Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.–Unleashed!

My book

My book

Caryn: So, yeah, um, today’s the day my book, my beloved, long-labored-over, God-only-knows-how-I-pulled-it-off book, Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.: How to Reveal the Real You Behind All That Mom, officially drops, “hits the shelves,” and is available “at bookstores everywhere,” as they say. 

So of course, this is a huge day for me. Full of parties, celebrations, and just general non-stop lavinshing of attention on me, honoring me on this great day.

Okay so many the “party” and celebration is more me making crispy chicken for my sick daughter who’s been screaming at me that she needs “food with medicine” in it (any idea what she means here?). And the lavishing of attention is more of that same screaming, the constant “Mama! Mama!” from my two-year-old, and that my dad offered to grab some milk for me when he’s out at Costco (that’s nice, huh?).

And the honoring? Okay, so it’s that after asking my son and daughter if they could PLEASE be quiet for just a minute so I could come back here and type this, they did. That looks like honor to me.

All this to say: In case any one has any illusions that my Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. comes from the heart, mind, and soul of anyone other than a real, down and dirty, worn and wooly mom, think again, my friends.

But still, it’s a huge day because I’m totally excited about this book. Since I’m a believer in the writing advice that says “write what you want to read,” with this book, I wrote what I wanted to read. What I needed to read, actually. The whole thing was born out of my crazy messed up identity and trying to figure out who I was or was “supposed to be” once I became a mom. A mom who loved her kids like nuts but who wasn’t so naturally good at a lot of the “supposed to” mom stuff.

So, like all the rest of us who go through this, I wrestled with guilt for not feeling “happy” with only having a slapped on mom identity and I felt downright lonely because I didn’t think who I really was fit in anywhere. Turns out, most of us actually feel this way, but who knew?

So, anyway, that’s a bit about my book. I really hope you all read it. And let me know what you think!

Carla, anything nice you’d like to say about my book? (Please remember how many NICE THINGS I said about your book, The Myth of the Perfect Mother, within the very pages of my book…..)

Oh, and then we’ll be giving away a copy or two of this baby to some of our Revolutionaries. Some commenters we choose at random.

Carla: I am very happy for you Caryn, and if I could buy you a Shamrock Shake today or hang out with your kids while you went out to buy one for yourself, I would.

Caryn’s book hits on one of the core beliefs of the Mommy Revolution–that being moms is not the sum total of who we are or who we are meant to be. As we’ve said before, that belief doesn’t diminish the goodness that is motherhood, but rather to gives us permission to be who God made us to be–inside and outside of the context of family life.

What I love about Caryn’s take on this issue is that she never tells us to expand ourselves so that we can better serve our families. You know how a lot of “mom” advice tells us to take time for ourselves or to find hobbies or explore our interests outside the home? Well so often, that advice is couched in “do it so you can be a better mom” language. It’s as though the only reason to do anything that takes us away from our kids is to gain something we can then bring back to our kids. That’s a fine fringe benefit of expanding ourselves, but really, that kind of thinking just contribute to the mythology that mothering is the only valid venue for practicing our gifts and living out our passions. It totally dismisses the idea that God can and does have lots and lots of ways for us to use the lives we’ve been given and that God is big enough to equip us for all of them.

So tell us Revolutionaries, what are some pieces of you that have gotten buried by motherhood, the ones you miss and wonder if they are still there? How have you taken steps to either reclaim them or say goodbye and move on?

Caryn: And don’t forget: We’ve got freebie books for some lucky Commenting Revolutionaries….


30 responses to this post.

  1. Caryn, my wife and I love your blog, so we cannot wait to read your book. Though we will wait just a while to order it… just in case … perhaps … we are fortunate enough to be chosen at random for a freebie!


  2. I can’t wait to read it…even if/when I don’t win!


  3. Posted by Carrie Shumaker on March 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    This book sounds awesome. I used to want to make partner in the company where I worked. That was 10 years and 2 children ago, and now I work part-time for a university. God convicted me gradually that my original career goal was self-seeking and not the right way to use my abilities and passion. But lately, I’ve been wondering…what God-sized dreams does He have for me? I still have the same drive, passion, and talent…how do I use it?


