the homeschool lifestyle. Over
the years we've opened our home to exchange students, foreign refugees,
college renters and the mentally ill. Currently our quiver is full of our
own family members! Our children are very active in sports, music and
scouts. I get involved with fundraisers and love to cheer them on in
their activities. I enjoy singing for church which occasionally includes
weddings and funerals.
LH: Sandra, what is the main message of
Mommy, Come Home and what prompted you to write the book?
Mommy, Come Home is my love letter
to all moms! I've heard you stress-out on the soccer fields. I've seen you
cry at church from the pressure. You told me I was lucky I could stay
home. I've tried to console you through the rat race. I've prayed for you.
But I never wanted to hurt your feelings. I never had the courage to tell
you what was on my heart through the Holy Spirit's leading. The message
of Mommy, Come Home is
that God is calling each mother to embrace her vocation to motherhood. This
is your call that no one else can replace as God intended. (Not even grandma
or daddy.) You have been given special gifts to share with your children in
a most generous way. This world is not family-centered. The world wants to
pull you away and make you too busy to effectively mother your children.
Picture yourself ordering your favorite dessert in a restaurant only to have
the waiter bring you one small bite! Wouldn't you want more? 'But it's the
highest quality of this dessert on the market, 'the waiter tells you. Our
children want and need more - not more stuff
- more of our time.
There is a way out of this madness. You
have a choice.
LH: For families who have become reliant upon two
incomes, can you offer some creative suggestions to help ease the financial
transition when Mom decides to stay home full time with the children.
By eliminating, in
large part, the extraneous expenses of working outside the home (such as
more gas, wear and tear on your vehicles, or even the need for an
additional vehicle, business attire, fast food, childcare) and adding an
enormous tool called flexibility
to your schedule, you will be set up for a new way of thinking and
spending. The focus is on saving instead of earning. Simplicity is the
key. Try asking yourself, 'Is this a need or a want?' whether it's a new
home, car or a toothbrush. (i.e.: do you really need the $5 variety or will
the 88 cent version do the job?) Try drinking filtered water (from your own
filter if possible.) Milk, juice and soda are quite costly and don't offer
much in the way of nutrition. Good quality vitamins can prevent a lot of
expensive and time-consuming trips to the doctor. Consider
shopping at various discount stores and make home-made cooking a top
priority. Nothing has to be fancy. Instead of buying ingredients for a
recipe, just buy whatever is on sale and then cook accordingly when you get
home. If we need fresh produce, for example, I come home with whatever
fruit is on sale for that week. This is a great way to keep more variety in
your kitchen too.
state and national parks are a treasure to behold. If you bring your own
food you've already saved a bundle of money. Just pack the cooler(s) and
you can make great day trips or camp, or even rent a housekeeping cabin.
It's incredibly less expensive than motels and amusement parks. And what
could be more exciting than exploring 'God's playground?' For other
entertainment, don't forget the library. Many libraries offer free concerts
and other entertainment. Also, local museums and zoos almost always offer
a family membership. This is usually a wonderful bargain for a family.
Make use of this and you won't fall prey to the lure of the expensive
entertainment industry, which is usually full of negative messages that
conflict with our Christian faith anyway.
Don't be afraid to
accept hand-me-downs, shop at thrift shops or garage sales for clothes or
other items. There are some great discount stores around too if you make
it a point to scout them out. I personally don't enjoy shopping because it
is so time-consuming. However, I make a point to shop during low-traffic
times and that makes a huge difference. It's the flexibility factor that
will prevent you from feeling rushed all the time and missing out on
LH: Many "Stay at home" moms feel isolated and
lonely. What proactive steps can they take to help themselves overcome
Christians to become isolated. Then he can trap you into thinking 'no one
understands me,' etc. Don't even give him a chance! REACH OUT! Whether
you are new to a community or have just been pulled out of a huge
social circle in order to stay home, you simply must find ways to be
involved. For example, I have hosted lady's Bible studies and support groups
just by listing an ad in our church bulletin. Sometimes only one mom has
called - but that was all I needed to make a new friend at the time. Then
it would grow. You can join a group like I started, or find a local MOPS
(Mothers of Preschoolers,) La Leche League (breastfeeding support group,) or
volunteer for something at church that may be just a few hours per month.
