There seem to be two types of mothers. I am about to generalize here, so bear with me.
The first type of mother LOVES motherhood. After seeing her Facebook or having a conversation with her, you come away realizing her kids are always happy, her house is always clean, her husband delights in her as a wife and a Mom, and her heart is constantly overflowing with love and joy and peace. The sun is always shining, the rainbow is always overhead. Her Facebook is loaded with pictures of smiling children, calm outings, and beautiful family adventures. When someone talks about a difficult day they have as a mom, this first type of mom thinks fondly of her perfect children.
The second type of mother does NOT like motherhood. After seeing her Facebook or having a conversation with her, you may come away realizing her kids are always crying and giving her attitude, she is always exhausted, her house is a wreck, her husband never helps, she’s tired of picking up toys, and her baby has colic. Her Facebook is loaded with her venting about her difficult days or terrible nights of sleep. When someone talks about looking forward to being a Mom or the good day they had, this type of mom will shake her head and say, “You just wait.”
Obviously I added dramatic effect, but I bet almost all of us can think of a mom or two in each of those camps.
To be honest, I understand both sides. There are some Moms who have beautiful, rosy days of motherhood. There are some children who tend to be angelic. But even those Moms have bad days. No child is perfect. No Mom is perfect.
How do you balance the two?
I still ponder that question. I think that it is so important to be real and authentic. Pretending that everything is rainbows and butterflies does no good. It does nothing to prepare new mothers for reality. Sometimes it even sets up new Moms to feel as if they can’t admit their struggles. It does nothing for building the community of Christ. It does nothing to develop realness and authenticity of living. Being constantly down also does no good. It does nothing to prepare new mothers for the excitement. It doesn’t encourage or build up anyone. It can drive wedges between people. It can make people dislike or even dread being around you.
Balance is important. As a new Mom myself, I have so appreciated the people who are real. The people who are transparent. The people who say, “Hey, today was really rough because my son was screaming for 3 hours straight.” But then in their very next Facebook status they post a Mom and baby selfie, both smiling, along with the caption, “My heart is so full ❤ <3”
Real life motherhood has ups and downs. When you embrace both and are unafraid to be vulnerable, great things can happen. I strongly believe that it is often in those times of vulnerability and authenticity that God does great things. Other Moms will be encouraged. Perhaps God will prompt someone to come to you for advice, counsel, or prayers. Maybe an older Mom will come to you and say, “Hey, I’ve been there. Have you thought about trying this?” or even just, “I am praying for you! You can do this and you are a great Mom!”
I am still figuring out how to balance these things. I know that I never want to gossip about my children or share their sins or disobedience. But I want to be real. I need help, encouragement, and advice. I want our kids to see that Mommy is human too. Even Mommy has rough days. It is beautiful when the body of Christ can come together in order to support and encourage.
And on the flip side….if you are a Mom, look for the opportunities to encourage other Moms. I’ll give you a tip: No Mom’s life is perfect. All kids can be pills and all Moms have bad days. If a Mom comes to you needing to talk or vent or share a story, please be encouraging. Saying, “welcome to motherhood” does nothing to build community or encourage. Many times it can drive those hurting Moms away. Reach out to other Moms, encourage them and let them know that they are doing an awesome job. Remind them of the calling God has brought to them and how He will give continual grace and strength.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….being a Mom has been the greatest and most difficult thing I have ever done. I love it. But it’s hard. Let’s nurture the body of Christ and do this Mom thing together!