  4. Whoo hoo! Go Caryn! You Rock! (Most of my books have been celebrated in ways similar to what you describe.)


  5. Posted by Angelyn Knab on March 17, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    When Carla told me the title of this book, Caryn, I thought … finally, another brave woman who has the guts to name the “other elephant in the room.” I loved Carla’s book enough to invite her into the community of moms at my church … and to share my favorite Trader Joe’s finds with her. (Thanks, Carla, for sharing so much of yourself … can you believe it’s been almost ONE year!)

    As for a piece of me that has been buried by motherhood … almost all of them (except for my ability to calculate a tip in my head … not terribly practical at McDonald’s though). However, now that my youngest is five, some pieces of me are emerging – pieces that I didn’t recognize in the bustle of trying to be something on the job while trying to become a mom. I thrive on helping other moms realize that they are not alone on their journey and that it takes a stronger woman to reach out than to pretend.

    Thanks for the conversations! I look forward to reading the book, Caryn.


  6. Posted by Katie on March 17, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I’ve just recently found your blog – and it has hit home on so many issues for me. Thanks for creating a place of authentic seeking after God as mommies. So much has changed for me since becoming a parent. The size of my entire world has shrunk dramatically, and my dreams along with it. I’m trying to figure out how to let my world grow again and discovering what it looks like now. This is occassionally exciting, but most of the time frustrating. I look forward to reading your book!


  7. Posted by Steve B. on March 18, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Congrats on the book. I will recommend it to moms everywhere.


  8. Caryn, HUGE congratulations to you on the release of your book! I can’t wait to read it…the Mommy Revolution has become something of a lifeline to me (although this is my first time to comment), and I know that your book will only reinforce again that I AM NOT ALONE!!! I am a mom on the brink of 30, to one daughter who is 4 1/2, and I lost myself for years once becoming a mother. Now that Ella (my daughter) is a little older, I’m renewing old passions (writing, photography, and social activism among them), and finding that as I do so, pieces of me are being reborn. Hallelujah!


  9. i can’t wait to read this book – thank you for writing it… and the blog!

    i have been a mom for 8 years now and have homeschooled up until now… and recently have hit burn out in a major way. one of the things i have realized is that i have lost my own voice somewhere along the way. i get so consumed with what this person or that person is doing or saying, trying to be the best possible mom in every way (by looking around instead of looking IN) and finally coming to the painful conclusion that i do not and cannot live up to so many of my “ideals”.

    my oldest is actually starting public school tomorrow. i needed to start taking steps to take better care of myself, listening to that inner voice, and right now that means creating a bit more margin in my days by not having to be “teacher” on top of everything else. so, this is a bittersweet letting go for me – excited about the next season to come, yet grieving an ideal that did not turn out as i expected.

    wow, i’m really blabbing here! i’ll stop now. congrats and thanks again, caryn!

    (and hi, carrie!) 🙂


  10. Hi!

    I just posted an excerpt from your book on my blog…

    Please let me know if I need to reduce the size of the excerpt. I think my twelve readers will definitely want to read more, buy the book, etc. I now have two great books (yours and Carla’s) to give to new moms along with that meal prepared for her and her family…

    Thanks to both of you for your work!


  11. Posted by Cindy on March 18, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Congratulations, Caryn. What a major accomplishment–and what a gift to other moms. Can’t wait to read it. I’m glad you and Carla have been able to touch the third rail of mothering. It is not all roses and sunshine. It’s down, dirty, hard, hard work. And it often doesn’t feel good. And it’s costly! Thanks for opening the discussion…freeing moms (and dads) to be honest about their disappointments and frustrations, and helping them see that they are not alone!


  12. Congratulations on your big day! How exciting for you! I hope you can take some time to celebrate!

    =] emily


  13. Posted by April G. on March 18, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Congratulations, Caryn! I am thrilled for you. I have found the struggles with identity and priority were the first major ones to hit in becoming a mother. I still struggle greatly with it. Before marriage and children I felt like I had a pretty good hold on who I was and felt fulfilled in what I was doing as a teacher. The day I found out I was pregnant I began my identity struggle. How was I going to juggle my passion for my career and a baby? I still haven’t figured it out. In fact, I feel like I’ve failed miserably at it. I am in a state of limbo grasping for a branch of stability and purpose beyond the endless laundry, dishes, and the shocking amounts of bodily fluids I’ve dealt with over the past week alone. Add to that the financial strain of very little income and job seeking, and it all seems like too large of a load to bear. It is a comfort to know I am not alone.


