3 Sneaky Idols Destroying Motherhood Today

Sophia Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published Feb 02, 2024
3 Sneaky Idols Destroying Motherhood Today

To topple the modern idols threatening motherhood, we must restore Jesus to His proper place. We need to challenge the modern notion that following certain images, ideas, or trends is more important than following Christ.  

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As I start this article, let me be honest and upfront: I am not a mother. Numerous other women are more qualified to speak about the state of motherhood today. However, I have a mother, whom I love dearly, who is presently in heaven with the Lord.  

As a child, I assumed my mother was perfect. I believed she had all the answers and could solve any problem life threw at her. However, as I became a teenager and saw my mother suffer from heart failure, I began to understand that she is human – just like me. She struggled with common human fears, sorrows, and questions.  

Like other mothers, she was not perfect. She had her flaws and failures but cared deeply for my family. Through her sacrificial act of providing for my family, I saw glimpses of Christ’s love.  

When I approach the topic of modern idols threatening to destroy motherhood, I consider my mother’s example and what I have learned from Scripture. We need to remember that the moms we hold in such high esteem are flesh and blood people like us. All mothers are imperfect and need God’s grace and strength as much as anyone else.  

To topple the modern idols threatening motherhood, we must restore Jesus to His proper place. We need to challenge the modern notion that following certain images, ideas, or trends is more important than following Christ.  

1. The “Perfect Mother” Idol 

For many women, becoming a mother is their dream and perceived life purpose. They start reading parenting books from an early age and begin forming an image of a perfect mother. This image might look like their mother or a famous Christian mother in history.  

The internet has helped spread this idea of an idealized mother image. Various Christian websites stress the importance of Christian women marrying, having children, and raising godly offspring. Entire ministries exist to prepare teenagers and young women for marriage and motherhood.  

Although there is nothing wrong with a young woman wanting to be a mother and preparing for the task of raising children, the obsession with this role in life can and often does, become unhealthy. When we set motherhood on a lofty pedestal, the role (which is biblical and needed) quickly warps and becomes a golden calf. Instead of seeking to be a faithful follower of Christ, many Christian women focus on becoming perfect wives and mothers.     

This focus on being perfect harms believers who want to raise their children to love and follow Jesus. Perfection is an impossible goal, for only God is perfect. Instead of focusing on being an ideal mother, a woman should focus on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:2).  

Mothers will have a more biblical impact on their children by being honest about their shortcomings and failures. Acknowledging when they make mistakes shows the need to rely on Christ, not themselves. By living authentically instead of chasing perfection, they will better model what it looks like to live as a Christ follower, aware of the need for His love and grace.  

2. The “Social Media” Idol 

Another sneaky idol that is slowly destroying motherhood today is social media. Numerous women seek to create a picture-worthy life filled with reels of cheery highlights. Unlike the days before social media, when parents would snap photos of key events to carefully store in a bound album, a family’s life is regularly on display for the world to see. With this visibility comes pressure to perform and keep up appearances.   

There is also the temptation to compare and become jealous. Another woman’s family seems more manageable, or her kids behave better. To try to measure up to others, a mother might tirelessly portray a specific image to the world.  

 Her life, worth, and focus become interwoven with a screen. A social media presence is her idol.  

This idol is sneaky because most of us participate in social media. Posting pictures of family or children is not wrong. Still, social media can become an idol if a mother solely focuses on achieving a certain aesthetic or image. An effective way to check if social media is taking the center throne in your life is to consider whether you must post about your child/children or family for validation and to feel important.  

To remove this idol from its lofty position, you would need to fast from all social media accounts. Spend more time in prayer or reading the Bible instead of scrolling in the morning. Take the kids to a park or make a craft with them instead of resisting the urge to pose for a social media post. Sometimes, you might need to remove yourself from any social apps permanently.    

People in this technological age would benefit from closing their laptops and turning off their phones. Mothers are no different, especially if their social media presence is idolized. We all must examine ourselves and ensure we make Jesus the top priority in life. Spending time with Him and others is far more important and meaningful than the edited virtual lives people build online.  

3. The “Expectation of Others” Idol 

A young mother could devotedly follow her preconceived ideas of what she thinks it means to be a “perfect” mom or obsess over the images she seeks to emulate online. However, there is also another idol that can keep her distracted from serving the Lord wholeheartedly in motherhood. This sneaky idol is the expectation of others.    

During the early years of motherhood, it is only natural for a woman to seek advice from other moms, including her mother and mother-in-law. These women can serve as an encouraging support system for the fledgling mom. Much of their advice will likely be joyfully received.  

Sometimes, a family or friend group can hold a woman to unrealistic expectations. These expectations can then become an idol in the young mother’s life. She must do everything her mother or friend did or feel inferior. For example, a woman might meticulously follow her parents’ expectations about education for her children or a friend’s methodology regarding discipline. Biblical teaching takes second place in the standards of others. 

Although a mother should seek to honor her parents and consider the counsel of others, she should listen to the Lord above anyone else. After all, He is the One to whom she will give an account in the future (Romans 14:12).  

At the judgment seat, every believer will be held accountable to Christ for what they did, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). The question for a mother who is allowing the expectations of others to become an idol in her life: Who are you seeking to please, others or the Lord? Since following Christ is vital in the Christian life, a mother should seek to please Him, even if that means there is a possibility of disappointing others.  

As Paul reminded the believers in Colossae, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV). To break the golden calf of expectations, you need to reorient your perspective.  

Mothers should do their work to serve and please Jesus, not to meet the approval of others.  

Why Does This Matter? 

Mothers have significant jobs that involve loving and raising children, modeling what it looks like to be a follower of Christ, and training kids in biblical truth. Because of the importance of their jobs, they need to be watchful for sneaky idols that can distract them from their purpose of serving the Lord. He should be the One they focus on and follow, not perfection, a social media persona, or the expectations of others.  

Photo Credit:  ©Getty Images/Drazen Zigic

Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening. 

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