When it comes to being a perfect mother, don’t you feel like we all have these lists in our heads of what that would entail?
And the list is likely pretty long and detailed!
I think that’s because what’s held up as the “ideal” within the Christian world is always that which is at the extreme–and very legalistic. What which has the most bullet points, in other words.
Those who are “holiest” are those who have the strictest interpretation of things. And somehow then it becomes incumbent on other Christians to never present an alternative view.
I’ve talked about this in the past with regards to dating. My mom was a teenager in the 1950s and 1960s when it was NORMAL to date a whole bunch of people–even in her very conservative Mennonite town. The thought of saving kissing until the wedding wasn’t even really talked about.
Today the most “Christian” thing is not to date–but to court. And not to kiss until the wedding. To emulate the Duggars (though they were not the first to do this).
I am absolutely NOT saying that there is anything wrong with this model. I know so many who have followed it and are in wonderful marriages. I do believe, though, that it is entirely up to you–it’s between you and God. I don’t think that it makes you more of a Christian to save your kiss to your wedding–though I do believe that some couples really benefit from this. I also believe some couples benefit by NOT saving it.
But here’s what happens: once this idea enters the consciousness, then people stop talking about any other model of dating because they don’t want to seem less Christian. So all of a sudden it seems like EVERYBODY is courting/saving kissing, and then it’s easy to feel inferior.
In truth, a very small minority does.
We see this in other areas as well. A good Christian watches absolutely no media unless it’s Christian media. A good Christian doesn’t listen to the radio. A good mom doesn’t go on Facebook during the day. A good mom doesn’t let her kids eat Kraft Dinner. Ever. A good mom doesn’t use birth control. And so on. And so on.
And blogs start talking about these things, and then writers are afraid to be real and Instagram their true pictures of “what I fed my kids for breakfast” (which in my case, all too often involved chocolate cake. They saw me eating it, after all; it only seemed fair to share).
I’ve written about how marriage advice all seemed kind of trite because we’re afraid of saying real stuff.
What if you’re allowed to be you?
What if you don’t have to live up to some rules and follow some pattern of parenting to the letter? What if you’re allowed to make your own way?
Wouldn’t that be FREEDOM?
I want to tell you today about the Steady Mom’s Freedom Guide. It’s part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sale that’s one right now (you get $3648 worth of ebooks, ecourses, printables, videos, and audios for just 29.97. But only until Monday at midnight! I’ve been having so much fun going through the resources, and I after reading this I thought some of you needed to hear it today.
Sometimes when we hear about homemaking advice, we think it’s all going to be of the don’t-ever-feed-your-kids-crap-get-perfectly-organized-so-you’re-absolutely-perfect variety. And, of course, the author’s version of perfect is stifling.
What if you’re not like that?
Jamie Martin gets that. Jamie admits that she lets her kids watch a bit of TV. She doesn’t focus on discipline–she tries to distract her kids and interact with them first, to avert the need to discipline in the first place. She sometimes doesn’t get the housework done, and she doesn’t get through her to-do list.
She concludes like this:
Maybe children aren’t meant to be solved like mathematical equations. Maybe, just maybe, the life of a human being, the life of a family, can’t be encapsulated in a bullet-point list of how-to’s.
And that’s why I’m done.
Done with theories, formulas, and labels. Utterly, completely, lavishly dependent on grace.
Labels hurt us and our children, even if never spoken aloud. We limit their future, their genius by projecting limiting thoughts and ideas over them.
I’m giving up all of it. It adds nothing to our family, but takes plenty away.
Today and forever, I paste these labels over me and my family, over you and yours:
I think that’s beautiful!
And I want to assure you that THIS freedom is what I want for you in your home–with homemaking, with parenting, with marriage.
It isn’t about living up to someone else’s ideal (even MINE! 🙂 ). It’s about figuring out who you are, and who your husband is, and who God made your kids to be, and listening to advice, and then tailoring it to meet your own family. You don’t have to look like anyone else. There is no “one way” to be a perfect Christian mom. There are thousands. Millions. And they all involve just listening to God.
Take just one example. I’m a big believer that kids should not sleep in their parents’ beds. You will never have as good a sex life with your kids in bed with you as you would without your kids there, even if you get creative. And since sex is so key to keeping a marriage together, and since it’s such a challenge when the kids are little, I think teaching the kids to sleep on their own is a great service to them and to the parents.
I absolutely believe this.
But you know what? You don’t have to do what I say. I hope you listen to my reasons and think about it and pray about it. But it is YOUR family. And you and your husband have the right to make that decision together. I am not God to you.
And that’s how so much advice is set up: like there is one perfect way to be a Proverbs 31 woman.
The only non-negotiables are that we seek God’s will, and that when we parent, we do so to help them seek His will, too, rather than trying to control them. In everything, God’s voice and God’s will is supreme.
And we are all so different; there will be different things that God calls us to. I’ve never been a very good homemaker. I’ve never had the muffins baking whenever friends just drop by. I’ve never had a perfectly decorated living room. But my girls and their friends remember my house as being one where everyone just TALKS and is valued and listened to.
At the same time, I have stayed at people’s houses who do have the muffins, and it is lovely.
So if you need some encouragement this weekend, check out the Steady Mom’s Freedom Guide. It’s part of The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle–that and 128 OTHER resources. And what I so appreciate is that so many of the resources show you systems that you can use to organize your life and get more productive, but they offer a variety of systems so that you can choose what works best for you–whether it’s cleaning, time management, budgeting, goal setting, work at home, whatever. Even faith! I’ve so enjoyed Arabah Joy’s Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days, and the Write Through the Word challenge from Jennifer Thorson. But for you the gems may be something else.
It’s not about finding the one perfect way. It’s about finding the way that works for you and your family.
Check out the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle here, because it’s all gone Monday at midnight!
And remember this: You are the mom your children need.
Do you ever feel stifled because you can’t be the perfect mom you want to be? How do we get over that?