  14. Posted by Susan A on March 18, 2009 at 10:56 am

    As someone who HAS the book and has actually read the opening chapters – let me just say, I can’t wait to read more. Interesting, thought-provoking stuff.
    And the mix of honesty, personal reflection, and humility that Caryn brings to it (would we expect any less of her?) makes it all the better. Compelling and insightful.
    You go Caryn!
    PS. Like the new format here girls…


  15. Posted by Rachel on March 18, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Congratulations, Caryn!

    In the not-quite-two years since my kiddo was born, I’ve found that I’ve lost touch with nearly all my friends. It’s just too hard to work all day, then come home and try to spend some time with the family before bed. But I miss my friendships. I’ve also stopped writing and doing all the crafty things I enjoyed when I had free time. 😦


  16. Posted by karin on March 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Felicidades, Caryn on your book! I am looking forward to reading it and kind of feel like I know the author already from this blog! I am certain many women will find it at just the right time when they need the encouragement the most.

    The thing I miss the most about my pre-mama days are romance and time with my husband. Long, lingering dinners out at a favorite restaurant, sleeping in and then making a huge fabulous breakfast on the weekends, holding hands, cuddling on the sofa while watching a movie, going to the movies, drinking wine after work over an elaborate home made meal extracted from a favorite cookbook, talking about the books we are reading, walking through the park just to see the spring flowers… We still manage to squeeze some of these things into our lives now and then, and sometimes we do them as a family, but boy do I miss the thrill of dating and being newly married!

    Also, I was a little surprised to see a new look to the blog. I like’s Spring-y!


  17. congratulations, caryn!

    well, what isn’t missing of me since i had kids?! the first thing that comes to mind is my flat tummy, nice, unsaggy butt, and perky boobs. ha.

    i really did lose myself in being a mom AND a wife. i shared some of this with caryn already in a private email, but to share briefly here, my husband is a pastor, and i took it upon myself to just be his wife, in whatever form i thought that looked like–following his ideas, his hobbies, his friends. the thing is, he is not an overbearing husband who would expect these things of me. i just thought (based on lots of serious church baggage growing up, which i won’t get into here) that this was my duty as a wife.

    and then, as a mother, i thought i was just supposed to try to do everything i could for my kids. i judged my sister right and left, up and down when she went to grad school and then planned on getting pregnant by the time she graduated–i said, “why are you going to grad school then? you aren’t going to be able to work, right?” i thought if something happened to my husband and me i didn’t want her raising my kids because she (gasp) wasn’t a STAY-AT-HOME mom.

    the funny thing is, i am not really made to be that kind of person. but i tend to get lost in what other people around me are doing and saying. i have come a long way since then (it all started churning in me after reading carla’s book about 4 years ago), but it really is a constant struggle.

    so i can’t wait to read another person’s insight on this!


  18. I need an editor for my blogging/comments. Bad grammar going on in the post above…

    I think what I have buried/missed the most since becoming a mom are intellectual endeavors, creativity, problem solving in any area outside of home, family, & worshiping community, etc. There are definitely lots of problems to be solved as a mom that doesn’t have a career outside the home/family and as an active member in a wonderful community of friends and fellow church members. But there is something about thinking about issues outside of those arenas & having a voice in other arenas.

    Steps I’m taking towards change… Acknowledging that I’ve missed those things, & seeing that maybe God is calling me to do something in addition to being a wife, mom, and friend. I’m thinking about going to seminary or becoming a certified Pilates instructor or seeking a job in the area of economic development… Very different paths, but those are all things that I’m interested in/passionate about… Of course the main issues are childcare & how to balance everything. I love my life right now, so the prospect of change is a bit daunting. My husband rocks and is open to me pursuing other things. He agrees (and has always acknowledged) that I’m more than “just a mom” and wants me to be obedient to what God might want for me/ask of me…

    And, I’m saying goodbye (at least trying) to that part of me that was insecure, needing approval of others, and accepting the status quo or “what’s expected” as the truth or the right thing to do without asking questions or thinking critically or paying attention to my desires/who God has made me to be…


  19. kristi–we must have been typing at the same time… interesting commonalities. i definitely relate to a lot of what you wrote. my husband isn’t a pastor, though. 🙂

    and, because i’m not over my insecurities yet, i acknowledge my grammar mistakes in my 2nd post, too. i definitely need to get over worrying about that…


  20. Posted by Bookgirl on March 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Congratulations on the book, Caryn!


  21. Posted by EllenG on March 19, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I heard you talking on the radio this morning here in B’ham about your book, but totally didn’t realize it was you until now. I’m really looking forward to reading your book. I think the thing that I lost most about myself when becoming a mom is the right and desire to work outside our home. I really struggled with guilt (and still do sometimes) about leaving my daughter in the care of someone else for most of the day. However, she is flourishing and I’ve found peace over my decision to stick with my career AND be a mom.


