I am a sensitive person. Whether its me taking offense to something totally not meant as offensive or my heart hurting over some expectation I’ve placed on myself, I tend to take things deeply. I am also a perfectionist, so words can mean a lot in my little world and can affect my behavior very greatly. When someone says something encouraging and loving to me, it has a profound effect. Like that one time my husband told me I was a big deal…that was a big deal.
But I have noticed a trend in my heart lately. In this Pinterest-age where there are a plethora of recipes, crafts, DIYs, and more at our fingertips, we have more information than ever. And I think it is wonderful that I have a million recipes at my disposal and that it is now easier than ever to eat a gluten-free (or any other allergen for that matter!) diet and have easy meals to make my family. I think it is amazing that if my child is bored, I can search Pinterest for craft ideas. I think it is awesome that my DIY chalkboard painting your fridge post has racked up over 23,000 views and has grown my blog traffic by about 3 times my original traffic before the post. That’s amazing, folks. I think its awesome that women can make great communities out of their blogs by being a Pinterest sensation with recipes, DIYs, etc. I have a friend whose blog blew up because people started pinning her recipes. And you know what? Her recipes are BOMB.
I find myself sharing a lot with the availability of all these networks. Sharing when my child does this or that or taking Instagram pictures and sharing my day, activities, hair, clothes, kids, etc. I have contemplated deleting my Facebook account simply because its so time consuming. Its addicting. Scrolling through the amazing shots on Instagram is addicting. Yet, I believe that Facebook is good. I think Instagram is good. I can keep up with friends that are hundreds of miles away by the click of a button. I can share in the joy of baby births, new homes, goals reached, all through an app on my phone. And I believe that it is all good.
But here is where my struggle begins. Scrolling innocently through Facebook or Instagram and I see one of those entertaining but also annoying E-Cards that says something along the lines of: “I give up all the selfish things that I want so I can give my child what they deserve,” or some other put-down to other mothers that attack their lifestyles. I’ve seen women bashing women who have beautiful homes, Pinterest-worthy dinner times, well behaved children, women who go out regularly without their kids (gasp!), women who occasionally slip up, women who struggle, women who are sometimes selfish….and it hurts. The pain runs the spectrum and includes the “Pinterest-perfect” moms and the moms who everyone seem to think are worthy of slandering.
The message that the “I give up all the selfish things” post sent me was that if I ever did anything for myself, I was selfish. That if I ever admitted defeat, I was a complainer. That if I had a clean home, something was wrong or if I mentioned having a dirty home, someone else had it worse. And there is this never-ending comparison war that you don’t even have to willfully participate in to be hurt by. I get caught in it easily too. Its hard not to compare yourself to someone who you think has it easier, better, or cheer-ier (word??).
But I want to encourage you in this, mamas. You are enough. You are a good mother. And just because you don’t have a Pinterest-worthy dinner, craft, or DIY idea doesn’t make you less of a woman. You are enough. And if you DO have a Pinterest-worthy dinner, craft, or DIY, praise God for your creativity! If you are a mom who doesn’t ever have a smiling picture in your Instagram account because you are in a hard season of life, I pray for comfort in your heart right now. Its okay if your kids aren’t potato stamping a card for their grandmother. And if you’re the mom with the joyful, toothy smiles filling your phone camera, praise the Lord for that blessing! Its okay to document this joyful and innocent time of life!
I guess I am writing this to say that we are all in different seasons. And I am just acknowledging that those E-Cards meant to make yourself feel better by berating another woman for her life choices are just plain stupid. I think I am learning to have grace for myself more because of the hard seasons I have been through this past year, and I am seeing more that the women around me need it too. Not just the mamas with teething babies who are up all night, but the moms who make the choice to leave their child at home while they go party their little years away. We all need grace. And in this age where the bar is being raised higher and higher, lets stop and take a look at Christ. There is no bar with him. We are all welcome. And all he requires of us is to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.**
Will you offer yourself some grace today?