I sat there, while you talked about navigating life with your little people, feeling like I’d already had this conversation with someone. Probably lots of someones.
I kept nodding my head, because I understand the way you feel. Your words reminded me of myself a few years back. Motherhood is hard stuff, and you were looking for answers.
You hinted that your solution was to stay up later. To get more things done. To gather pretty pins and make more lists. To just follow through with the lists you already have.
But I don’t think the answer is waiting for you on Pinterest, at the house next door, or in those glossy stacks of magazines in your living room. I don’t think the answer looks like you doing more.
We are all sold this lie, that if we try a little harder, if we work a little more, we’ll get there. Where? The place where life—motherhood—looks a lot more fun and glamorous and just right. The place where motherhood looks the way we hoped it would look.
We are sold on high expectations and a false definition of being a good mom.
For a long time, I said I was just trying to be a good mom. Just doing the usual things, you know, things everyone was doing. Just keeping up with all I needed to do.
But later I realized the truth. I wanted to do it all. I wanted to be really good at this, at all the pieces and parts of it. Don’t we all want that? For our kids, our family, for God?
Of course, there are other reasons also–we want to keep up with our friends.
So as a Mom, for many years, I lived under an impossible list of expectations, both my own and other people’s ideals. Instead of collecting figurines or seashells, I collected so many expectations on my shelves.
If I could just try a little harder, get more organized, pray more, and figure things out, maybe then I’d be the Mom I always wanted to be.
I usually attacked it in that order, focusing on organization. I usually tried to fix things on my own and asked God for whatever He could do to help.
But friend, who thinks she should try harder, let me tell you what’s different now.
One overwhelming year, I accepted a challenge to read through the Bible with a group of friends. In the thick of those long days, I realized something. I was ruining motherhood, by trying so hard. And somehow half the Bible spoke directly into motherhood.
That year, Jesus offered me freedom from the slavery of striving. He invited me to come to Him for true rest. He encouraged me to take my load from Him–not from what others around me were doing. He showed me how that list of expectations had become an idol I was clinging to.
It’s not like He zapped my life, and everything changed all at once. Or that I’m completely over expectations. But He began a good work in me as a Mom, when I became desperate enough to hear Him.
Days of chronic overwhelm have turned into overwhelming gifts. And when I start to feel like I need to strive to keep up again, I try to take a step back and think about what’s behind my striving.
What about you? Do you often feel like you should do more, and try harder?