  22. Posted by simplypassionate on March 19, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I love love love this! I wish I had found you a long long time ago. Our mutual friend, Melissa, introduced me to your blog this morning. I’m on kid #3 and still struggling with my desire to work outside of the home. I’m a stay at home mom and feel so tied down, so pinned. Is is discontentment? Why have I bought into the myth that it’s either mom or the pursuit of things that are (dare I say it) more fulfilling? I can’t wait to follow your blog. You may be the encouragement I need to step out into all that God is calling me to!

    Below are links to a couple of my own blog posts about this tension between being the mom I want to be and being the woman, artist, entrepreneur, creative person I’ve been created to be. I’ve just started an online photography class in an effort to step out towards a more creative life and unbury those things inside my soul that are screaming to come out!

    Thanks for stepping out and being so real!


  23. I just listened (watched) Carla on Doug Pagitt’s “The Question” Had to come here to see about the book. It looks great! I have raised 9 kids – only 2 left at home – and keeping my identity has been a rollercoaster at times but I haven’t lost it and I can see it growing in new ways. Yay!


  24. I can’t wait to read it. It looks like it will speak the truth and hit home on the issues so many women face today. I’ve lived the lives of full time mom, stay home mom, and something in between and still struggling to find the right mix. I’ve learned there is no “doing it all” but living through the seasons and choosing what works, for now.
    One small piece of my soul that I’ve missed tremendously–singing! Taking the time to go to choir practice once per week seems like just too much somehow. I’ve done all sorts of other things, but that thing that is really JUST for me has not bubbled up to the top of the list.
    Thanks so much for this forum.


  25. I’d love to get a copy of the book! I am definitely struggling with not fitting the SAHM stereotype I see in the church…and unfortunately I feel like I’ve let the writer in me die :/


  26. Ok, so I just typed out a long and thoughtful response, but got an error and lost it, so here is a summary:

    CONGRATS!!! You totally deserve to go grab a 4-truffle pack from Godiva, some Starbucks, leave the kids at home with papa, and go get a long, indulgent pedicure! Both of you.

    This blog has impacted my life so much, even though I don’t really comment all that often. The section on stereotypes had me re-thinking my ideals, and I am a much happier, less-perfect person now! The section on jealousy, well, that started a whole MOVEMENT among my friends and family to identify and face their (and my) jealousies. It is so liberating to tell someone “Hey, I am so jealous that you xxxxx! Somehow that represents YYYY to me…” rather than to diminutize the relationship into one of snarky one-up-man-ships!

    Not only am I buying a copy of each of your books, I am giving them away as gifts (once I find a place where I can use paypal to pay for them!!!)

    Congrats, and enjoy those virtual pedicures and chocolates! Don’t worry about the calories today!!!


  27. Posted by Bridget Hatlestad on March 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Congratulations on your book! It looks wonderful – I’ll pass on the word to my mom friends!


  28. Posted by Karin on March 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Congratulations Caryn! This is a moment to be CELEBRATED! Even if it is with sick and demanding kids :-).

    I completely relate to the title, and even tho my kids are now 17 & 15 (how did that happen????) for years I struggled with being a mom. Doing all the “mom” things that I thought I was supposed to be doing, how I was the only working mom of our group of friends, if what I did was “good enough”, etc, etc, etc.

    I have come to accept that all that I do, even if it is different from my friends, is how I operate, work, and passionately love my kids.

    Would love a copy.



  29. FYI to all you comment-subscribers: We announced winners of MAMA’S GOT A FAKE I.D. today. Come visit to find out who it is!


  30. Posted by Tami on March 23, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    So, I found your “revolution” via Carla’s Facebook page a bit ago, and have been stopping by to check it out. I just wanted to congratulate you on writing a needed book. If your book is anything like your blog posts, I’m sure I’ll be a fan. Thank you for using your gifts to speak into the lives of others in true and meaningful ways. I wish you didn’t need to grow thicker skin to hurtful comments as you painstakingly reveal your life, joys and struggles. Just know that there are those of us who are glad you have chosen to do so.


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