These days, we must be “all the moms.”
Each of us are to be The Fun Mom, The Organized Mom, The Pinterest Mom, The Soccer Mom, The Disciplined Mom, The Homeschooling Mom (or the Public or Private School Mom), The Blogging Mom, The World-Changing Mom, The Missional Mom, The Organic Mom, and The Volunteering Mom.
Never, of course, The Tired Mom, The Say-No Mom, The I-Don’t-Know-What-I’m-Doing Mom, The Sit-Down-On-The-Couch Mom, The No-Patience Mom, or The Needy Mom. We simply are to be great and glorious at all times, navigating motherhood with skill, energy, and enthusiasm.
Otherwise, we become the dreaded Bad Mom.
At least this is what we tell ourselves, there inside our heads where irrationality can disguise itself as rationality and truth. And gospel.
What does it even mean anymore to be a good Christian mother?
We’ve made it out to be an acrobatic exercise in self-effort, a performance to elicit evaluation, a frantic flying around hoping we’ll stick the landing, wherever that landing might be.
The result is what is really going on inside our heads: an acute awareness of all our failures, a gnawing and ever-present feeling that we’re not good enough, especially when we cannot imitate what we imagine other moms to be.
What does it mean to be a good Christian mother?
What if we took that question to God? What might He say?
We want details, specifics, formulas, but often Scripture makes us take a step back and grasp the big picture: God’s own character and abilities.
“I AM” is what He said to Moses. Moses, who had the same volley of thoughts in his head that we do, reminding him of his not-good-enough, speech and leadership abilities in his case.
But just as God undergirded Moses’ calling, He undergirds our calling as mothers. I AM pushes away the not-good-enough: “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Exodus 4:11).
I AM said He would do it, and He said it would do it uniquely through the individual, Moses.
But what about the daily work of parenting? We still want the details, the specifics, the formula.
Later, when God freed the Israelites and He spoke His commands to the people through Moses, He said, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house” (Deuteronomy 6:7). This is as specific as it gets.
But to have more would only feed our self-effort in parenting. Which explains the lure of trying to be All the Moms. Being all the moms closes all the gaps, all the questions, all the fears. Nothing is outside of our reach, therefore everything is under our control.
Trying to be all the moms makes us feel better, until it doesn’t, and then we vow to do more and try harder.
What if, instead, we put I AM as the foundation and focus of our work in parenting? What if we believed that He still is capable of bringing His will to fruition, in this case His will for our children? What if we were at peace with ourselves that we are but one mom--not all of them--and that God will use our unique abilities and strengths and even our weaknesses to teach the children He’s uniquely gifted us with?
This is what it means to live by faith and not by self-effort. This is what it means to trust God.
I AM, not All the Moms.
Christine Hoover is the author of From Good to Grace and The Church Planting Wife. She has contributed to the Desiring God blog, Incourage, and Christianity Today, and encourages women to live and lead from grace on her blog, GraceCoversMe.com. Christine and her husband Kyle, a church planter, have three boys.