Welcome to the online home of Audra Jennings, a book publicist and crafter. Here I share about both. I hope you'll find books you'll want to read and crafts you will want to order. I live a rather boring, single life. At times I would like to think I am humorous. The kids I teach in Bible class tend to think so. I also blog about current seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I don't know why, I just do.
While motherhood seems to come naturally to some, many
women struggle with feelings of failure and inadequacy, believing if they could
only be like that mom over there,
their lives and families would be much better off. Rather than wallow in guilt
and “shoulds,” renowned South African speaker, TV presenter and author, Hettie
Brittz, wants moms to find hope and encouragement in (un)Natural Mom: Why You Are the Perfect Mom for Your Kids(David C Cook).
Q: In your new
book, you describe yourself as an (un)Natural mom. What is an (un)Natural mom,
and doesn’t every mom feel that way at some time or another?
I am an (un)natural Mom because even though I wanted and planned to have
children, when they arrived, I often doubted my abilities and made many serious
mistakes that made me wonder if perhaps I should never have had children or if
my children should have had a different mother. Nurturing instincts, the joy of
breastfeeding and many other indicators of the so-called “Natural Mom” just
passed me by. It took a while to notice I was not alone. Every mom wants to be
able to admit some aspect of motherhood did not come naturally and not all
motherhood duties brought her fulfilment, but society — even our church
community — frowns on this confession. The (un)Natural
Mom book gives you permission to admit this and to find what you ARE
lived in different locations around the world, have you found expectations of a
“natural” mother to be the same everywhere?
natural mom is a cultural myth and, therefore, not universal at all. I’ve
noticed in Africa the natural mom is not a hovering parent. She sits on a bench
in the park knitting or visiting with friends while her child plays
half-supervised on the monkey bars. In a Californian play park, the natural mom
walks underneath her toddler as he clambers about on the jungle gym, believing
scrapes, falls and scabs should never happen if she puts every focus on the
child’s complete safety and does not leave his side. In the Ukraine, natural moms
are those who can recognize types of cries and movements to predict their babies’
needs and are consequently able to potty train babies by ten months. Natural moms
in Europe are those equipped with knowledge about neurological growth, potential
psychological harm of discipline methods. In Egypt, natural moms spend the
first hour of school in their children’s classes up to the age of 9 or 10 because
they believe separation causes permanent relationship damage.
Q: What are
some of the natural mothering myths you talk about in the book that are
universal to moms all over the world?
moms are expected to be naturally maternal. They should aspire to motherhood
and view it as a stamp of naturalness. They value when they can become pregnant
easily and naturally, give birth naturally, breastfeed for as long as possible
and be naturally fulfilled by motherhood. They should be as natural at nurturing
as they are at discipline and at teaching their own children. They should all
be excellent homemakers who only feed their family healthy, organic foods. The
word “natural” now extends to every area of child-care.
moms tick almost all of these boxes, while many don’t tick even two or three. We
already recognize diverse talents, learning styles, dietary needs, temperaments
and spiritual gifts within our (church) communities. I advocate we recognize
the motherhood story of other women can read very differently from our own
experience, without being wrong or unbiblical, and God’s journey for her and
her family is at the core of these differences. The essence of all these myths
is we should all be the same. This is the myth that needs to be debunked first.
The beauty of our diversity deserves a second look!
places certain expectations on women regarding what a good mother should do in
raising her children. Have you found the church has an even higher standard of
I do believe Christian women are held to both their culture’s standard as well
as the standards of Biblical times. It obviously becomes especially tough when
our church culture clashes with society’s demands, especially in the area of
training and disciplining our kids. In church I find we are often measured
against the mom in Proverbs 31 who cooks, sews, trades, designs, runs an
international business, does leather work, is both a morning person and a night
owl and is adored by her children and her husband. This is daunting! In
addition to her as an example, we may be compared to a mom who adopts orphans,
homeschools, bakes for the church fair, serves at Sunday School and sings in
the worship team. Instead, we should be reminded the Church is a body with its
members designed to have different gifts.
believe this passage was actually meant to inspire a son to look for a virtuous
wife, never to become a checklist for you and me to measure our worth against.
Every God-fearing woman should be praised, whether she can prepare the perfect
roast or not. The heart is always God’s standard rather than the skill set, is
it not? We may do well to study the diverse godly women in the Bible for the
virtues of the heart instead of judging them and ourselves by our talents.
