What We’re Reading: ‘Be the Mom’ book review + giveaway!

By Shannon Magsam

Two years ago in the fall, my sister and I took our daughters on a guided trail ride near Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock.

Our young, beautiful guide, Samara, was especially kind to my horse-crazy daughter. At one point, our horse/rider line-up shuffled and I was on the horse behind Samara’s. We had a great chat as our horses carried us along a gorgeous wooded trail on a breezy blue-sky day. She told me that she planned to attend JBU in the fall and that she was going to be a camp counselor later that summer. When I told Samara what I do at Motherlode, she said, “Oh, I bet you’d like my mother.”

She explained that her mother, Tracey Eyster, created a website, MomLifeToday.com, in Little RockΒ  so we’d probably have a lot in common. When we got back to the stables, she gave me her mom’s business card. I determined right then and there to reach out to Tracey and tell her mom “job well done” on raising such a sweet daughter.

Even though we live in the same state, I didn’t meet Tracey until Gwen and I attended the BlissDom conference in Nashville in February.

All that to say Tracey recently wrote a book that came out a few weeks ago called “Be the Mom: Overcome attitude traps and enjoy your kids”. It’s a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.

The good news? We have three of Tracey’s books to give away! (See giveaway details below.)

I love that she started writing the book specifically for Samara. She wrote, “I wanted her to know that being a mom is hard but well worth it.”

Tracey Lanter Eyster

Tracey’s book is not “preachy”. She comes across as a girlfriend who’s been there and wants to help you along in your own Christian momlife. Several of the “mom traps” she writes about in the different chapters really stood out to me, personally.

In particular, the “busy mom” trap was the one that made me cringe the most. There are various mom truths scattered throughout the book, and the one in that chapter notes: “Being a busy mom is not the goal; instead, being a relational and content mom is what you should strive for.”

I also loved the part where she cautioned moms to work on having a close relationship with your kids now, so when something goes wrong “you will have earned the right to speak into their lives.” Later, she calls it “relational equity”. Love that.

She also has quizzes at the end of each chapter, which I’m really a sucker for.

HOW TO WIN A COPY OF TRACEY’S BOOK: Click on the orange button below and tell us one of the best pieces of advice you ever received about being a mom. I think some of the best advice I received was to enjoy each stage of your child’s life because they all have surprises and joys (yes, even the teen years!).

If you don’t win one of the books but you’d like your own copy, click here to order the book on Amazon or here to buy it through Focus on the Family. It will feel good knowing that all author proceeds for Be the Mom will go to Project 319 at Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, Texas. Project 319 provides scholarships to youth who are considered at-risk, active military families and campers in spiritual and financial need.

This is also really cool: Samara was a horse wrangler at Pine Cove Christian Camp over the summer. It had been one of her dreams since she was a little girl. Way to go, Samara!



  1. Outward appearances are nothing to argue about. She let us cut/color our hair and wear anything that didn’t make us look like prostitutes or gang members, as long as we ate breakfast, did well in school, and handled our responsibilities at home in a timely manner. I have done the same with my kids, remembering that hair grows back, fashion fads come and go, but it’s the kid inside that matters.

  2. Pick your battles! For example, I don’t interfere too much on what my girls choose to wear. Sometimes it can be a little strange, but mostly I get compliments from other adults on my older daughter’s style and fashion sense!

  3. Laurie, you told me that very piece of advise at my baby shower and I have learned to sort of live by that! My son is 2 and it amazes me the decisions he wants to make and I just let him express himself πŸ™‚
    Also, I learned that schedules aren’t all they are cracked to be. You don’t have to be so disciplined and on a routine that you forget to enjoy each day that we are given!

  4. The best advice I’ve received is “Do what works well for you.” Other moms may have their tried and true methods for many things. Some of these things work for my family and some don’t. I’ve learned to try a few different ideas/techniques and do what works best for our family!

  5. Everyone’s heard it a thousand times: be consistent, follow through. But prayer tops them all…….

  6. Enjoy every second…the good, the bad & even the ugly! Ha! In a flash they are grown, spreading their wings and out of the nest. Always teach them that God is with them guiding them thru this world…. Stand up for your beliefs and follow your dreams because you can be & do anything you put your heart into! And I always tell them that I will always love them more than will ever know until they have children of their own;) too the moon & back!

  7. “Let them be little” is probably the best advice I have received. Kids are only little once and need to experience the fun things in life!

  8. Shannon, I know you do like those quizzes!! πŸ˜€

    The best advice? Snuggle them while they will let you.

