Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who is the best Mom?

Recently I have become acutely aware of the competitive nature of Moms. Not only do we want others to believe that we have it together, we want people to get the impression that we are even better mothers than they are.

Has anyone else felt compelled to parade your motherhood in a rather perfect light? Or felt it was your duty to air your opinion without permission or recourse? What is it about us Moms that makes us feel so justified?

Here are my thoughts:

1. We feel like conquerors: We have recently endured (or presently enduring) one of the hardest things we have ever done. Raising young babies and children is not for the faint of heart.

2. We feel like failures: Just the slightest negative comment from the stranger at the grocery store can devastate us. Let alone our mothers or grandmothers.

3. We are plagued with guilt: We replay that time we goofed and spanked when we shouldn't have or let our kids watch one too many episodes of "Wonder Pets" over and over in our minds.

4. We want others to commiserate with us: There is nothing that can bond people more than shared hardships.

These are just some of the negative aspects that I believe the enemy uses as a foothold to get into the door of our hearts and bring discord among mothers. He knows our weaknesses and uses them against others and ourselves.

If we are being honest. And I am. The reality is that raising children is a very hard job. It requires all of you, at all times. If there is any shred of selfishness left in you it will rear its ugly head quite often. It is near impossible to be a mother ( or at least a good mother) and be a selfish person.

I think that is one of the ways that the spirit sanctifies us. Are we becoming more holy? The more we are pushed to our limits and broken daily are we learning to become better servants?

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

I admit that I really had no clue what it meant to serve until I had children. And for that I am so grateful.

So let us be gentle with one another. Our tender raw hearts are lying just beneath the surface of our mom armor.

I hope that I can cultivate relationships with women that are encouraging and full of grace. That I would accept them with open arms when they convey that they are weary. That I would give them words of advice only when asked and even then that my lips would be dripped with honey. That I would be truthful when I feel that a mother needs accountability and that my words would be spirit led.

That I would be kind to myself. That I would understand that the measure of my worth is not wrapped up in how much organic baby food I use, how long I breastfed, if I use cloth diapers, if I stay home with my kids, if I document every activity with dozens of photographs and video, if I spank or not spank, or if I let my kid eat food off the floor.

God does not want us to be the same. In that we can rejoice! So praise God that there are all kinds of mothers out there and that God is using their experiences to make them stronger and more like his character. He is not confined to one line of thinking in this. He only asks us to have hearts that want to open up and to learn to say yes to him, even when it is really really hard.


Nana Joanie said...

This column warmed my heart. STOP THE COMPETITION! Enjoy your children every moment instead. It goes by so fast. I agree, God is so good to Moms. But sometimes they need to reach out to Him and others for help. xoxo

anita said...

So true, Katie! There is no room for competition if moms are truly available to reach out in friendship and support one another in this challenging role of motherhood. Boasting about how we "have it all together" puts up a barrier between women. We sorely need our girlfriends to be real, listen to us and encourage us in our walk with God. Good job:)

Erika said...

So much to think about. Thank you for your honest communication. I used to get all up in arms about what others were saying about my "momming" ability. But as time has gone on I have seen that I am doing my best. Once I realized that Mark and I were both giving 110% all the time I knew that it didn't matter if I wasn't crafty enough or clean enough or....did let my children eat things off the floor. I fail at many things but by God's Grace and with God's help I know I will not fail as a wife and as a mother! And you won't either!!!

knblackford said...

Thanks for sharing such honest thoughts. I agree that there seems to be this competition among moms and I don't get it! Each mom is trying their hardest and doing what they feel is best for their family. I struggle a lot with feeling like I am not a good enough mom because I am a working mom. My desire is to be at home with Parker, but it's just not possible for us right now. I can totally relate with the feelings of guilt too...I feel that I am constantly battling feeling guilty about something. Not being with Parker enough, not doing something creative and fun with him every time I do get to spend time with him, leaving work each day and knowing I will never get all the things done that evening that I feel like I *should* be getting done. Ultimately, Parker knows that I love him, and that's what counts most.

Katie D. said...

Thanks for your honest comments! Erika, I appreciate your view from just a little ways down the road from where I am. I am already starting to let go of a lot of the stuff I used to care about. It's nice to feel more confident the more babies you have.Thanks for that encouragement.

@Karissa--I also really appreciate your honesty. I think this is something that needs to be talked about more often. How can we encourage and build each other up? I have to admit I have been guilty of playing the game and it was not fair of me. I think a lot of times this comes out of a place of defensiveness. For the record, I think you are a fantastic Mom. Financially blessing a child can speak volumes. You are a great mother! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. And so can I! :D

Holly B. said...

Katie, this is beautiful! I praise God that he has gifted you in so many ways! Besides being a wonderful mother, wife, friend, (the list goes on ;) you truly have a gift of writing. This post truly blessed my heart and was exactly what I needed to hear tonight. It made me laugh and it made me cry, And it was filled with truth and love and a Godly lesson! Thank you, Katie, for always striving to follow God's will, and be an encouragement and help to others! <3

Katie Deitrich said...

Holly! I just saw this comment. Thank you for encouraging me. That really means a lot coming from you. I really respect you as a mother and a friend.

Carmen said...

I was just reading through your posts and this one really spoke to my heart. Thanks for writing this!