My friend Jamie Erickson joined me on the podcast last week. Today, she’s sharing her heart on a topic may of us moms can relate to. I want to encourage you mom, hard times come – but they’re not here to torture us; they’re here to teach us. We either learn from them or we don’t. I hope you’re encouraged by her words. xo, Heidi
I saw a meme on social media the other day that made me snarl. Perhaps you’ve seen it too. It said something to the effect of “Wine is the epidural of Motherhood.” It’s not the only pithy bit of mommy humor to surface on my screen lately. There have been others—plenty of others circulating the interwebs reminding us all how tough it is to be a mom and how motherhood has earned us the right to drink heavily, hide in the bathroom, eat all the chocolate, and buy all the things. The messages are all different, of course. But they all have one singular aim, to get us all to weep and wail about our sad plot in life—to laugh and then cry over the fact that we are mothers.
Ten years ago when social media was the new hot thing, a lot of moms, myself included, fell into the comparison trap. We felt that we had to do more and be more—that we were never enough. The curated highlight reels of everyone else’s lives had us all striving for perfection. But then one day, when we realized that this pervasive perfection was not actually possible, we let the pendulum swing in the opposite direction, landing us in a very failure-centric place. Moanful mothering became a cultural epidemic that continues to rob society of the joy God intended motherhood to be.
We want to blame our kids for the life that we’re not living—for the time they take away from our plans, the sleep they deny us, the noise and mess they bring to our days, and on and on. We’d obviously never say any of this out loud, especially not in front of them. No, we’re too well-mannered for that. But we’d gladly plaster these harsh, albeit funny, criticisms all over social media.
But before you re-share any of that sarcastic drivel on Facebook or Instagram, Mama, think about this for a moment. Would you want to go online and see the exact same meme posted about you? Would you want your friend, co-worker, or mom to tell the world that they have to drink a whole bottle of booze at the end of the day just to survive your relationship? That they can’t wait for the school year to start again so that you’ll finally be someone else’s problem? If the answer to either of these is NO, remember the words of Matthew 7:12 and be drawn toward kindness. Treat others how you want to be treated, even your children. Admittedly, your kids might not have any social media accounts today, but they probably will someday. Start developing the habit of praising in public now so that one day when your children become your online “friends,” it will be second-nature for you to affirm them there with your life-giving words.
Motherhood is hard. That’s true. Somedays, parenting might even leave you limp, but children are not problems or sand in the gears, they are gifts—even yours. Especially yours. Yes, you’ll have bad days because your kids are imperfect. But, then again, so are you. So am I. Will they do anything today, next week, next month that will grate on your nerves or send you into another room to count to ten in order to regain your composure? Probably. But here’s the thing: the daily struggles of motherhood are holy ground. The hard things are often what God will use to make us all more like Him. Sanctification almost always happens when we have to lean hard on God. It’s so easy for our moanful-motherhood culture to say that home is where our children become more patient, more kind, more fill-in-the-blank. But it’s also where we, mamas, become MORE too.
If we all start changing the narrative and start casting a vision for success in our kids and speak words of life and love over them both on and off the screen, maybe we can help change the trajectory of the whole world. Maybe we can launch adults out into it who have learned to love by our example.
Jamie Erickson is the daughter of the King, wife to “Mr. Right,” and the mother to five blissfully abnormal kids. When she’s not curating memories, hoarding vintage books, or playing ringmaster to a circus of her own making, she can be found encouraging and equipping a growing tribe of mothers all across the globe on the Mom to Mom podcast, through her blog The Unlikely Homeschool, at national conferences, and in her book Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child With Confidence.In addition to writing and speaking, Jamie loves talking faith and family over a cup of Starbuck’s finest, collecting calories around a table full of friends, and taking grueling hikes with her formerly homeschooled husband, Dain (because alas, calories don’t display very nicely on a shelf like other collections).