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Spirit-Led Parenting: Because Babies Aren’t Circus Seals (plus giveaway!)


There were 39 comments. 2 commentors, Stephanie and Amy, asked to not be in the running, so that left 37 possibilities. I used Random.Org generators and came up with these two numbers:


Congratulations to #32, Sarah, who wrote:

Congratulations to #30, Sylvia Sittner, who wrote:


Update: 12:00 pm mdt: COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR ENTRIES! I will used random # generator to choose TWO winners! TWO! Check back to see who won. I will contact winners via email.


If I had a time machine, I’d set the dial for the summer of 1997.

I’d pilot through worm holes and psychedelic spirals with my stomach in knots. My plan: To confront myself as a first-time mom of a newborn. I’d do it with love, compassion, and a copy of Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year. It’s written by my good friend, Megan Tietz—who many Lifenut pals know from Sorta Crunchy—and her friend and writing partner, Laura Oyer, who blogs at In The Backyard.

Landing in that old, dear apartment with a shudder, I’d know precisely where to find myself. Young Mom Gretchen would be slouching on our mid-century crushed white velvet sofa, 87% asleep, with one hand on the swing crank so our newborn daughter, Aidan, would sleep. It was the only place she would sleep for months. I was deeply ashamed of this because everyone knows babies sleep in cribs. But Aidan had different ideas. She loved motion. She craved motion. She was happiest when the swing was at full-tilt, freshly-cranked (it was the dark ages of swing technology). The click click click click filled our nights and I wondered, often, what kind of horrible sleeper we were creating? How spoiled she was!

And then there was breastfeeding. When she was about a week old, I called my mother one evening crying hysterically because I was in deep, throbbing, burning pain from engorgement. Aidan could latch on any more than she could latch on to the Goodyear Blimp. The whole nursing thing was much more fraught with terror and anxiety than I realized. I really had no clue what the whole mothering thing entailed—even though I read BOOKS.

Bookity-book-book-bookish book reader that I was turned to them for parenting advice. Much to my horror, our lives didn’t align with what the books said to do and think and feel. Our tiny daughter didn’t read the books, so there’s problem #1. Our book club was populated by a little 8-pound slacker and two weary parents who had only been married for 10 months and were still bewildered about the positive pregnancy test taken the autumn before. Heck. I’m still surprised.

Exiting my time machine, I’d tiptoe up to myself and resist the urge to paint my own toenails. I’d slide Spirit-Led Parenting onto my lap and sneak back to the time machine after giving the swing a mercy crank. Bye-bye, me.

It would have changed the way I mothered Aidan. There’s no way it could change how much I loved her or how devoted I was and still am to her. That was set in motion already. But Tietz and Oyer’s words would have flowed over me like a calming melody, giving me permission—and freedom—to parent in a whole new way. I’ve been a Christian since early childhood, so the fact I have a Father, a Son, and a Spirit in my corner is a given. I have no doubts. But I fall into the trap of thinking that the minutia of my mothering is of little concern to them, especially when it comes to basic things like food and sleep. I’m the adult. I should be able to figure those things out on behalf of as person who thinks a ceiling fan is fascinating entertainment.

Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year lovingly explores topics like sleep, feeding, marriage, baby wearing, and even post-partum depression. Relatable personal anecdotes from Tietz and Oyer mixed with Biblical truths, scientific facts, and a hefty dose of grace conspire to uplift and equip the greenest shoots of mamas and dadas. They contend the first year of a baby’s life isn’t about training a baby in God’s way or anyone else’s way. It’s about sacrificial servanthood and it’s about recognizing you cannot do it alone. Rather than something to slog through with fingers crossed, baby’s first year is a time of revolutionary growth for everyone in a family. They write:

The first year should be less about training our babies and more about God developing us as parents and human beings.

