For years I wanted to be that mom. You know her: The one who seems to have it all together.
Her children are dressed like fashion plates with matching bows and color-coordinated backpacks. She shows up at every school party with her delicious homemade cookies iced with the monogram of each child. She serves on every committee, juggles all her commitments, bakes, sews, scrapbooks and still manages to look fashionable all the time.
I wanted to be her, but I never made it. I was thrilled when I found a bow that didn’t clash with my daughter’s outfit—yellow and purple match, right? My girls were lucky if I remembered to bring store-bought cookies to the party. When I tried juggling I usually ended up in a heap surrounded by failed attempts. And fashionable? I considered myself fashionable when I managed to match my T-shirt with my bleach-dotted sweatpants.
My desire to be that mom stretched into areas beyond my own performance. I wanted my girls to have the right friends, be in the right groups, and belong to the right clubs. But what does “right” mean?
For me, it meant I wanted my girls to be popular because I equated popularity with happiness. Actually, I was more interested in my happiness than in the happiness of my daughters. Yes, it sounds selfish because it was selfish. I wanted to be accepted into the in crowd, and I thought my entrance would come if I could just do it all “right.”
A Heart Change
My parenting suffered through those years as I sought the praise of others. I loved my girls but was constantly comparing myself to those around me and I was coming up short—or so I thought. My comparison was based on baking skills, fashion purchases, and my ability to create cute hairstyles for my girls. I wasn’t looking at the truth of motherhood—the heart.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.—Galatians 5:1 (NASB)
I am thankful the Lord turned my life around when I was still a young mom. The whole world looked different when I started putting Christ first. The opinion of others no longer held much importance in my life. I started praying more and worrying less.
No longer did it matter if I created the most amazing gift bags for the 3rd-grade party. It mattered that I sat down to listen to an 8-year-old girl tell me all about her day. It didn’t matter if I served as the president of the PTA. It did matter when I took a day off to just hang out with my girls.
Being a mom is hard. Being a mom in the company of other moms can be brutal. We all want to fit in and be accepted. We want everyone to love our children and love us. It’s hard not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself, but don’t fall!
God has a plan for every mom out there. He has a plan for each of your children. He loves them even more than you do. Trust Him. Focus your heart on Him and He will guide your steps.
Mary Snyder’s busy blog is one of multiple ways crowds of women connect with this leader’s message of hope, joy, and adventure in Jesus Christ. As Premier Christian Cruises Girl’s Get-A-Way group coordinator, contest director, and girlfriend leader, Mary has a following that’s near, far, and across cultures. When she’s not cruising, she can be found at home with family near Birmingham, Alabama. Her first release from New Hope Publishers is God, Grace, and Girlfriends.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.