Before we get to some more specific thoughts on gospel-centered parenting, we want to talk about a few sources of discouragement for moms. Unruly children aren’t the only cause for despair; a big source of temptation can also come from comparison with other moms.
Meagan sent is this insightful comment about Janelle’s post:
It was nice to be assured that some one else has children who throw themselves on the floor and cry as if the world is ending when they don’t get their way and that I’m not the only one who doesn’t get around to gourmet meals every night. So often all people post about or share are the great, creative things they do. Like gourmet meals and hand sewn clothes and perfectly dressed kids. And all the status updates are about the latest adorable thing their child has done. (No one posts about the latest tantrum their kid has thrown.) And please understand, I’m sure I am guilty of the very things I am complaining about! But one can walk away from all of these posts/updates thinking that everyone else has there act together and this is what it must look like to be a “good” mom and wife. And when one doesn’t measure up to these standards one’s heart can be sorely discouraged and guilt laden.
As one pastor recently quoted Will Farrell (not someone we ever thought we would be quoting here on girltalk!): “May your life one day be as awesome as you pretend it is on Facebook.”
Now I don’t think most of us mean to “pretend” or even to be fake. But this raises an interesting point—both about what we as mothers post and how we interpret what others post on social media.
In our recent series, The Connected Heart, we noted that there are endless ways that we as mothers can benefit from social media and the Internet. But we must also be alert to the fact that it expands the sources of temptation as well.
When I was raising my children there were only my friends and neighbors with whom I was tempted to compare my mothering. Today, with Facebook, Pinterest and the like, we measure ourselves against countless women every day—many of whom we do not know and whose “real” lives are mostly hidden from view.
So while we can glean many creative and useful mothering tips online, we can also be tempted to measure ourselves against a virtual standard of motherhood: a perfect, composite mother who doesn’t, in fact, really exist at all.