Do you know how freeing this outlook could have been to me? To you? Tietz and Oyer aren’t advocating for all parents to abandon schedules or structured living. Rather, they deftly make a case for discerning what makes your baby thrive. Try serving your child and your spouse (wives and husbands) as you’ve been served by a loving brother, Jesus. Your baby wasn’t born a bucking bronco who must be tamed or a circus seal who must honk horns in a certain order to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Spirit Led Parenting is a quick, fun read which is perfect for a soon-to-be mom or a mom of a little one who must snatch reading time in between blinking and the next diaper change. It made me laugh and feel less alone, even nearly 15 years later. The lessons in the book are easily adapted to parenting bigger kids with giant feet who smell of Axe body spray and corn chips. The Spirit doesn’t pack his bags on the baby’s first birthday. He’ll stay and continue teaching, leading, guiding, whispering throughout every stage. This book can be a great resource for parents at any point on this often-rocky, always worth it road.


Win a copy of Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year! Simply leave a comment before April 20th, 2012 at noon, MDT. For additional entries and to read other reviews, hop on over to these other blogs for their perspective:

(please note, if this is your first time leaving a comment at Lifenut, it will go to the moderation queue)

39 comments to Spirit-Led Parenting: Because Babies Aren’t Circus Seals (plus giveaway!)

  • I love that my anti-spam word was cuddle 🙂

    I have heard great things about this book and can’t wait to read it. My daughter is 15months….

  • I would so love to read this book! I am expecting my first child in August, and I’m fairly nervous about how things are going to cope.
    This looks like it would be an immense help to my husband and I as we approach parenthood!

  • Laura

    This new momma would love a copy!

  • There must be a better way . . . as soon as I think “I’ve got it” everything changes.

  • I would love a chance to win this book! I am still in the trenches, with a 3 1/2 year old and an 18 month old. I think that learning to listen to the Spirit is something I definitely need to practice in my parenting. I spend way too much time listening and comparing myself to others. Thank you for the chance to win!

  • You don’t have to count my comment as an entry, but I just wanted to say what you wrote is PERFECT. I’m so excited about this new book and do wish I’d had something like it when I was a young mother, too.


  • Elisa Klump

    I would LOVE to begin reading this book ASAP. I have followed the blog tour a bit and have been moved in more than one way by the transparent reflections of other moms.

  • Gretchen

    I’ve heard so much about this book…and it’s all good! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! And while I’m eagerly expecting the arrival of my second child in July, this would be the perfect book to pass my time.

  • Oh you got to review it!!! Just the right person!!! I am dying to read – gonna have to get a copy!!! “Try serving your child and your spouse (wives and husbands) as you’ve been served by a loving brother, Jesus.” I just love that… and really I think it works for kids of any age and especially babies that “the bookish books” are trying to into cribs!!! Hope you have a wonderful day on the far side of the world!!!

  • Rhonda

    I would love a copy for my daughter Amber who is expecting her first child the end of May! Thanks Grandma RaRa

  • this looks really honest, and important – not like those other parenting books that are judgemental and filled with “shoulds”.

  • Kirstin

    I just gave birth to my second a few weeks ago and my oldest is a mere 13 1/2 months. I still consider myself a new mom! I had expected the transition from one to two children to be somewhat smooth since I had experience with one baby. I had expected enjoying every moment with both babies. And, I had also expected that this maternity leave would be rejuvenating – getting lots of rest, getting the house organized, etc. Not the case! I am overwhelmed in trying to keep up with my two babies. I feel guilty for splitting my attention between them.

    I think a lot of these feelings are due to lack of sleep, postpartum hormones, and unrealistic expectations. What I am trying to learn is that it is okay to have a little “me” time every day whether in the form of a quick nap, chatting on the phone with a friend, reading a blog, taking a long, uninterrupted shower, etc. Doing something for me, rejuvenates me and allows me to keep things in perspective. I am less overwhelmed and I enjoy my children more (even if they’re being fussy . This is the one thing I wish I would have known and am still trying to learn.

    I would love to read the the book! Thanks for the post!

  • Love the premise; glad to see there is finally a book out there like this!

  • Amy

    Don’t count my comment as an entry since my boy is already eleven. 🙂

    I wish I would have had a book like this when I first became a mother. I know I spent more time worrying about feedings and scheduling than I did about becoming the parent God wanted me to be. Oh, to be able to start over again…

  • Deanna

    I’d love to read this book and have it to share with others. Sounds so open and honest. I’m so thankful to have a mother who didn’t do things by the books, knew kids were different, etc. Made my own transition to motherhood much easier.

