Sometimes I feel like the mom version of the Terminator. Unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic character, when I look at my outside world I don’t see the stats of my enemies, I just see stuff that needs to be done:
Visual: one-year-old baby
Running on 95% energy
Caution: diaper full of poop
Visual: basket full of dirty laundry
Running at 99% capacity
Caution: may smell like old gym socks
My mind never stops. The list of things that need to get done, places my children need to be, and appointments yet to be made never does either after all. I’m in a constant state of GO—if I stop to have a quick bite to eat while the baby is down for his nap that’s about it. I think I feel this way because in some ways our modern society has made me and maybe you feel this way, too?
However, the truth is I’m not a great homemaker. There, I said it. If this were 1955 it would have been as if I just admitted to some kind of default in the standard wife/mother/caretaker role that so many of our grandmothers were at the time. I often wonder how they did it all—the mothering, the cooking, the cleaning, keeping the husband happy, being Godly, being eloquent, being smart, being strong yet feminine, and all while looking gorgeous and put-together. I mean we really have it so much easier now don’t we?
Or maybe we don’t—because after all we are expected to be all of those things and then some. It’s exhausting isn’t it? As a modern day mother/wife/woman I often feel much like I think my grandmother must have. As if I have so many plates spinning at once, and if one should dare fall, I will be criticized and judged for not having it all together. But you just know that eventually one plate will fall, because I’m a mother not a machine. I’m human and we make mistakes. Yes, even mothers.
If you look out across the vast canvas of social media today, you’ll see articles about how one mom feels like she’s a better mom because her house is dirty and her kids are happy. Then on the next article, you’ll see another mom stating the opposite opinion, because somehow our children’s happiness is tied to whether or not our houses are clean or not?
Does it really matter? Am I a bad mom because my house is almost always clean? No, I’m not. What about my sister, who works full-time and only has time to clean her house on the weekend . . . is she a bad mom? Heck no! We’re both good moms.
Until this unnecessary standard is lifted from the eyes of our culture, we will always be trying to keep up. Even those of us that have always been proud to be a woman, and made it a point to support our fellow ladies are sometimes guilty of it. I know I’ve let a snide comment or two slip from my lips about another woman’s mothering or less than stellar cooking skills in the past. We’re all only human. We’re sinners. Yet, God forgives us but we somehow can’t forgive each other for our downfalls?
We need to do better. We need to build each other up not tear each other down. I know it’s hard to do in this day and age when we all feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. We have families who need us, husbands who rely on us, and careers that beckon us and sometimes it’s just hard to stay positive. It’s hard to look out for a woman we barely know when all we want is someone to do the same for us.
But, if we ever want the mom shaming and ridiculous expectations placed upon our gender to end we have to be the change. We need to reach out to our friend that is struggling with anxiety, and ask her what we can do to help. We need to call up that new mama who hasn’t slept in days, and tell her we’re coming over to relieve her for a few hours so she can sleep. It really is that simple.
Until the day arrives when women can have extra bionic arms to rock their crying babies while they read the paper at lightning speed from across the room, we need to remember we’re not superhuman. Although it may feel like we operate like well-oiled machines that keep our families moving at any given moment, we are, in fact, not machines—we’re mothers who need breaks sometimes and the chance to be given a little grace from time to time.