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.