Dear Tired Mom,
I think I know your secret—you probably feel guilty this time of year.
You are likely well aware—and possibly overly aware—of your mom faults, flaws, and failures. And Satan likes to make sure that you are often reminded, with accusation and condemnation, of all the ways you have fallen short. His plan is to keep you discouraged and dismayed. Since he first showed up to your mom, Eve, his plan has always been to try and get you and your sisters to try and be someone you can never be and do things you can never do, such as be always perfect, never weary, all-knowing, and everywhere present—like God.
Since you are probably worn out and just flat-out weary, you are even more susceptible to this. It’s no secret why Satan waited until Jesus was exhausted to show up with his temptation. When the kids are little, between the feedings, sickness, teething, and bodily fluids flying around like some sort of unsanitary water park—not to mention the blood-curdling, soul-rattling, sleep-ending kid nightmares—you’re lucky to get virtually any sleep and you’re sure to get weary physically. When the kids are bigger, they require so much help with homework and navigating friendships and the drama of school that you get weary emotionally. Then there’s the schedule juggling required to plan out activities, a task that usually results in adding part-time cab driver to your resume. Toss on that pile any health problems, a troubled marriage, extended family drama, and/or a job, and mom gives up hope of thriving in favor of surviving.
While the flowers, cards, and encouragement are nice for Mother’s Day, they can also have the curious reverse effect of making you feel unworthy and undeserving. The odds are you have in your mind some sort of Amazing Mom that is more of a mythical superhero than a realistic comparison to yourself. She’s usually a collection of bigger-than-life and better-than-reality snapshots. Grab a few out-of-context Bible verses, starting with Proverbs 31, about the perfect wife and mom who sews her own clothes with a smile on her face while simultaneously canning and memorizing Leviticus in Hebrew; add in the one mom on earth who gets up before the sun to hit the gym every day, along with the woman who is more organized than the Holy Spirit, her friend who runs a family budget with more precision than a Fortune 500 CFO, along with the mom whose kids always look like they just stepped off the set of a catalog photo shoot, and the mom whose spotless home lacks any forensic evidence that human beings or a pet have actually ever entered it; and top it off with a few additional guilty burdens picked up from women’s magazines and women’s books in the “You Don’t Measure Up, Sister” section at your local Christian store and pretty soon even in your resurrected perfected eternal state you’ll still fall short.
I could be off base. Despite my occasional weight gain, I’ve never been pregnant. After all, I’m no mom. But I pastor a lot of moms. And I love them. I see motherhood from the outside rather than the inside. And as I listen to Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, hardworking moms, I wonder if what they don’t need for Mother’s Day is a bit of grace.
Mom, you are probably doing a much better job than you think you are, even if your kid recently went to school wearing a swimsuit and cowboy boots with gum in their hair and part of a crayon in their ear carrying a lunch consisting of exactly four puddings and two Cokes. And, the other moms probably aren’t doing the amazing job you think they are. I know them, too. Trust me, they are not faring any better, even if they fake it better. Jesus loves your kids more than you do, and he’s sent the Holy Spirit to help you to be their mom and to help them be God’s kids. Be encouraged. Satan is a liar, and being a mom is not just a hard job, it’s an impossible job. God has grace for you, you have grace for your kids, you have grace for other moms, and you need to have some for yourself.
Happy Mother’s Day!