Q: What are
some of the stereotypes by which Christian mothers are judged, and how do those
make it more difficult for her to embrace her God-given temperament?
mothers are expected to be extra family-centered, which I agree with in most respects.
However, the stereotypes that slip in here are if she is truly a godly woman
she will be ready to start a family immediately, will be in favor of large
families, will not seek fulfillment outside of the home and will sacrifice what
some call “her dreams,” as these are viewed as signs of selfishness. If she has
challenges becoming pregnant, giving birth naturally or with aspects of raising
obedient and talented children, question marks may be placed on her faith. Some
may wonder if there is sin in her life causing the family-life challenges. If
she does not enjoy the mothering tasks that are idealized, but thrives as a
business woman, follows a career in a traditionally male dominated field or
remains a single parent after a teen pregnancy, she is viewed as worldly.
knowledge helps us understand the diverse aspirations, fears and difficulties
moms experience on their journey, the decisions they struggle to make and their
responses to family problems. Temperament differences do not excuse sin but
rather give us tools to guide all moms closer to the blessing of authentic
Q: You write
that you believe each (un)Natural Mom is exactly the right kind of natural for
her child. Can you give an example of what you mean?
believe God is a Master Designer in every aspect of Creation. His sovereign
power and his all-knowing wisdom in combination mean He knows what every mother
will need, what every child will become and what every family will go through;
I believe He equips them all accordingly. This includes giving them gifts as
well as providing them with grace for the tough patches in which they won’t
am not a natural nurturer, but two of my three children, due to their own
make-up and personalities, don’t need a lot of fussing and TLC. All three kids,
however, have some sort of attention problem. God always knew our ministries
would mean we raised our kids in transit and needed to homeschool them. Thus,
what I needed to have the most, he gave me.
I listen to moms who are my opposite their children, challenges and stories
differ vastly from mine. One of my mothering role models, has children with an
array of allergies and health issues. She is naturally equipped for the long
road of constant care with patience, a desire to nurture, cooking skills, and a
calmness and surrender to her circumstances. She’s the perfect mom for her
Q: You talk
about unlearning ingrained habits through bypassing the obvious confrontations.
Tell us more about what you mean and why it can offer hope to a frazzled
frazzled parent who is fully aware she has made mistakes and is stuck in
unhelpful patterns is likely to be defensive when we offer a list of have-to’s
and how-to’s to her load. Already sensitive to criticism, even our well-meant
advice can be experienced as judgment. When we choose to help her recognize the
things she is doing right, rather
than the things she is doing wrong, she’ll become more open to growth. If one
wants a tree to bear more fruit, one can’t just pick more fruit and prune back
branches; one needs to increase the fertilizer as well! This is our strategy to
help unnatural moms become more natural.
we help her find her natural mothering strengths that are listed clearly in the
book and personalized even further in her Tall Trees Profile Report (after
taking the free profile
as her “Forces within” and her “Fields of Greatness.” Empowered by these
truths, she starts recognizing she does many good things too. These affirmations
give her the inner strength to stand up and try new things. She does this
through the energy and joy she derives from having her core needs fulfilled. We
call these her “Fertilizer.” Her family can even help her by reading what she
needs to flourish. Once she is out of her winter season, she’ll have the
capacity to change, try new habits, learn and grow.
Q: There may
be some mothers who, despite the understanding God has given their children the
exact mother they need, struggle with how to let go and trust God to work
through them. What encouragement can you offer those moms?
Bible has many examples of mothers who had to let go: Hannah had to give young
Samuel back to the temple when he was just weaned, Moses’ mom had to give him
up to save his life and Mary had to let her son walk a journey of incredible
suffering. These mothers from the Bible set us an example of surrender and
great courage. Also listen to the testimonies of mothers who have had to see
children go through drug rehab, crises of faith or the death of a father. Let
them tell you their story, and if you are one of them, tell other mothers what
you have learned on your journey. God is not scared of the realities of life.
Give up the unrealistic ideal and embrace your reality. My prayer is that God
will teach you to see the beauty in it.
Q: What is
your hope for the readers of (un)Natural
I pray every mom
will discover the unique beauty of her mothering style, encompassing her flaws
as well as those traits reflecting the heart of God. It is my hope this book
will help all moms to embrace an important truth: From crib to college
send-off, even the mom who feels ill-equipped for this important job is more
than enough for her family. I trust she will be perfectly content with making
the best of the aspects of motherhood God has gifted her with. She will no
longer compare herself with others but will celebrate who she is and will let
other moms be themselves too. Through such
a mom, God will write a beautiful story into her household and into the world.