Is anyone else a little tired of seeing those self-deprecating mom memes on Facebook? You know, the ones that make light of the fact that we’re devastatingly tired, our house is a mess, we haven’t showered in a week, we’re only doing an okay job of keeping our kids alive, and our husbands don’t recognize us anymore? It isn’t just contained to the internet: it’s become totally normal for us moms to verbally denigrate ourselves as well.
“My life is a mess. I’m so tired. I have dishes piled in the sink, 5 day old moldy laundry that I left in the washer, and a two year old who pretty much runs the household.”
“I feel you. I haven’t taken a shower in a week and my kids had pop tarts for the last 5 out of 6 meals. Motherhood is so hard!”
I hear this same basic conversation over and over again. I’ve had this same basic conversation over and over again. When one mom shares her failures, the tendency is for other moms to hop on the self-deprecating bandwagon, laying out all their dirty laundry for other moms to laugh at and commiserate with.
I presume the reason behind this is either a desire to make our friends feel better (give them a sense of we’re in this together!) or a desire to make ourselves feel better (whew! I’m not the only one drowning here!). But is it actually helpful? No.
The problem here is not that we are struggling (or even completely failing) in a particular area. We are all human and we are all imperfect. The problem is our complacency with it – the way we’ve decided to just accept things like stress, failure, and the feelings of being overwhelmed as permanent fixtures of motherhood. We’re so comfortable with these feelings that we can joke about them like it’s totally normal and fine to feel this way.
Motherhood is hard. So what. Life is hard. Complaining about it won’t get us anywhere. Laughing about the disorder in our lives won’t create order. Do people who work go around their office joking with all their coworkers about how much they suck at their job? No. No one does that because it’s entirely unhelpful and potentially destructive. And it’s the same for mothers: no one became a better mother by making light of what a mess her life is. I may find comfort in the fact that none of my friends have clean houses or obedient children, but being comfortable won’t help me climb out of whatever particular hole I’m in. Being comfortable isn’t going to improve anything.
If we truly want to improve – to be better moms, better wives, and better Christians, we need friends that actually acknowledge our problems and our need for change. We need friends that make us strive to be better. None of us are perfect, but our lives don’t have to be chaotic. They shouldn’t be chaotic. If there is an area of our life that feels out of control, we need to fix it, not accept it.
What if our role as friends was to actually encourage each other? What if instead of commiserating in failure, we motivated each other to improve – we compelled each other to be better?
Don’t tell me you’ve got a crusty 3 day old casserole dish on the counter too – help me figure out how and when I’m going to get a handle on the dish problem!
Let’s not sit back and laugh about the fact that many of us are drowning in motherhood – let’s FIX IT.
What a neat thing it is to be able to raise our children alongside other women – to have them there to encourage and motivate us. Are we squandering this gift with negativity and complacency? If all of us mothers made a conscious effort to turn off the self-deprecation and seek real solutions for the areas in which we struggle, wouldn’t we all be better off?
God has called us each to be mothers. How about we actually try to be good at it.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.