Thanks for joining me for the Rediscovering Joy in Motherhood series!
One of the things that was brought to my attention as I was working through my struggle to enjoy being a mom was that there are a few “hang-ups” that seem to steal the joy away from motherhood. I’m going to talk about three of them today, which I consider to be the biggest problems.
Joy-Stealer #1: Not understanding who we are and where the calling of motherhood stands in relation to other callings in life.
How many Pinterest boards do you have that relate to motherhood? Of my 130 boards, about 80 of them relate directly to different aspects of being a mom. Only two of mine are about marriage and there are probably 15-20 that specifically address faith.
That’s a tell-tale sign that we may be a bit misguided as to our priorities sometimes.
I’ve heard it said before that motherhood is the highest calling. But I don’t believe that’s actually true. At least for Christian moms. Biblically speaking, motherhood falls third in the list: behind being a follower of Christ and being a wife (2 Corinthians 5:20, Mark 10:8, Genesis 2:24 for example). Of course there are circumstances moms find themselves in where motherhood will be right after being a Christ follower and so this point is not meant to diminish that. It is simply to correct what I believe to be some erroneous assumptions about where “being a mom” falls on the scale of importance.
There are other callings as well, spiritual gifts given to each of us that we can use in a variety of ways (1 Corinthians 12 is a great chapter about these gifts). Yet first and foremost, we do use them to serve the Lord and our families. Our marriage and children should be an absolute priority in our lives, over any type of paying job, but that doesn’t mean that a paying job or other opportunity to serve isn’t important at all. It simply means that as we look at our different callings in life, it’s important to place them in the order they belong.
My mindset has been slowly changed on this matter over time. I was making motherhood into an idol. Placing it above any other priority in my life. I began in some ways to neglect the nurturing of my marriage relationship and even my time learning the Word because I was focused solely on trying to be a good mom. It was stealing my joy and really the joy in our family life, because I had nothing to draw from but my own strength.
When we look at motherhood the way it’s supposed to be viewed, as a special calling that springs from our highest calling (which is living for the Lord), we stop doing this next thing.
Joy-Stealer #2: Finding our satisfaction in results instead of in God’s redemption.
If we begin to see motherhood as an outflow of our relationship with the Lord, we can stop taking what is meant to be a grace-motivated calling and turning it into a legalistic, law-focused task.
What if, instead of finding our satisfaction in how well our kids behave or how “well-trained” they are, we looked for ways in which the Lord is working in their hearts? What if we viewed obedience as a skill we are all learning, instead of expecting perfection from our children and presuming it’s our fault if they aren’t carbon-copies of us as parents?
What if we found joy and peace and promise in the redemption won for us on the cross? Those things that have already been conquered through Christ?
Let’s allow ourselves to parent by grace, to stop viewing our kids as projects rather than precious souls.
A results-driven parenting method will never be enough to satisfy. It is good to rejoice when our children do well, when they head the Holy Spirit and obey out of love–and we should praise the Lord for that! Yet what can steal our joy is the unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves and our children. The outward obedience shown by our children cannot be our source of joy and satisfaction. We are not perfect either and yet Jesus’ perfection covers our sins. Let’s share that same gracious truth with the young ones that have been entrusted to our care.
Joy-Stealer #3: Playing the comparison game.
Don’t tell me I’m the only one who get slightly jealous of the accomplishments of other people’s children. It doesn’t mattter, really, does it? Every child is unique and has certain gifts that are their alone. But for some reason that green-eyed monster flares up in me from time-to-time and I find myself wishing that my oldest child was more athletic or that my baby had walked sooner. You’d think after four children this wouldn’t get to me anymore–and it does bother me less than it did before. But still.
Or maybe you find yourself, like me, wondering how “that mom” does it all: works out every morning, runs a successful blog, has perfect cookie-cutter children and a hard-working, always supportive husband and finds time to do 30 minutes of devotions every day (in a quiet place).
Truly, truly, I say to you, this is not reality. :) So many of my friends have commented to me that I always seem so organized, that my house is never a mess and that I’m such a patient mom. If only they knew the truth!
Let’s stop comparing ourselves to other moms thinking they have it all together. It’s easy to put on a good face, especially over social media, but really what another mom needs is an encouraging friend. Someone to come alongside her and point her to Christ and share her burdens when the time is right and she feels comfortable enough to open up, without feeling judged about things that are not biblical imperatives. At least that’s what I need in a friend! How about you?
When we are able to look past the “outward appearance” and see the heart of another mom, just like the Lord does (1 Samuel 16:7), we can stop the joy-thief called comparison in his tracks.
But what about the times when motherhood is difficult? Don’t the day-to-day struggles threaten to steal our joy too? They certain do. And I’m going to talk about how to handle the difficulties of being a mom in a Biblical, sensible, grace-filled manner in the next post! What I say might surprise you!
What do you feel are some things that steal the joy from being a mom? I’d love to hear your input and perhaps how you’ve overcome these situations. Do you need prayer? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email! (thepurposeful mom dot com).