Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Here's one thing I got right, as a mom:

One of my daughters says that at the ends of summers, when the other moms in the checkout lines would be sighing that they can't wait for school to start again, I would tell the children that I like having them home, and it makes me sad when school starts.

At our current stage, I know that leaving is good. It's what adults do. They grow up, find their way, and leave home--not necessarily in that order.

Even though the process is right, this also makes me sad.

If you're with me on all these mom FEELINGS, I want you to know that there's someone who Gets us.  Brenda Yoder launched a new book today, and I agreed to review it.  It's called Fledge--Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind.

The title has two significant meanings. "Fledge" is what young eagles do as they leave the nest. It's also the process of attaching feathers to prepare an arrow for flight.

Appropriate, right?

Arrows are for warriors, she says, and it takes a warrior to equip a child for their God-designed journey.

Also, isn't that the prettiest cover you ever saw?

Brenda and her husband have four children. Some have left the nest and some have not, so she writes from the perspective of still being a hands-on mom at the same time as she has kids leaving for college or mission work.

Brenda's style is detailed and meditative, so it isn't a fast read. There are Scripture verses to study, personal stories, professional perspectives from her work as a counselor--although these are subtle, as she wanted the book to be mom-to-mom--and questions at the end of each chapter, called Building Up and Letting Go, to help you process your own life and stage.

Here's one of my favorite lines:

Yet with all the focus and preparation on the fledgling, no one really checks on Mama Bird and all the changes that happen when your quiver starts emptying—changes for you, your child, and your family. 

This is a book that cares for the Mama Bird. It understands the grief she's feeling, the joy, the regrets, the hope, the frustrations, all of it.

One of the author's goals was to be "real" in her writing, and I don't know her personally but I get the sense she succeeded. She is honest about family life, and I won't list all the things that struck me as having happened at our house also, except to say I could relate to what she said about those impossibly busy years and the regrets that lurk after they're over, of short tempers and trying to do way too much, and the lingering effects on relationships with our children. She also writes about all kinds of dilemmas you face, such as when three children have three different events in a single day, and how in the world do you decide who you're going to "be there" for?

Everything is written from the standpoint of God's overarching plan for us and our children. This is not about us floundering helplessly until we manage to shoo them out the door. It's about a divine calling for both us and our kids.

In the chapter on control, she talks about how God wants us to lead and guide our children, neither hovering nor ignoring, but then there's a gentle process of releasing that control.

The final chapters come back around to taking care of the Mama Bird. Self-care, identity, mid-life stuff, and so on. Giving yourself grace. Accepting. Looking forward.

This book is about launching your children, and if you're a mom at the fledging stage, it will make you feel understood. Even better, it will help you see a thread of God's plan leading all the way through your mothering journey. You will understand more deeply and you will think hard about how you got to this place and where you want to go from here.


  1. When my daughters were little, whenever heard a talk about launching our children I would cry. Back then I couldn't bear the idea of my "babies" leaving the nest. Now my girls are 23, 21 and 17. The oldest is launched and we still have two at home. I know they will leave the nest if the Lord wills but it is nice having them home for now.

  2. Yes. I'm that odd mom who is sad when summer is over & they have to go back to school. I didn't know there was anyone else!

  3. I suspect this would be a good book for others to read who are not in that season, to help us understand those who are. LRM