Oct 31

Reality Mothering

2012 at 5:05 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood

So often, we moms evaluate our own mothering by our worst days and compare ourselves to other moms on their best days. But both measurements are wrong and can result in a whole lot of unnecessary (not to mention ungodly) anxiety, false guilt, and self-pity.

When we get back from that awful trip to the grocery store with three small fussy children, or endure an entire day of teenage sullenness we conclude that this “worst day ever” is the measure of our mothering: total failure.

But then we go online—where a whole lot of mothering “best days” are to be found—and assume other moms have it altogether.

We read a mom-blog with gorgeous photographs of a creatively decorated, perfectly clean and organized children’s room and we assume this must be what this woman’s entire house looks like all the time.

Or our Facebook feed is full of parental reports of children’s latest sibling-loving, super-adorable, mature-beyond-their-years comments and we assume that this is what conversations in those homes must sound like all the time.

Or we pop over to Pinterest only to conclude that every other woman must serve fresh, delicious, beautiful, organic meals to her family all the time.

What we can’t see online are the ten messy-house, fussy-children, cereal-for-dinner days for every one Pinterest-perfect moment. So we must be alert to our temptation to compare ourselves to a false standard—a picture that someone else is trying to portray, or that we have filled out in our own minds based on a single snapshot.

And if browsing routinely leaves us prone to compare, overwhelmed, and guilt-ridden, then it may be a sign we need to cut back online and return regularly and ruthlessly to Scripture: to remind us that each day (for every mom!) has enough trouble of its own (Matt 6:34), but also that “as your days, so shall your strength be” (Deut. 33:25) and that if we do not grow weary in doing good, in due season we will reap if we do not give up (Gal 6:9).