I think we all have that mom in our life who we look at and ask ourselves how she does it. How are her kids always so clean, so well behaved, so happy? How does she always look so good and have something amazingly gracious to say? We all have that mom in our lives who we look at and are amazed, and then we look at ourselves and see inadequacy. We look and only see what we lack. Or sometimes it’s not even what we lack, but what we think we are supposed to look like. We look and compare.
Over the years, I have battled with inadequacy in every area of my life, and motherhood is no different. Well, it’s a little different. It seems to be a battle of inadequacy that can only be won for a moment because my kids really just aren’t as perfect as some other people’s kids. And I am not as perfect as so many other moms are. I hold victory for a few hours and then somehow the house turns into a chaotic screaming, crying, whining, crayon on the wall, toothpaste in hair, smashed cheerios streaming down the hall, insane asylum. There are days when I look around and think that God has given me crazy people to try and civilize. And then I immediatley think of the mom who’s house must never look or sound like mine, and that something must be wrong with us.
A few months ago I was out shopping with my kids and my 3 year old started whining. You know that high pitched tone that makes you want to pinch them just so they know what that sound physically feels like to you? Well, since I would never pinch her, I clenched my teeth and kept pushing the cart. She didn’t stop. I can’t remember what she wanted, but I remember her tone. I remember telling her to stop, and then I remember her dead dropping to the floor, face down. She became a planking statue. My two older children started laughing which fed my daughter’s tantrum who was now licking the floor. This laughter then prompted the twins to think that they needed out of the cart because this just must be the fun and cool thing to do. So they both started whining and pushing each other trying to get out. Now, being the seasoned mother that I am who never takes anything personally that my children do, I graciously calmed everyone down and continued my shopping and all ended well… ah that would be a nice story huh? No. The only thing stopping me from leaving was the fact that we were out of coffee and I would not go the next morning without coffee. I got my 3 year old in a football hold and walked with nothing but vengeance and justice in my heart for these kids.
As I was walking out, supermom (of course) appeared. She was, as always, put together pushing her clean, well matching lovely tempered child and was there to grocery shop for the next 16 weeks because her meal planning was so organized and well-budgeted (or that was the case I had made in my mind). There was no way of not having to pass her. I was not happy with God. So we passed each other, said hello and that was it. I had three screaming children and wanted to hide. When we got home, we came home to a mess. Not an abnormal mess, but a mess that I hadn’t noticed before we left. I noticed how much dust was on the fan, how many handprints were on the wall, how my kids bedspreads don’t match, and I am not even going to talk about the inside of the bathtub. I looked around and saw failure all around me. Failure that I am sure supermom never deals with.
I was so disheartened. I asked God why He gave me so many kids to raise when I can’t even manage the little house we have? Why would He give me so many kids to teach when I can’t get a full day of homeschool in…ever? Why give me such precious things when I am so ill equipped? Why didn’t you make me a supermom? “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 6:10). As I tried to still my thoughts, I got a text. It was from supermom. The text said, “I can’t believe you can take all of your kids out shopping with you. I have never brought all of my kids because it would be too hard and you have more than me. I don’t know how you do it. You are supermom.”
How could she call me this when we left in such disarray? Even though I was confused, it felt a little good to be called this. A part of my heart liked the way this word puffed up my heart. Supermom. I felt like maybe I wasn’t such a failure after all. Maybe I did have something to offer. As these thoughts went through my mind, I heard the Lord say, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7) Receive? Receive what? A messy house, too many kids, the gift of looking foolish everyday? Please, God, show me what I am boasting about. (And yes, I know that is not the most mature way to speak to God. I am learning. Thankfully He is a very patient and gracious Father.) “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17). In that moment He gave me understanding…
I was boasting in supermom. This word, this idea, this woman who I have given this name to. I was acting as if she, herself, carried a power that I didn’t have. As if she was more than me apart from God. The Lord showed me that this word supermom needed to die to my flesh. This word was stealing God’s glory. This word was pushing me down, instead of lifting me up. The Lord revealed to me that this term supermom should not exist in my vocabulary. I know, it sounds so silly. It’s just a word. But words are powerful. They hold the power of death and life (Proverbs 18:21). Jesus tells us that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matthew 15:18). This word was defiling my heart and my mind. This word is death to the soul that yearns to grow in Christ because it is a word that represents accomplishment, rather than obedience. I was boasting in other moms for what they did, which made me feel inadequate. I needed a new viewpoint.
This woman who I admired was simply receiving the fruit of her obedience. I was drawn to her because she was strong where I lack. A part of me desired a slightly cleaner house and a better meal planning system because the Lord had been showing me small truths about myself in these areas. This mom had something to teach me, even just in passing. I became motivated instead of deflated by thinking this way. This mom was obedient, not supermom. I had let myself see the flesh, which saw perfect children and a perfect mom who I could never be. And honestly, I didn’t really care about half of the things I felt when I viewed her as supermom. I don’t care so much if my kids get dirty while they play or if their outfits are in style- that’s just part of who God has made me, and how He made her. Those are just small differences in personality. There was freedom in boasting in the Lord, and not in supermom. I was able to make small changes in obedience, where before I was just stuck in my mental “neverland.” I used to think that I could never be like her. I could never look so cute, be so organized or be so sweet. My kids could never be that quiet or manageable. We could never be this or that. Never is the opposite of obedience. Never, will steal the fruit we are desiring.
Ladies, this month your challenge is: Boast in the Lord. Who is your supermom? Who do you look at and tell yourself you should be more like, look more like, act more like? Who’s kids are you comparing yours to? Allow yourself to break the term “supermom” away from her. Erase this word from your heart and vocabulary. As you break away from the supermom mentality, ask God for discernment. What is it about this woman you are drawn to? Are you just comparing in flesh or drawn to an obedience she is walking faithfully in that the Lord has been stirring in you? Find your freedom in boasting in the Lord, so your spirit may be free to walk in obedience. Growth can only happen where there is freedom. Begin to allow Christ to bring you the freedom that the enemy has been trying to steal from you with words filled with lies and death. You were made to live abundantly, not strive for an idea of perfection.
Please join me this month in walking in freedom and obedience. I know we desire more, that’s why we are always looking at the mom next to us. But let us be women who’s more is God’s more. Let us be women who listen for what God desires along the path He has given each of us individually. Learn from other moms who you are drawn to by their faithfulness, instead of feeling inadequate. Find your seeds of obedience so that God may grow your journey. Supermom is shallow soil. Don’t be like me and let yourself believe that God is only capable in someone else because they have something in them apart from God. Apart from God, we are all nothing. Believe God is who He says He is. Believe that we are all made in His image, designed to walk in His power and glory. Believe that small growth is the beginning of the harvest. Let us not teach our children to compare and boast in any man’s accomplishment. Let us raise a generation who boasts in the Lord and walks boldly in obedience. May we be mothers who teach our children well by the wholeness we have received.