  • I’m about to become a mom (in three weeks! ahhh!!) and I would LOVE to have a copy of this book.

  • Sounds lovely! I read Everyday Blessings, a zen type parenting book when mine were small, and though Christian, the meditation suggestions were wonderful and so helpful. I would love to read this book now too, so I am going to order it from the library and if I win it, then I will share it with a friend!

  • Christy S

    I would love to win this book! My little guy has not read the books either:)

  • This book sounds so interesting. I would love to read it.

  • I would love to win this book! I breathe a little easier just reading the blurb.

  • Melissa C.

    If I could go back in time to when my first was a newborn I would have burned the copy of Babywise that was highly recommended to me. I’m sure this book would have much better advice. I didn’t follow the Babywise advice for very long, thank goodness, because it went against every instinct I had as a mom. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

  • Oh how I had had this book with my first! All mamas and daddy’s need grace from day 1. Really would love to read this book!

  • krista

    i would live to win this to give it to my sis in law!!!

  • Emily

    I am expecting our first child in about 5 weeks!
    Sure would love to read this book!!! 😉

  • My anti-spam word was kindness! Love!
    Well, of course I’d love to get this book in my hands for free, but I’ll probably buy it anyway. 🙂 My darling is 13 months old, and my husby and I are always teetering between feeling guilty for being too lax with our son and trying to force him into things that don’t help him grow.
    Why is it so hard to parent like God does?!?

  • Julie

    This book sounds amazing and right up my ally!

  • Sounds like a great book!

  • Loralee

    What a great book! I have the perfect mama in mind who would love this book.

  • Audrey stith

    Wow. Now this is a book I NEED! Our 1st baby is 6 weeks old and just reading this review maes me have a whole perspective shift. Our job is to raise our little girl to glorify God, not to be a scheduled robot. I totally identify with the author in having fear when our baby doesn’t line up exactly with what the books or advice we are given says. Irondoor32 is time to remember that Raegan is our precious gift from God and that He has all the answers we need. All we need to do is ask Him for help.

  • Jennifer B

    What a GREAT introduction to the book. I looooove the way you went back to your beginning of motherhood. It’s only been four years since I’ve begun motherhood and I’ve changed so much in those four short years. Would love, Love, LOVE to win this.

  • I am interested in your book because parenting is an area that I deal with often as a teacher and grandparent. I have learned what the authors are trying to say here, that raising a child actually trains the parents, or it should. This is what God planned. We are instructed to train up a child in the way he should go but that did not mean that we are to be harsh and demand that our children conform to the behavior that we expect or that makes life less complicated and more comfortable for us. Child-rearing never becomes less complicated or comfortable and parents need to come to terms with that. Instead of “driving” our children into little corrals like wild mustangs, we are to nurture them; that is, love and cherish them – not as things that exemplify us – little mimics and clothes models that reflect our (parents) preferences and choices. But rather, God’s plan is for us to treat them as gifts that we are to care for, be accountable for, and let them return to God as they become adults. It’s the how to that we must examine to be effective, Spirit-led parents. Living with a heart like Jesus, is a beginning. Having said thus, I would like a copy of this book to add to my philosophy of child-rearing and apply it in my experiences with parents.

  • Shalene

    I sit here reading this with the 18 month old baby sound asleep in my lap, instead of in her bed where she “should” be, or at least others would say so! All that to say, I really need this book!

  • Sarah

    I would love to win this book! I’m so looking forward to reading it as soon as I can!

  • Where was this when mine were tiny?! Makes me kinda wish I could start over– but only a little. 🙂

  • Sarah B

    i would love to read this! looks incredible!

  • We would love to read this book! Definitely reading soon =) Hope to win it!

  • Ashlee

    This book is exciting and interesting. I’d love to read it. I have two littles. 3 years (in one month that is, sniff) and 4 months.

  • JoAnn

    My coworker would love this book!

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