Book Review: Beyond Bath Time by Erin Davis

By Trillia Newbellbeyond bath time

There isn’t a task that I have personally experienced that is more challenging, exhausting, time consuming, all-consuming and yet rewarding, as parenting. There are some real challenges. But God’s Word says that children are a blessing, they are a reward (Psalm 127:3). With the busyness of life it can be hard for mothers who labor day after day to remember that children are a gift. It’s easy for us to get caught up in washing dishes, cleaning spills, changing diapers and giving baths. It can be difficult to remember that our labor is not in vain. There is a high calling in motherhood that goes beyond bath time.

Erin Davis, author of Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role, relates to the ups and downs of motherhood. In her book she shares personal stories as well as the stories and questions of friends. But the book isn’t simply filled with stories, rather she looks at these situations in-light of God’s Word, tackling the hard questions and bringing clarification and understand where there might be confusion.

Her book is divided into ten chapters and two appendixes. I’d like to say upfront, I loved this book. Davis’ writing was raw and relatable. She didn’t mince words like when she wrote, “God never gives us a permission slip to do whatever it takes to feel good” (Ch. 3, p. 40). Yet she is also tender, “When reaching out to other moms feels like one more thing on my to-do list, I remember those moms who loved me through my darkest days” (Ch. 9 p. 123). At the end of each chapter are questions and challenging calls to action.

There were two chapters I was most thankful for. Chapter 3: “Talking Lies Over Coffee” addressed lies moms often think to themselves but hardly say out loud. Lies like “the ultimate goal of motherhood is perfectionism” and “motherhood will make you holy.” Finally, someone addressed these issues. She also touches on motherhood and work. Davis points the reader back to God in these important questions that often burden moms. Whether working outside of the home or not, Davis encourages women that, “The most important question about motherhood isn’t, ‘Should I work outside the home or not?’ It is, ‘Will I let God use the circumstances of my life and family to accomplish great things for His kingdom?” (Ch. 3 p. 36). What a wonderfully freeing statement.

Chapter 9: “No Mom Alone” addresses the battle of post-partum depression. Christian women may feel alone and guilty and thus do not want to talk about depression. New moms imagine delight and joy when looking into the eyes of their new born baby. At times it doesn’t work out to be the fairy tale that we imagine. It wasn’t for Davis. The good news she shares is that there are women out there who are eager to come along side you and carry your burden. There is a strengthening affect of women helping women.

In every great book there’s at least one thing that could be questionable. For me I find it in Chapter 4: “Choosing Childlessness.” Davis argues that choosing childlessness  could be rooted in selfishness. Perhaps. But then she shares that her and her husband’s decision to wait seven years before conceiving a child was a “colossal mistake” (p. 54).  Perhaps. But what about the goodness and sovereignty of God? He works all things for the good of those who love him. I simply trust that God will work through potential mistakes as I’m sure Davis does too.  Through their delay for kids God could have been laying the ground work for what she is currently doing which I believe will serve many as well as her children.

Nevertheless, Beyond Bath Time will challenge you, encourage you, make you laugh and cause you to reflect. It will help the lonely mom see her calling as good works set aside for her from God. It will challenge the busy mom to see her children as a blessing. It’s a book that I highly enjoyed and recommend.

(Note: This book was received from Moody Publishers to do an honest review)
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