  9. Sounds great…but are there any tips on how to have time to read a book? πŸ˜‰ I’d love to give it a try!

  10. Some of the best advice for being a mom came from my own mom: Generally speaking, don’t discipline/administer consequences in the heat of the moment.Wait until later – when you have had time to cool down and think (that’s often worse punishment for kids anyway).

  11. Being in a stable environment and staying consistent with them. Kids are so routine that they can get confused easily or act out when they’re not within what they are normally used to. Thanks!

  12. I think the best advice for me is just to let them be kids. Its hard to do that sometimes when everything is crazy and we are so busy.

  13. I believe the best advice I received was to not let circumstances dictate how I treated our boys. We adopted their father when he was only 7 years old, but by then he was set. He had been in 14 homes since 2 years old. When he was 18, he met a 15 year old girl. She got pregnant and had a boy at 16. She went on to have another boy 2 years later. (Now 11 and 9) My husband and I have now adopted them, because their parents are divorced and living out of state. We love them and will never hold their beginnings against them. This should hold true for all adopted, neglected, step-, and children from broken marriages.

  14. Best advice: SLOW DOWN! Advice was given for me when working with a child with autism, but it applies to relationships with all of my children!

  15. Best advice: Treat advice (and parenting books) like a salad bar – use what works for you now, leave the rest for the next round. And remember that every kid and situation is different so variety in your tactics is a good thing.

  16. One of the best pieces of advice I received as a mom was to sleep when the baby sleeps, especially when they are young. I think I was able to enjoy the newborn stage much more after having gotten some rest during the day!

  17. The best advice I received is “don’t sweat the small stuff”. The house can be a mess, people exect it if you have little kids, do the laundry later- play with your kids now. Time goes by too fast, enjoy them now!!

  18. Its simple but… Trust that the Lord God who made this child also choose you to be its mom! Thus HE knew that with His help you already have everything you need to be the Mom god intended.

  19. The best advice I’ve received is to pick my battles. “Is this issue important and light of eternity?” Some things are worth the “fight” or “battle” and some things are not. That has really helped me as my oldest is a pre-teen (12). I have 3 boys ages 12,10 and 8 and then we just had a baby girl last March- she is 6 months old. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!!! Sounds like an awesome read!!!!

  20. the best piece of advice, “go with your gut”. My gut has led me in many right directions! Its hard to go with your gut over your heart sometimes as your heart wants you to please everyone else. BUT, your gut will make YOU happy!

  21. The best advice I ever got was to never wish your child to be one second,one minute, one hour, one day,one month, or one year older than they are at that moment!

  22. Just love those babies. Don’t worry about every little thing, just love those babies.

  23. The best advice I’ve been given and applied as a parent…

    Even when I may be exhausted at night and want to go to bed, if one or both of my daughters want to talk, I wait to go to bed and listen to what they have to say. Those always have been wonderful and bonding moments no matter what theyshared with me.

  24. The best advice I have received was rest when your children are napping. I tend to clean, wash, sort, load but then I have no more energy when they are awake. We all rest together and then we all play together!!

  25. Sleep when they sleep when they are young…and try not to say “Hurry” too much.

  26. Spend time together…. house will wait, don’t freak out about things being out of place, spend your valuable time with them.

  27. The best advice I ever got was to listen to my mommy gut!!! It is so true and has not failed me yet.

    Love ya Tracey….hope to make it to Mom Boot Camp again!!!


  28. One of the best pieces of advice I received is say YES as many times as possible because children hear NO so often!

  29. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know that is a common phrase, but when you stress out about things that in the grand scheme of things are really not that important, you miss out on some wonderful moments with your kids! Love and cherish them always, even through the mishaps!

  30. you have to be flexible and have a sense of humor. I struggle with both of these things daily πŸ™‚

  31. Not sure if this is really advice, but I live by it: Good moms have messy floors, dirty ovens, and HAPPY kids!

  32. Get your kids into a daily routine but also allow flexibility and impulsive fun trips. Also, enjoy each stage…they really do fly by too quickly πŸ™

  33. It always amazes me how much advice moms are given- some good, somw bad, some funny, and some just scary! As well as from whom we hear it- loved ones, medical staff, and strangers who judge in 0.2 seconds- those are often my favorites! πŸ˜‰ Some of my favorites, and most are such cliches that I thought I would tire of hearing them- love them, respect them, be there for them; play with them, enjoy them, be super silly with them as often as possible; don’t wish even a second away and treasure every moment; they truly are the greatest joy and blessing you will ever know (even if they can cause the biggest headahces. lol) Although there are so many, many more, these are the ones I try to remember and practice the most- especially through the toughest and most challenging moments.

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