By Kia Stephens, iBelieve.com
Pregnant women get advice on everything. Women bend over backwards to offer their two cents on daycares, baby food, and swaddling. In the midst of dishing out must-do’s for the mother-to-be, somehow, no one ever mentions what to do when you feel like an average mom. I honestly don’t see why not because the moment that little person crosses the utero threshold, the feelings of not measuring up begin.
Many of us set out with high hopes of becoming a super mom. After all, we’ve not only dreamt about this moment, we’ve read books, watched DVDs, and listened to podcast all in preparation for the day we would become a mom. And once those tiny humans get here, we overwork ourselves trying to reach unreachable mommydom standards. We find ourselves striving to be “that mom” who makes organic baby food, posts adorable milestone pics on Facebook, and trains our child to sleep through the night, use the potty, and read before they turn one. We attempt to plan Pinterest perfect parties, keep well kept homes and cars, raise perfect kids, create perfect meals, get our bodies back, put them in activities everyday of the week, work outside the home, run our own businesses, and lead a balanced life.
Yet, in the midst of all we do as mommies, so many of us simply end the day feeling average. We carry around a gnawing feeling that we don’t measure up, we didn’t do enough, and we’re failing at this thing called motherhood. I have felt this way more times than I’d like to admit and if you find yourself in a similar place, be encouraged!
Here are 10 reasons why you will always be so much more than an average mom.
1. God’s Standard Are Different From Our Standards
I successfully breastfed my first son for a full year, so I figured, “I got this” with the second one. I never will forget the day I realized this would not be the case. It was about 6 a.m. and I was making lunch for the family while pumping milk with a hands free pump. Things were going according to plan until I looked down and realized I only produced a fraction of the milk I needed and was going to have to supplement with formula.
I felt like a failure and beat myself up for it. God, however, was not standing over me with a pointed finger. He had not created that mommy benchmark - I did.
God is not, nor will He ever be, a performanced based God: constantly dishing out monthly, quarterly, and annual reviews. Scripture tells us that, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7. While I was condemning myself, God was looking at my heart’s desire to give my son a good start. He was pleased with my honest efforts, whether I achieved my goals or not.
If you feel like you don’t measure up, ask yourself: By whose standard are you judging yourself - yours or God’s?
2. Little Things Make a Big Impact
If we counted all the things we mothers do each day, the list would be lengthy: give morning and evening hugs, speak encouraging words, pack lunches, and wash laundry. Although this work sometimes feel tiny and insignificant, the gifts and services are piling up inside our children’s hearts. We are like gardeners sowing seeds inside our children’s hearts.
We may not see growth now, but we continue in faith, believing we will one day reap a harvest when our children become adults. This is not average work. The role we play is meaningful in the lives of our children and in the eyes of God.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,” Galatians 6:9.
3. A Mother’s Love is Not Average
There is something about a mother’s love that compels her to serve her children, even if she is completely spent and exhausted. Her love for her children will push her to do more. The Bible talks about this sacrificial love in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” When we demonstrate sacrificial love to our children, we are showing them a love that is not average. This love is exceptional.
4. Motherhood is Not About Perfection
Have you ever examined the mothers in the Bible? Eve, the mother of humanity, disobeyed God and ushered sin into the world. Sarah laughed in disbelief after learning she would have a son. Rebekah helped Jacob steal his birthright. Jochebed placed her son, Moses, in a basket along the banks of the Nile River.
God is a master at working in imperfect circumstances in order to bring about His perfect will. He does not require perfection in our mothering - only faithful and surrendered hearts.
If you find yourself in the middle of an imperfect circumstance, rest in knowing that God can use the imperfection in your life for His glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28.
5. You Are God’s Best For Your Children
Overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy, I buried my face in the shoulder of another mother and bawled like a baby. I was facing one of the greatest challenges of my motherhood journey. I felt defeated and convinced that I wasn’t the right woman for the job. I didn’t feel smart, strong, or equipped enough to handle the obstacle my family was facing.
