Book Review: Grace, Not Perfection

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If you are a busy mom with young children, or just children who are living at home, stop what you’re doing, put down that coffee or wine (or just use your free hand and keep on sipping), and buy the book Grace, Not Perfection. I stumbled upon this book during an Amazon search for books on Grace to read for this month’s happiness project, and i’m glad I did. This book is one of those pieces that just meets you where you are in your season of life; and in my case, it’s raising a 2 and 4 year old.

Anyone with young children, knows that this season of life is wonderfully messy and beautiful, and also incredibly hard at times. Throughout this book, Emily Ley recognizes the hardships that can occur during this phase of life, and offers simple ways to streamline and optimize your life, so you can actually live your life and enjoy it, in the moment. This book isn’t just work working moms or stay-at-home moms, there is no division. This book is for busy women who want to prioritize their lives, create simplicity, and cultivate happiness; sign me up!

This book exactly aligns with the philosophies that I have been trying to implement in my daily life during my Happiness Project. Throughout the book Emily, writes of mindfulness techniques, Grace, and Gratitude; Finding ways to be content in exactly where you are in your life. Emily provides four different ways in which you give Grace; Start with yourself, Get specific, Be a Lover, and Save Nuggets of Goodness. What I love is that she reminds us that giving grace is not just for others, you have to start with yourself. Give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack, just as you would a friend or family member. Giving grace starts with yourself. Focusing on Grace, Not Perfection allows us to embrace imperfections, which can reduce anxiety and open your heart to new possibilities and positive changes.

She also focuses on the importance of contentment, and how contentment plays an enormous role in our ability to simplify. Contentment is a concept that I often struggle with, as I can view it from two very different perspectives. First, if someone is content, by definition, you are “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.” If you are not looking for something else, and are happy where you are, then how can you be striving to be better or be more? It wasn’t until reading this book, that I came to also more thoroughly understand the other side of contentment, that you can use it as a form of gratitude and intention. It’s as Melody Beattie says “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” Contentment and gratitude are not a place of stagnation, where growth does not occur, but a place of joy, intention, and focus. 

Much of what is written in the book focuses on ways to simplify your life through prioritization and organization. She writes “When you remove a bit of frenzy you make space room for grace.” When we refocus our intention on simplification and not over-consumption, we make room for where we truly want our priorities to be. I know personally, I spend way too much time on things that don’t matter in the long run, whereas I would much rather spend my time doing things that add value to my life. Emily reminds us to do that in this book; To focus energy on what is important, to say no when needed, and to find ways to make a time in your life that can be difficult, easier.In fact, Emily created The Simplified Planner, prior to writing this book as a way to help busy women utilize their time more efficiently.

I can always get down with a book that helps women (or people in general) make simple, positive changes to help them live their best life; and that is what this book does. It doesn’t say, you’re doing it all wrong and here is what you should do instead. This book teaches you to embrace the season, embrace the chaos, and yet find ways not just to survive but thrive.


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