Read your local newspaper; look on the internet for local church or
community activities. Get involved in politics. You may be nervous at
first but reaching out is essential and will bring you many blessings in new
friendships. But remember that God and family come first. We don't need to
be supermoms and burn ourselves out. But we definitely need to be supported
by and supportive to other moms and people in general.
LH: What role has your Christian faith played in your
decisions to be home full time and to homeschool your children?
they (the older women) may train younger women to love their husbands and
children, to be sensible, chaste, busy at home…Titus 2:3-5 (New
I think the Lord
says in His word that he prefers mothers to be busy at home. Other versions
of the Word say 'Keeper of the home' or 'good homemakers.'
The decision for
me to stay home came when my husband and I became engaged. He felt very
strongly that my role in the home was essential for a strong family to take
hold. He felt that God would bless us if we honored him by this devotion to
the mother's role. We both loved the prospect of having a large family and
I couldn't see the point of bearing a child and giving birth only to leave
the child entrusted to someone else's care. It didn't make sense. The
entire pregnancy is a bonding experience for an important purpose. It is a
beautiful beginning to a lifelong relationship with your child.
Although we do not
currently homeschool all of our children, I do believe home schooling gives
us the most generous opportunity to fully instill our values into our
children's hearts and minds. Homeschooling was still a relatively new idea
when we started about 11 years ago. Dave had close friends he admired who
homeschooled their children. I thought it all sounded very strange at
first. Another family took our advice to home school (even though we didn't
do it yet!) and we were amazed at how intimately peaceful and joyful their
home had become since starting.) Then we attended a large home school
convention and it was very evident that these hundreds of families were
bringing up their children to serve the Lord in a very powerfully practical
way. It is more than just an educational movement. It is a way to bond
with your children; to have the time and flexibility to demonstrate the
faith on a daily basis. And for those naysayers who think the home is not
'real world', I say, 'What is real within our families becomes real within
our world." Currently we have three high schoolers in the public school
system who are thriving with prayer clubs and evangelizing when opportunity
arises. We home school our four middle children and two of them also attend
a church preschool three mornings a week for 3 hours a day. Our toddler is
also home full-time.
LH: Congratulations of the publication of this, your
first book! What a tremendous accomplishment! Are you currently working on
any new writing or creative projects?
Thank you so
much. It has been truly exciting to watch the Lord open doors on what
otherwise would seem impossible or just plain ridiculous. I have felt
called to write a book about special needs families. We have not been
blessed with a special needs child, but I have a friend who is legally blind
and the mother of nine children. Her family includes two sets of twins, one
autistic child, one nearly deaf child, and four vision-impaired children.
The book will be about her
and some other families that share their experiences and faith-growth
through their special needs situations.
LH: What resources can you recommend for new moms?
I highly recommend
'Family Foundations,' a publication of the Couple to Couple League. (http://www.ccli.org/)
So many moms are told that the number one priority after giving birth should
be birth-control. I do believe in child-spacing but so often mothers are
discouraged from having more than two children these days, the 'accepted
norm.' If we truly open our hearts to another child, we have more reason to
want to stay home because more souls are depending on us. We also are being
more open to our husband, accepting both the potential for life and the
pleasure of the marriage act. This method of 'natural family planning'
automatically builds mutual respect and self-giving in the marriage, which
is so much-needed today.
Catholic Familyland (http://www.familyland.org/Home.htm)
- an awesome family vacation/retreat experience, an apostolate devoted to
teaching the true faith by way of books, tapes and videos from top
authorities such as Cardinal Arinze, Pope John Paul II, Scott Hahn, Mother
Teresa, etc. In addition, they have their own TV network which is on a
satellite with many other Christian stations and costs only $11.99 per
month. We love this place. I can't say enough good about it.
the Family (www.family.org)
is a wonderful resource for all sorts of parenting tips. And
don't forget the Bible. It's full of proverbs and other parental advice for
LH: Thank you again Sandra for your time and for
sharing your book. Are there any closing thoughts you'd like to offer?
doesn't begin only at church. It begins in the home. Home is not an escape
from the world. It's a foundation to build the values of our faith. Then
we must share that faith with the world. One family at a time. Thank you,
Lisa for this opportunity to share from my heart to other moms. I pray the
book will be used as an instrument of hope and healing to every family's
mother that reads it.
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Mommy, Come Home visit
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