Sometimes motherhood has a way of making us feel incompetent: like we are completely inadequate to do the job we’ve been designed to accomplish. Unexpected illnesses, academic difficulties, and strong willed children can undermine our confidence. We may even feel like God made a mistake and think, “I am not the mother my child needs.”
But God is a strategic God. He does nothing by happenstance. Before our children were conceived, He designated our wombs for their formation just as it says in Psalm 139:13: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.”
We were handpicked to mother our children. God intentionally chose us because He knew we had the experience, personality, skill set, and heart to mother our kids better than anyone else. Whether you feel like you are average or not, relish in the fact that God handpicked you above all other women to mother your child.
6. You Teach Your Kids About Christ
Contrary to what society says, our greatest responsibility as parents is to pass the gospel message to our children. Nothing about this task is average. Romans 10:15 quotes the prophet Isaiah: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Every time you pray with and for your child, you are impacting their present and future. When you talk about the life of Christ you are laying a spiritual foundation. As you coach them through difficult circumstances, you are teaching them how to walk out their faith. Don’t discount the impact your influence has on their salvation. We have the privilege of sharing the gospel message with our children.
7. God Measures Greatness By Our Service
I was completely dreading it, but a year ago, I went to my college reunion. I went to a highly competitive all women’s college, and most of the alumnae became highly accomplished. Whereas I had just resigned from my teaching job to homeschool my kids - just in time for my reunion.
I imagined what my response would be after inevitably being asked about what I did for a living. “Oh I sweep the kitchen several times a day and try to juggle the education of my two children, while keeping them clean and fed. Basically, I am an overworked and underpaid servant.”
I wanted a position that sounded more impressive, but motherhood is not often glamorous. There’s no way to pretty it up or make it sound more exciting. It’s mostly humble service, but God places a premium on humble service. In Matthew 23:11, Christ taught his disciples that, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”
God holds the position of mother in high regard. Remember this truth the next time you are washing dishes for the umpteenth time, choffering your kids like a taxi driver, or simply reading a bedtime story. Our service is deemed great in the eyes of the one who matters most.
8. What You Do & The Way You Do It Is Irreplaceable
Whether it’s the way you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or your how you embarrass your kids at their little league games; there is something you do that no one else can mimic. The specific way we love our children is irreplaceable. Even if someone else were to do what we do, they would not be able to replicate the way we do it. As mothers we put our own unique thumb print on everything. Our mothering style is a one-of-a-kind original, and that makes our work amazing. Psalm 139:14 says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The next time you find yourself feeling average, remind yourself of the intentionality God exercised in creating you.
9. God Controls The Destiny of Our Children
“She does Kumon on Mondays and Tuesdays, and basketball and soccer the rest of the week,” said the mother sitting next to me at a restaurant. She proceeded to then show me the pre-calculus work her 7-year-old daughter had been doing. “My kids don’t know precalculus,” I panicked to myself. Within seconds I felt like I needed to run and sign them up for tutoring at Kumon.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been perfectly content with your mothering until comparison completely changes your mind for you? Many of us have fallen hard into this trap. Keeping up with the Jones's is not what is best for us or our kids.
God has a unique journey for our children. This is why his Word says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” in Proverbs 22:6. Each child is to go in his own way. As parents we don’t have to make sure our child participates in every activity. Seek God’s will for the activities He desires for our kids, and trust Him to direct their path. Our job is to train our children up in the ways of God.
10. Your Worth Is Not Measured By What You Do But Who You Are
Motherhood, like life, is filled with failure: a burned meal, a misunderstanding, or a wrongly handled situation. Although it is tempting to cloak ourselves in this failure and throw a pity party, we must remember that we are not defined by our mistakes, nor are we defined by our role as mothers. We are defined by our relationship with God. 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ” When you are feeling like an average mom, remember who truly you are: a beloved daughter of God.
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father. Download Kia's free ebook, Hope for the Woman With Father Wounds here. Additionally, you can connect with Kia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.