Mom Up: Thriving with Grace in the Chaos of Motherhood Review

I get that God didn’t design motherhood to be about surviving, but like most moms, I feel like every day’s battle of the fittest. You know what I’m talking about—Survive until bedtime. Survive until he’s sleeping through the night. Survive until the next nap. Survive until the next developmental milestone. Survive until you’ve breastfed/pumped for “x” amount of time. [Insert your current survival “goal” here.]

I just want to do my “job” in a God-honoring way, not just survive! Motherhood’s spiritual work, so I want to do it right! I want to thrive and learn how to live the abundant life God’s provided for me and my family RIGHT NOW. In my state of motherhood, I just haven’t been able to entirely figure out what that looks like and how to get there…

Then one day, I saw a friends Instagram Story which had a picture of the “Mom Up” book by Kara-Kae James, Founder of Thrive Moms. After reading the back cover and some of the Thrive Moms website, I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough (Prime to the rescue!).

This book has been so inspiring, and as I practice what I’ve learned, slowly life-changing too. Is motherhood for me sunshine and butterflies now? Ha, no. It’s still horribly hard, but I’m grounded in a different way. My perspectives and purpose are shifting. My relationship with God is changing, which is changing how I related to my child.

I’m confident there’s someone who follows my work who’s also utterly overwhelmed by motherhood, and MAYBE this book would change her journey like it has mine. So, I thought I’d share some about the book and my biggest takeaways. 🙂

Kara challenges readers to “mom up” (a play on the saying “man up”). To “thrive and walk confidently in who God calls us to be as mothers” (p. 23). She shares the four themes that impact the way she follows God and parents her children: intentional motherhood, genuine community, refreshing rest, and embracing chaos.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways from Mom Up:

  • My identity doesn’t come from being a mom. It comes from who God says I am. That person doesn’t change as my children or my role as a mom change.
  • Be mindful of making my child my idol. My child will never fully meet my expectations or fulfill my personal needs. If I place that responsibility (and pressure!) on my child, I’ll live out motherhood constantly frustrated and disappointed, not to mention that he’ll live feeling the same.
  • It’s not my child’s job to heal me from my past baggage.
  • My child’s God’s, not mine.
  • My home’s God’s training ground for my child.
  • I don’t have to be everything for my child, because that’s God’s job. My job is to love him, raise him to know and love God, and return him back to God.
  • I should pursue a personal relationship with my child based on the person God made him to be, not how I think I should. There’s freedom in this!
  • Being an intentional mom means connecting with God, then out of that relationship, connecting with my children.
  • I shouldn’t try to do life alone. Instead, I should seek genuine community—do life with one another, be a cheerleader, a supporter, stop comparing, and be a “me too-er.”
  • It’s important to have a balanced community made up of people who are also in the same “trenches,” mothers who are ahead of me on the journey, and mothers who are “behind” me so that I can encourage them.
  • Comparison divides and sabotages communities and joy. All of our lives and resources are so different, whether that’s obvious or not!
  • Marriage before kids! Yes. Yes. Yes.
  • Rest goes deeper than the physical. Letting go of feelings like mom guilt and fear allow us to find true and renewing rest in God. I can’t rest in the Lord if I’m separated from Him by sin.
  • If I believe my child’s from God, then it’s no accident that I’m my child’s mom.
  • In my own strength, I won’t be able to “mom.”
  • My life isn’t about performing and proving that I love Jesus. It’s about living in the deep awareness of His love for me.


I plan to read this book (and this post) many times. Her writing is invaluable and God-inspired. Oh boy, do I need daily reminders of its teachings! Do you have any thoughts or insights about what I’ve shared? I’d love to hear them!

I’d like to end with the prayer that concludes the book (page 214): “Father, what do You have for me today? How can I be the best mom in these moments You’ve given me? How can I be intentional and wise? How can I love boldly and confidently? How can I find rest in You? How can I embrace the craziness of this journey? Show me the way.”