What makes us mothers? Are we mothers because we brought little humans into the world? Literally speaking, yes. What does it mean to actually mother our kids, though?
To mother, by definition, is to bring up a child with care and affection. Isn’t that what we all want for our children…that they feel loved and cared for?
Yet, for many of us, in this age of social media and comparisons, we’ve sort of made motherhood into some sort of competition or at the very least a large motherhood clique in which we judge our friends and strangers based on their parenting choices. Who wins at mommying?
I don’t know about you, but for me, being a mom is hard enough without all the comparing myself to others and dealing with mom shaming. You’ve been there; I have, too. I’d go so far as to say that all of us moms have not only been victims of mom shaming (directly or indirectly), but we’ve been the perpetrators at some point, too. For those of you who have been lucky enough to escape this phenomenon, let me clue you in. Mom shaming is making another mother feel guilty or inferior because her parenting choices aren’t the ones you think are best. Now, I’m not talking about actual abuse and neglect…if that’s what’s happening, please speak up. Shaming another mother for using disposable diapers instead of cloth diapers, however, is maddening. Why do we do this to each other? Why do we care so much what other people think?
As victims of mom shaming, we likely already feel like half of the time we have no idea what we are doing. As other mothers bash our way of parenting, we begin to internalize those words that seem to validate our insecurities that already exist. When I first became a mom almost seven years ago, I joined an online community of local moms on social media. My expectations were that I would be able to come to this group of women for encouragement and helpful advice and possibly even meet new mommy friends in the area. Sister, was I wrong!
When my first baby girl was born, I struggled so much with breastfeeding. Even with the help from nurses in the hospital, neither my daughter nor I could quite catch (or latch) on. At my daughter’s first weigh in at her pediatrician’s office, she had lost weight from last weigh in at the hospital. I felt like a complete failure as a mom and cried for days. Shortly after that appointment, I met with a lactation consultant to help resolve any issues. This did not help at all.
I was not producing enough milk to keep up with my daughter’s needs despite feeding and pumping appropriately. I even took a fenugreek supplement to aid in increasing my supply. Nothing helped. I turned to the mom group for advice. At this point I was supplementing my daughter’s feedings with formula. I made the mistake of mentioning this to the mom group. Long story short, I was “educated” on the whole breast is best issue; I was told I wasn’t trying hard enough to increase supply; I was criticized for doing such a forbidden thing as feeding my child formula rather than letting her starve. I felt even worse, and it affected my mothering in a negative way. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel mom-shamed in other areas even now. It’s an ongoing struggle.
Let’s remember why we are mothers. God chose us to be the mothers of our specific children. He trusts every one of us to raise His children. He knows that we each have the ability to love and care for our children. It’s not important what other mothers think of us. Isn’t it most important that our children have a loving, caring mother who lives to please the LORD? Do you want to know what God thinks of us mothers? He shows us in Proverbs 31 in the Bible:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29’Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ 30Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Yes! The LORD trusts us to be mothers to His precious children; let’s also remember that we mothers are His precious children as well. It’s important what God thinks of us, and He thinks we’re doing our best. Let’s tell other mothers how awesome of a job they are doing in this whole mom thing. The Bible instructs us to do just that in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 when it says “Encourage one another and build each other up, as just in fact you are doing.” If you’re doing the best you can day-to-day, then you’re doing a fantastic job, Momma! Being a mother certainly isn’t easy, but with God’s help and encouragement from each other, we will show our children an abundance of love and care; just as our Heavenly Father shows to us mothers. Let’s give ourselves and each other the grace God gives to each of us. We are all winning motherhood!
Dear Heavenly Father;
Thank you for allowing me to become a mother. Though I sometimes doubt in my abilities as a mom, you, oh LORD, remind me of my worth. Thank you for giving me strength and showing me how to love as you love. Please help me to remember that I live to please you alone and not other mothers. Please help me to show my children love and care every single day. Please also help me to remember to encourage other mothers and build them up. I love you, LORD.
In Jesus’s name I pray,Amen
Today’s Worship Song:
Hold my hand, I’ll teach you the Way to goA Mother’s Prayer by Keith and Kristyn Getty
Through the joys, through the tears
The journey of these years, He is with us till the end
He is faithful till the end
Ashley Barczak is a Christian, wife, mother, and blogger. She was born and raised in Shelbyville, Kentucky as an only child. Today, she resides in Bowling Green, Kentucky with her husband, Brian, and their daughters, Scarlett and Isla.
Ashley is a graduate of Transylvania University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and Phi Alpha Honor Society. Ashley is also a graduate of the University of Kentucky where she obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work. She is a former child, adolescent and family mental health therapist turned stay-at-home wife and mom. She is currently a blogger and runs the Faithful Mommy Facebook community.
In her free time, Ashley loves traveling with family, reading, journaling, catching up with friends, and relaxing with her husband.
After losing her dad to stomach cancer in 2018, Ashley wants to encourage others, especially other women, to rely on God and His promises through all of the tough times faced in this life. She wants everyone to see God’s work in the tough seasons.