Five things I’ve Learned in Five Years of Well-Read Mom
Written by Amy McClure
Five years ago, I invited myself to a Well-Read Mom group. I was pregnant with my second child, desperate for friends, and craving the intellectual stimulation of real conversation. Little did I know how intensely the friends I met and the characters I encountered would be formative. Five years later, I have five children and live in a different city, but I have been so thankful for the consistency of reading well during this season of babies, toddlers, moving, and mothering. These are the five most transformative things I’ve learned in my five years as a Well-Read Mom.
1. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
Gathering for WRM always feels sacred. The sacramentals of good food, wine, candles, and beaten-up books help us enter into a space where we encounter one another in a way that shows the true reflection of Christ. The best books force me to hold up a mirror to my soul, and the best friends point out the beauty that I can’t always see. Whether there are three or ten moms, or whether we read Flannery O’Connor or Maryline Robinson, Christ is present. He may look more like Samuel, Jack, or Elisha, but He is always beautiful.
2. It doesn’t matter if you read the book; come anyway!
When I first joined WRM, I only made it through the entire book if it was around 100 pages. I gave up on any huge novels, and sometimes I didn’t even start the book if I knew I had to miss the discussion. However, even when I didn’t read, I would glean loads from the meeting. Most of the conversation is more about life anyway. Simply showing up was worthwhile and refreshing, and I am so grateful to have joined an enriching discussion even if I didn’t read. I am now in the habit of reading the book monthly, but I’m thankful for the fellowship that included me as I grew into the habit of reading well.
3. It does matter if you read the book.
While the discussion is still fruitful, having not read, it’s so much better if you have read. Even when I was not too fond of the book while reading, I would leave with a new appreciation for it after our meeting. Marcie frequently discusses the importance of committing to reading well, and through these past five years I’ve finally realized there is virtue in reading, even if it’s not my favorite book. I deserved an award for slugging through Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, and I received one! The satisfaction I felt upon finishing all those pages was worth every moment spent! It wasn’t fun; I didn’t enjoy reading, but I did it. Doing the hard thing builds grit and character; it’s what I want my children to learn. I hope they see me struggle through a novel and still find beauty in the process. How can I encourage them to follow through with commitments or persevere if I give up after the first 50 pages? It always picks up by page 100, anyways.
4. Grace lies at the heart of community.
It’s been beautiful to grow with my WRM group as we walk alongside one another through births and mothering. It can seem like a paradox that my friends with their own (and many) children happily bring me meals when I have an infant, and I reciprocate. Yet a special grace has allowed me to deliver meals to friends when I am pregnant, tired, or potty training twins. Generosity is not about convenience; it’s about grace and community. The grace to give and the energy to serve multiply when done with an open heart.
5. Receive first, then give.
As a recovering binge-reader, this year, I am prioritizing consistency. I need to read daily; it fills me up and allows me to pour into others more freely. In order to give of ourselves, we must first receive, but to receive, we must show up daily to the fonts that fill us. This year I have examined how I can give from overflow rather than depletion as a mother. My pondering reminds me that I must consistently show up to life-giving activities. I need to rest, exercise, read, pray, and see friends frequently to give abundantly to my family and be a better person.
Well-Read-Mom has helped me do just that: receive so that I may give. Reading makes us better, stronger women! I am grateful for the gift of Well-Read-Mom in my life, and I am excited to continue the beautiful journey of reading well with others.
Amy McClure majored in English but has enjoyed reading the classics much more as a Mom of 5. She left teaching high school to stay at home with her children and dabble in writing, speaking and sourdough bread.
About Well-Read Mom
In Well-Read Mom, women read more and read well. Our hope is to deepen the awareness of meaning hidden in each woman’s daily life, elevate the cultural conversation, and revitalize reading literature from books. If you would like to have us help you select worthy reading material, we invite you to join and read along with us. We are better together! For information on how to start or join a Well-Read Mom group visit our website wellreadmom.com