I’m not sure when being middle-aged happens, but I think I’m there – and it’s nothing like I expected. I turned 40 last month, am getting ready to celebrate 17 years of marriage to my college sweetheart husband, mother three kids from 3 to 12 years old, and have been out of high school for more than two decades.
“The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You” by Lisa-Jo Baker was good for me in this season. I started reading it one morning in early May – about a week after I turned 40, a couple of days after my dad died unexpectedly, the week before my kids’ last week of school that involved a field trip two hours away, a program, and an out-of-town vacation.
Obviously, I was in the middle of a lot of things at once in what’s my favorite month right in the middle of the year.
Anyway, I started “The Middle Matters” while eating banana bread I made the previous night because my husband and kids didn’t want those mushy bananas to go to waste. My son and youngest daughter left crumbs and I just kept reading. I don’t drink coffee, but pass the Diet Dr Pepper. I needed that quiet morning at the kitchen table to take some deep breaths and remember why the middle matters.
“The middle is the place where our lives really live. This is the place where we have grown into the shape of our souls even as we might have outgrown the shape of our jeans. The middle is the marrow. The glorious ordinary of your life that utterly exhausts you but that you might have finally started to understand in ways you didn’t at the beginning. … We are living the memories that will be passed down to the ones who are still living their beginning.” – Lisa-Jo Baker in “The Middle Matters“
Weary moms and women who are hoping for children and friends who also turned 40 this year and all you who might feel like you’re drowning in ordinary life, this book is for you. As I read, I felt cheered for and seen and understood.
About the book
Do you ever wonder how you woke up one day with all the responsibilities of a grown-up who secretly enjoys going to Costco, can no longer recognize the tween celebrities on the magazines at checkout, but is still surprised when a Starbucks Barista calls you “ma’am” – because your inside self is frozen in time from about twenty years ago? So does Lisa-Jo Baker. Welcome to the middle!
In these intimate reflections on midlife, Lisa-Jo Baker invites women to get a good look at their middles and gives permission to embrace them – beyond what the media, the mirror, the magazines, or our teenagers say. Through gutsy, beautiful storytelling, she admits out loud what most women are thinking about marriage, parenting, failure, and how badly we all want to buy those matching Magnolia Market mugs. Lisa-Jo knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, muffin top included.
This book is published by WaterBrook and officially releases July 23, 2019. But you can preorder now and get extra goodies: $10 Gift Card to DaySpring.com (+ free U.S. shipping), an audiobook excerpt (read by Lisa-Jo), behind-the-scenes photo album, eight secret podcast sessions that are Confessions of a Carb-Loving Author (from Lisa-Jo). Learn more at its website and on Amazon.
About the author
Lisa-Jo Baker wants to help you stop trying to escape your ordinary life, but to lean into it instead. She is the best-selling author of “Never Unfriended” and “Surprised by Motherhood.” She is the co-host of the popular Out of the Ordinary podcast and lives just outside Washington, D.C. with her husband of more than 20 years and their three very loud kids.
I did get a free copy of this book in exchange for helping promote it as part of the launch team, but I truly recommend the book and will likely spend money on gifting copies to friends. As always, if you need other book recommendations, check out my list. I previous reviewed Lisa-Jo Baker’s “Surprised by Motherhood” and wrote about “Never Unfriended” a few times, which you can see here.