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Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
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Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,668 ratings  ·  246 reviews
"Desperate" is for those who love their children to the depths of their souls but who have also curled up under their covers, fighting back tears, and begging God for help. It's for those who have ever wondered what happened to all their ideals for what having children would be like. For those who have ever felt like all the "experts" have "clearly" never had a child like ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 7th 2013 by Thomas Nelson
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,668 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is a difficult one to rate. I read this over the course of a few months with a group of moms for bible study. We had new moms, seasoned older moms and grandmothers, and those of us in between. The group was wonderful and encouraging. The book has it's ups and downs.

I appreciated the encouragement and bible verses. The advice to find women who are in the same stage of parenting as you and those who are older and more experienced is great. I think all new moms could use a mom friend to liste
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I did enjoy this book and found many things that convicted and encouraged me. However, after a few chapters, I tired a bit of the whiny tone in Sarah Mae's writings and the over-bubbly cheer of Sally's responses. It seemed to focus so much on the 'me' of motherhood and not much on how as Christian mother's we are really called to take up our crosses and follow Him...without focusing on our own needs. He will supply all of our needs, according to His riches in glory...and He will provide just eno ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really good mothering book. The blend of Sarah Mae's honesty with Sally's wise, godly, and time tested wisdom, well, I loved it. I am an idealist and a dreamer and so I connect with Sally's writing so well. She is a beautiful writer and lover of God.
Carlyn Canady
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This is perhaps the hardest review I have ever written.  Why?  Because this book was so very real to me.  From the moment I read the description, I knew I had to read it.  Never did it occur to me that I would have such an emotional response to the book.

What is the book about, you ask?

"I just can't be a mother today."  That is the name of the Introduction.

How many times have those words been in my heart?  How many times have those words sunk deep into my being?

But I am a mother.  Of two precious
Dec 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: faith, parenting
Desperate, Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
By Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson

I really want to like this book; several people I really respect love this book. I like the overall concepts of this book but there are so many little things that keep me from loving it.
Desperate is team written by a young mom and mentor mom and covers a variety of topics including the mission of motherhood, reason why we do what we do, needing others especially a mentor, the sin factor, and gritty stuff like depres
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I found many good reminders in this book - that my greatest job in training up my children, that routines are helpful, that the desperate little babies time does end, that I need both to seek someone to mentor as well as to find someone to mentor me.

I do have a few finer points of disagreement though:
1. I disagree with how they handled the issue of struggling with depression. There was a little too much "just trust God, read your Bible, start working hard, and you'll feel better". That works fo
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've given this four stars because it was encouraging, convicting, and I'd read it again on difficult mothering days. (Well -- maybe the next day, since "difficult mothering days" don't usually offer up a lot of spare time for reading.) Some points and counterpoints:

NEGATIVE: A theme throughout the book is the concept of "me time." Maybe a short snippet reminding mothers to be sure they're physically and spiritually strong enough to serve their families is in order, but this was reiterated in al
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Just can't even put into words how much this spoke to me as a mama of young ones. Like having a conversation with a mentor. A must read. And I will read again.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae partner together with ease in this convicting and encouraging book. They get it, they understand what a mother often feels deep inside and are able approach a multitude of questions and situations with a biblically sound, Godly approach. I wish I read this years ago for it's a book worth rereading. Don't get me wrong, this is not a book just for mothers of wee ones, its a book for moms who need to be refreshed and renewed on the importance of the children God blessed ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I find most Christian parenting books incredibly cringey (in the parlance of our times), so I did not expect this one to be different. But I ended up really liking it. It was helpful to read the perspectives of a mom in a similar stage as me with very similar struggles, but to have that balanced by a mother further along the journey. Honest, encouraging, and useful without being too prescriptive. It’s a keeper!
Margaret Bronson
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot from both authors and enjoy them both. There was a lot of themes repeated in this from the other books but I really enjoyed the presentation of the info. So many good reminders and Chapters 7 and 8 in particular were new material that I really appreciated.

