“You’re a complete failure!” “Why can’t you do what you committed to?” “What’s wrong with you?” “So and so can do X,Y,Z, so why can’t you?” “Everyone is just waiting for you to mess up.”
These voices have been playing over and over in my head ever since I became a mom three years ago, and, honestly, I’m still not great at silencing them. Becoming a mother was a lifelong dream of mine, but, you know the sentiment that you’re a perfect mother until you actually become one? Totally and completely 100% true. Granted, my motherhood experience has been anything but “conventional.” Marrying into motherhood was never out of the picture per se, but it was never something that I seriously considered until the opportunity arose. The choice to marry into a ready made family was not one that was taken lightly, and I suppose it’s the seriousness of that decision that has driven me towards achieving mommy-hood perfection. You name it, I’ve tried to do it all with a smile on my face, but only a very select few people have seen how I’ve struggled in that pursuit. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it’s important to strive to be the best in whatever you’re focused on, but I really struggle with the show. You’ve probably heard it or read it somewhere else, but, you know the Facebook-y, Pinterest-y world of lavish birthday parties, gourmet meals, and children with shining faces? It bugs me to death! And what bugs me the most, is that, for a while there, I bought into it. I had this feeling of total inadequacy, this gnawing itch that if I didn’t throw my kids the big birthdays and post them all over social media, then someone, somewhere was going to make the case that I don’t love my kids as much as their biological mother did.
That, my friends, is nonsense. This past year, I tried something new. (Partly out of necessity because frankly, giving birth to two kids in two years was incredibly taxing.) I-gasp!-scaled back on the kids’ birthdays! I stopped posting as many pictures to social media! I stopped updating my Facebook status as often, and do you know what?! This amazing thing happened! Those negative voices started to settle down. And once they settled down, I realized something. It doesn’t matter one bit if someone else looks down their noses at me because I fed my kids cereal for supper instead of making a lavish meal. It doesn’t matter if the birthday party is an intimate family affair rather than a full-blown bash. What matters to my kids is that they are loved and safe. What matters to me is that I do my best each day with whatever life throws my way.
Ultimately, what matters is that I do my best as a mom because that is the job that God has called me to do. Backing off of social media helped me to shake off some of the mommy guilt that was plaguing me, but that alone isn’t enough. If I can leave you moms with anything, it’s that I have to struggle and fight every day to remember that my sufficiency is not found in myself, but it is found in Jesus Christ. On those days where I am deep in the trenches of motherhood and that nagging feeling that I am totally failing creeps up, the one thing that keeps me going is knowing that God’s sufficiency, not my own, must be my source of strength. Simply put, if I place my sufficiency as a mother on my own shoulders, I will fail and get crushed beneath the weight of my own failures. But, if I place my sufficiency in Christ, then He will be and is my strength to get through those rough days.
So, mamas, if you are having a rough day, week, month, or you’re in a season of mommy guilt, do two things for yourself. First, back off of social media. Ironic that a blogger would encourage you to cut back on social media usage, but trust me, a social media detox helps with those feelings of inadequacy and discontent. Second, realize that Christ offers you HIS strength to get through those rough days. And if you need a listening ear, please contact me or comment on this post! I would love to be able to pray for you!
Til next time!