No one really tells you exactly how hard being a mom is. You hear about the joys of motherhood, the beauty of being pregnant, and the gift of childbirth. You can read countless books or have numerous conversations about pregnancy, how to handle baby’s first year, parenting advice, and more, but no book or friendly words of wisdom will ever fully prepare you for the lifelong commitment of motherhood.
Motherhood doesn’t sleep—it is a 24/7 commitment with no breaks and very little thanks. While it isn’t a job, it is an honor, a gift and a responsibility that lasts for a lifetime. Motherhood has seasons of giving, taking and expending and there are times when I find myself clinging to Matthew 11:28-30 and returning to it over and over again for spiritual refreshment. For me, the most challenging and busy time of the year begins when school commences and continues into the holiday season. It is when I discover my overcommitted schedule and endless obligations have created a very underwhelmed soul.
How do busy moms do it all so seamlessly?
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Choreograph
The Appearance of “Doing All the Things”
I’ve been a mom for almost ten years now and I have four children with my fifth due in late January. I feel like I am just starting to get the hang of things, but I know the season of parenting teenagers is just around the corner and I’ll have a whole other level of mothering to adjust and adapt to.
Still, it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve entered motherhood and it has not gotten any easier. It seems to me, from the outside looking in, that a lot of moms are slaying this motherhood gig and I’m over here just trying to keep up without losing my sanity in the process. The moms that are seen on social media, whether they be your friends, bloggers, influencers, strangers or celebrities, appear to be “doing it all” while “having” it all. You know what I’m talking about – fashionably dressed and perfectly posed children, a pristine and HGTV-worthy home that is brilliantly organized with a place for everything and everything in its place, and the mom featured still has time to make herself photo-ready while fresh-pressing green juice and hand-pureeing organic baby food without messing up her crisp, clean kitchen.
Seriously? Is this real life?
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The Beautiful and Messy Truth of Real-Life Motherhood
Of course not! But it is how social media, reality tv, and other media outlets portray life to be. The problem is – many of us believe it.
We believe the lie that moms are doing “all the things” and looking amazing while doing it. We believe the moms we see on Instagram hold the secret to slaying life and we want to know how we, too, can do it all and have it all, all while maintaining an appearance of filtered perfection.
But friend, do you want to know the secret behind how they really do “all the things”?
Lean in and I’ll tell you.
It’s true. They don’t do it all because doing it all is not possible. [Boom - Mic drop]
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Alexander Drummer
The Scene That Isn’t Seen
What we don’t consider, from the outside looking in, is what is happening behind the scenes. For example, maybe that mother had reached her breaking point just prior to posting the picture on social media or showing up to her mom’s group. Is it possible she needed a boost of encouragement so she chose to put on her brightest smile so that everything in her life would feel, even for a brief moment, to be better than it really is? Or perhaps the mom with the clean house and free time to volunteer at her children’s school is able to do so because she has help (in the form of a house cleaner, nanny, childcare, grandparent or other) that affords her the opportunity to participate in certain activities.
We do not know the insecurities that may be buried underneath the surface nor do we know the intentions behind how someone may portray themselves or their life. Whatever it may be, each individual has their own unique capacity and ability to handle what life throws their way. No one is as perfectly put together as they may appear, nor is anyone able to do or have “all of the things.” They’re lying if so, or they are lost and without direction (John 15:5).
Photo Credit: Getty Images/DGLimages
The Freedom of Grace-Based Living
God designed each human beyond compare so we should not attempt to compare our weaknesses against someone else’s strengths (2 Corinthians 10:12, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Galatians 1:10). We weren’t created to do everything or be everything to everyone. Quite simply, we are enough because Christ is enough.
We do ourselves a great disservice when we pretend to have “life” all figured out. Jealously, comparison, envy, and pride arise and try to overpower the gentle whispers of God’s grace. But those insecurities have no power over God’s sufficient and unending grace when we remember to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).
When we take a step back and remove the filters that hide the reality, we can “cease striving” (Psalm 46:10 NASB) and “surrender” our anxieties (Psalm 46:10 TPT). There is freedom when we let go of our expectations to do it all because we acknowledge doing it all is not possible. We were never meant to be enough of anything. If we were enough and had the capacity to do enough then Jesus’ sacrifice for us was pointless. Paul says it best in Galatians 2:20-21, “I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me. I don't turn my back on God's gift of undeserved grace. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images/fizkes
Celebrate Christmas by Trusting You Are Enough
Jesus freed us from trying to prove that we are enough (Romans 3:23-25) and he entered into the world to do what we could never do for ourselves (1 Timothy 1:15). So, this holiday season, slow down and don’t fall into the worldly trappings of trying to keep up and striving to do it all. If you do, you’ll find yourself in a holidaze rather than embracing the joy that comes with the holiday season.
The days are long, but the years are short. The season of life you are experiencing will be over before you know it.
Christen Fox is a blogger for https://seekinggraceandgratitude.com, an online ministry that encourages Christian women to live purposeful, unfiltered lives that embrace human imperfection within God's perfect design. Christen resides in Grand Rapids, MI with her husband and four (soon-to-be 5) children. When not “momming,” you can find Christen at a local fitness class, curled up with a book, hosting small groups and other events, cooking in her kitchen or wandering around her happy place – the farmers market.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/beavera
Originally published Wednesday, 13 November 2019.