This book would make the perfect baby shower gift or gift for a mom who is lonely or struggling. It covers all the good stuff.
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: moms, parents, mothers of young children
I read this whole book in one day. I realized it was due at the library, and I had not even cracked the cover open. I didn't want to return it without having an idea what it was all about, but when I started perusing it, it completely sucked me in and I just didn't want to stop reading! That is definitely a first for me when it comes to parenting books. Usually, I have found them unhelpful, but I trudge through them anyway because I want to have an informed opinion...

This book is a breath of fre
Mandy J. Hoffman
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own

As a mother of 3 kids birthed within a 4 year window I can relate to moments of desperation. So many books make you feel like you should be Mary Poppins and gloss over the reality of the daily grind. Sally and Sarah Mae address the issues that most of us mothers are too scared to even breath a word about. I remember being caught completely of guard by several things as a young mother in the "desperate days".

Desperate is 14 chapters of back-and-forth between the desperate mom (Sarah Ma
Amber Almanzar
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
I want to start with positives. This book was excellent in portraying the importance of Titus 2. Us young, ignorant mothers really need help, advice and encouragement from those older, wiser, and godlier women! We weren't meant to be alone. Also it did a very good job of communicating proper priorities; not letting other things distract you from your God given, primary purpose of wife and mother.
As for the negatives, I felt like this book was based on a fairly existential type foundation. There
Gretchen Louise
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are times when I begin reading a book and realize that if I could only keep one book on the topic, this would be it. The author isn't just speaking my language—they are speaking God’s truth right into my life. That’s the kind of book Desperate is for me.

Sarah Mae and Sally don’t provide formulas—but they explain why formulas can be a formula for failure and guilt. They encourage idealistic young moms (like I was!) that those ideals are good, but being unrealistic about ideals is unhealthy.
Meredith McCaskey
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm vacillating between one and two stars for this book. The only reason I finished it (and I skimmed the last couple chapters) was because I was reading it along with a small group of Christian moms I've been meeting with, so I felt like I had to finish it.

This is the kind of book I had to call my own mother and rant about more than once.

I've noticed this pattern in Christian momdom. A Christian mom starts a blog. Something about it goes viral. So she writes a book. She joins a coalition of oth
Phillip Howell
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
One word that kept coming to mind as I read this book was...wisdom. There are lots of wise words for moms with young children. There are plenty of wise words for older moms to mentor and encourage younger mothers. As a father of young children and a pastor of many young families this book is going to be a helpful resource I will recommend to many of the young moms and dads to read together. I thought the approach of the two authors responding to each other was wise. Sarah was able to be honest a ...more
Bluerose's  Heart
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

As I near the end of my pregnancy, I'm miserable. I'm exhausted, in pain(!!), and ill AS. A. HORNET! My house looks like a tornado swiped through it. My precious little ones rarely get to see "the best of me" these days. As I collapse into bed at night, I'm filled with guilt and frustration because I realize I've did more fussing and complaining at them than I have shown them what a joy they really are to me. When I picked up this book, I was truly desperate! I was so desperate to know
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, 2017, 2013
"Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe" by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson addresses the often overwhelming nature of motherhood. Mae is a mother of three young children who is in the trenches and barely on the other side of that common desperate feeling of moms with small children. Clarkson is an experienced mom with four grown children. Mae writes out of her current experience; Clarkson writes from the years of experience she has garnered.

