It’s 10:30 AM and not only are my kids parked on the couch in front of a full-length movie with a ginormous bowl of popcorn between them, but they also are wearing no pants.
And as I sit on the other couch drinking a cup of coffee with a Shutterfly screen open in front of me, I think to myself, “Sheesh! I’m the world’s worst mom!”
Sure, I’ve fed them breakfast and sure, I’ve taken them to the bathroom (a bazillion times already) and sure, I’ve semi-clothed them…but shouldn’t I be at a park exploring the great outdoors? Shouldn’t I be conducting a toddler science experiment, or reviewing sight words, or doing laundry, or making a grocery list, or something else that looks a little more engaged and productive than a bowl of popcorn, Pixar, and no pants?!?!
And as I sat and thought about these guilt-ridden thoughts that were bombarding the ship of my mind, I was convicted (again) by the ridiculous expectations I put on myself as a mother.
Since when does popcorn with no pants in front of a movie make me the “world’s worst mom?!?!?”
Since when does popcorn and no pants get lumped in a category where abuse and consistent neglect should be found?
That’s crap. Crappy crap. And I think we ALL (yes, I’m assuming that one, or twelve, or all of ya) need to stop whispering that lie out loud and inside our mama-heads because it’s just not true, or fair, or kind to our mama-selves.
And I believe that we do it WAY too much about WAY too many things that really don’t matter as much as we try to make them matter.
I lose my temper and yell, “You’re being such a BRAT!”…world’s worst mom!
I forget sunscreen and my kiddo gets a “no-joke-burn”…world’s worst mom!
I serve them mac-n-cheese with a side of MSG laden fruit snacks…world’s worst mom!
I skip out on swim lessons for the second summer in a row…world’s worst mom!
I let them stay up until 10:45 PM…world’s worst mom!
I feed them a meal without remembering to bow our heads…world’s worst mom!
forget choose not to take the time to brush their teeth…world’s worst mom!
I buy them Luna Bars at the beginning of a grocery trip to keep them quiet…world’s worst mom!
I pour soda/pop (or whatever the heck your part of the country calls it) straight into their sippies…world’s worst mom!
I turn off the monitor and let them scream it out…world’s worst mom!
I forget to send my kid with a long-sleeve undershirt to wear under his soccer jersey…world’s worst mom!
I choose not to enroll them in a “social-enhancement” program for the summer that costs an arm and a leg…world’s worst mom!
On and on it goes.
And not only do I think that this label is untrue, unfair, and unkind, I also believe that it does two other things that aren’t very healthy, helpful, and God-honoring.
1. It allows for an environment (when spoken out loud) where feelings of comparison and “less than” run rampant.
What do I mean?
I mean…you and I say, “Oh, gosh! I’m the world’s worst mom because I fed them mac-n-cheese three times this week instead of meal-planning fish tacos and swiss chard” and your mama-friend is sitting over there thinking, “Oh stink. That’s bad?!? I do that ALL the time. Mac-n-cheese IS our meal plan, and we hate food that swims, and what in the world is swiss chard and where in the world would you buy that?!?!”
“And if that makes you the ‘world’s worst mom,’ then does that make me the ‘world’s WORST, WORST mom’?”
And with that small, seemingly harmless phrase, we have now unintentionally whispered doubt into that other mama’s heart and mind. And when left unchecked, those kind of thoughts can breed a whole bunch of ugly, ugly stuff like bitterness, and jealousy, and comparison, and depression, etc.
2. It creates a space for us to find our identity in our “goodness,” our “abilities,” and in our “togetherness.”
And THAT is well…just NOT the Gospel.
Because our identity as believers (an identity that trumps being a mama…Praise Jesus!) isn’t based on us being “good enough” because we aren’t. And isn’t about “the good we do” because we don’t. And isn’t about our “togetherness” because we can’t.
Our “good enough” is based on HIS goodness and HIS grace.
Our “good we do” is based on HIS sacrifice and HIS sanctifying work.
Our “togetherness” is based on HIS promise and HIS person.
Simply put, without Christ…we aren’t, don’t, and can’t.
And if we believe that our lives and our identities have been hidden in Christ, then we can’t EVER be the “world’s worst ANYTHING!!!”
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth [including our abilities to be mamas]. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3