Measuring Up: The "Perfect Mom" Does Note Exist
Originally Posted on Joy Comes in the Morning
Some days I stink as a mom and a wife. I am impatient with my kids, disrespectful to my husband and more often than not my house is a bit of a mess.
And guess what? I bet you feel that way sometimes, too.
And sometimes I compare myself to other moms, those women who seem to have it all together. Their homes are organized, their schedules adhered to, their clothes wrinkle free and not plucked from the bottom of a week-old pile of unfolded laundry.
I once met a mom who, no joke, told me she ironed her kids’ jeans. Say what? My iron weeps with joy when it is called up for service. I mean seriously, that’s what the steam-cycle on my dryer is for, am-I-right?
In a world dominated by Pinterest and ‘mommy blogs’ and DIY websites and how-many-miles-I-ran-before-breakfast Facebook posts a lot of us go to bed feeling like failures.
Maybe today we barely survived with Cheerios stuck to our bums and peanut butter in our hair. Maybe today our kids ate pizza for breakfast and wore their jammies until three. Maybe cleaning the house today consisted of shoving piles of schoolwork to the end of the dining room table so we could eat a meal. Maybe we got frazzled and snapped at the kids or the hubby and had to apologize, maybe more than once. Maybe we got a shower today-maybe.
We will never measure up to the idea of the “Great American Mom” who effortlessly skates through her day with a perfect plan, perfect kids, perfect hair, perfect abs, and the perfect marriage.
I repeat. We will NEVER measure up to that standard.
And I am here to tell you that it is okay. It’s a false standard. We have placed unrealistic expectations upon ourselves, and upon each other, that have nothing to do with the grace that God gives us.
You are not more righteous because your house is cleaner than mine. I am not more righteous because I homeschool or work at home instead of working outside the home. We are only made righteous through the covenant of blood through Jesus Christ. Our identity should revolve solely around our relationship with, and obedience to, the Messiah. Period.
Ladies, we need to stop comparing ourselves to a fictional “Perfect Mom”.
That woman with the perfect hair and the super-fit body? Maybe she cries at night because her husband is having an affair. That woman who looks so put together and wears designer clothes? Maybe she is hiding bruises under her Donna Karen blouse. That woman with her homeschool/classroom lessons planned out by August 1st? Maybe she is struggling with depression or anxiety or grief. That woman with the fabulous career? Maybe she is brokenhearted over infertility.
Everyone is hurting over something, everyone is struggling with sin. There is none of us that has it all together. None of us.
I am not saying that Pinterest is evil. I love Pinterest. I am not saying mommy blogs that encourage personal or spiritual growth are wrong; or even that celebrating accomplishments on social media is somehow malicious. All these things can inspire and encourage us.
But what I am saying is that we must put these things in their proper place and not beat ourselves up when we don’t measure up to the heavy burden that all these things combined can lay across our shoulders. We must give ourselves grace. And we must give others grace.
Perhaps at the heart of this tendency to compare ourselves to a worldly standard of perfection is a lack of gratefulness for who God made us to be. We are each unique, fashioned by the Creator’s own hands (Psalm 139). Each of us have different strengths and different weaknesses. And the Creator uses those distinct personalities and giftings, and even our failings, to glorify himself. And that is our purpose. To know him and glorify him. Nothing else.
If our eyes are focused on comparing ourselves with others, then our eyes are not available for focusing on Jesus. We must ask the Lord to instead open our eyes to how he sees us, because that is all that really matters.
Our only comparison should be to the life of Jesus. Are we daily becoming more like Jesus? Do we believe he is who he says he is? Are we laying our idols at his feet? Are we learning more about his character every day? Are we loving him with all our heart and mind and strength? Are we walking in obedience? Are we spending time in communion with him? Are we trusting his good and perfect will for our lives? Are we guiding our children to do these things?
Mom, Wife, Grandma, Sister, Daughter, Friend—Stop comparing yourself to other women.
You are the unique daughter of the King that he made you to be. Put aside that heavy yoke that the world, the flesh, and the Devil keeps weighing you down with, and instead put on the freedom that Christ offers (Matthew 11:30).
Following Jesus is not burdensome. Following Jesus brings joy and peace and contentment, even in the midst of trial and tribulation. His laws bring life and blessing. Let go of the pressure to be the “Great American Mom” and find your worth in only the Father’s love for you and the promises in his Word.
Worth found in anything other than our Savior is worthless.
So tell me: Have you felt pressure from social media, or from observing others around you, to be a “Perfect Mom”? Do you go to bed at night feeling as if you aren’t ‘enough’? Have you ever tried fasting from social media to combat these pressures?