There are 14 chapters, each one addressing a di
Esther Brumme
Difficult book to rate. Actual rating: 3.5
I too am desperate to stay afloat in a wide ocean of little people needs. Like Sarah, I long to be surrounded by older women who have gone before me, are comfy in their skin and can tell me "this is a season, you can make it through, put on your big girl undies and rise to the challenge". This book responds to that penury of older voices. Sally shares wisdom of hindsight with great understanding for the real struggles of the growing years and compassion
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is not perfect and I didn't love all of it, but I did love a lot of it. If you are a Christian mother who has chosen to build her own small army (like myself), I encourage you to read this book! It was very encouraging for my weary heart. I highlighted so much on my kindle version (which I almost literally never do) that I am going to buy a hard copy because I know I will be rereading it at least a few more times in the years to come. And I just like "real" book better than ebooks :)
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Several things bothered me about this book. It uses discipline and spanking as synonyms. in the section about depression it implies that with the right faith and lifestyle you can avoid depression. that is a dangerous message for women suffering from clinical depression. She goes do far as to suggest that buying a scarf or hiring a cleaner might help. So clearly not suggestions for the poor mother, and trivilized depression. the mentor / mentee setup came off as trite. as a mom who needs to take ...more
Lindsey James
Jul 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
I think this book was supposed to be uplifting. I thought I might get some ideas for coping with my 2 littles. Instead I felt very judged. The book was poorly organized, focused on the 2 authors relationship that they think is ideal, and was confusing.
When asked about moms working outside the home the author states "we will suffer the consequences of our actions." Ew.
I felt like I was reading a handbook from a cult.
Matt Boesch
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was helpful to me as a husband and father to better understand the things that wives and mothers struggle with on a daily basis. Being a mother is not easy and being a husband who wants to help his wife can be confusing but this book gives some good insight into how a husband can help his wife with her needs.
Christine Hoover
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this book to any mom. I love that it's a realistic picture of motherhood without pretense, but it also points to grace, hope, and that we must mother by faith. I especially loved the chapter on listening to the voice of God for direction in our families rather than listening to the countless voices that influence our choices.
Michelle Maddox
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For me, I loved it! Yeah, sometimes it was "too" perfect and had all the right answers, and I didn't agree with everything 100% of the time, but it has changed my outlook on a lot of things. It touched my heart and made me think deeper about all the little things that sometimes I never gave much thought to. I will be reading more books by these authors.
Ashley Wells
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, best-of-2013
This book came at a time when I literally felt desperate and wondered if I was going to make it to the end. Thankfully, Desperate was like a friend wrapping her arms around my neck tenderly, whispering in my ear that I can get through.
Ashley Malan
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bit corny in some of the wording but overall a very good read. I felt very uplifted by this book. On the days I read anywhere from a page to a chapter, I felt my attitude towards motherhood more Christ centered. It was like a little devotional every time I read it.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved this book! I could completely identify with it! It has offers me such hope and encouragement! Reading it a second time with a group of ladies.
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  • The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity
  • Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches
  • Heartfelt Discipline: The Gentle Art of Training and Guiding Your Child
  • Hope For The Weary Mom
  • Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom
  • Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls
  • Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role (True Woman)
  • Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby's First Year
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms
  • Telling God's Story: A Parents' Guide to Teaching the Bible
  • Grace-Based Parenting
  • Instructing a Child's Heart
  • Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load
  • Intentional Parenting: Autopilot Is for Planes
  • Parenting the Wholehearted Child: Captivating Your Child's Heart with God's Extravagant Grace
  • Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God with Your Children
  • Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God's Will for Their Lives
  • Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families
Sarah Mae (, listed as one of The Christian Broadcasting Networks Six Women Leaders to Follow on Twitter, is an influential Christian blogger, conference host, and author of the bestselling eBook 31 Days to Clean.

Because of her drive to inspire women to hold fast to biblical ideals, Sarah Mae has established herself as a social media expert by cultivating blogs and websites that have
“One of the marks of a godly woman is that she takes responsibility for her soul's need for joy and delight. A woman is a conductor, who leads the orchestra of her surroundings in the songs and music of her life. God is a God of creativity and dimension, and so He is pleased when we we co-create beauty in our own realm, through the power of His Spirit.

It was a profound realization when I understood that I could become an artist with my very life.”
“My kids don’t need to see a supermama. They need to see a mama who needs a Super God.” 3 likes
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