Last month, I stumbled upon a raw nerve. My post, "Why I'm Not the Room Mom" ignited a response I did not anticipate. Some of you responded that you were encouraged by the post to draw healthy boundaries with your time and family. Hooray! That was my intention.
Some of you were offended. You thought I came across as self-righteous and condemning toward moms who made choices different than my own.
It is easy to find ourselves so busy with good things that we end up robbed of the energy and bandwidth to teach our children about the "one" thing, which is Jesus.
If you fall into that second camp, let me take a moment here to fall on my sword. I admit that my lines (not being a room mom, sending store bought Valentines etc.) may not be your lines. There is no biblical mandate to structure your time and commitments the same way I do.
Any scent of self-righteousness you may have picked up on was unintentional. I'll be the first to admit, I don't have this mom thing all figured out. But I know that we often judge ourselves on intentions while others judge us on actions. While I was hoping to use my choices, my inadequacies, my insecurities, and my struggles as an example to spur a bigger conversation about being moms with kingdom priorities, I can see that some of you thought I was talking about absolutes. For that, I'm sorry.
Also, I'm afraid I painted a caricature of myself that wasn't entirely accurate. I actually love to cook and craft with my kids. I'm also grateful to those who volunteer as positive examples in their lives. I'd like to go on record as saying I am pro-crafts, pro-family time, pro-volunteering, and even pro-Pinterest. But those are some areas where I have needed to cut back in order to stay sane and focused as a mom.
With that being said, I'm glad this can of worms has been opened. As we keep the conversation going, here's what's on my heart.
Biblical families are counter-cultural.
God's Word is a square peg in this round world. It will never fit with what the culture says is best for us or our families. There are so many options and activities available to us at any given point it's easy to fill our family schedules to the point that they bulge at the seams. I have made many mistakes in this area. I have seen the corrosive effect that busyness has had on my own family and the families of other believers I know. Being too busy doing too many things, tends to eat away at the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. With that in mind, let me reiterate the big idea of my first post.
As moms, we can do it all, but we can't do it all well.
It is easy to find ourselves so busy with good things that we end up robbed of the energy and bandwidth to teach our children about the "one" thing, which is Jesus. I know we can use plenty of these good things to teach our kids about Jesus, but we must reject the lie of our culture that says, "To be a good mom, you have to do it all."
This is hard for me! I need to constantly evaluate and recalibrate. I am deeply challenged by Jesus' words to Martha, a Type A, do-it-all girl like myself . . .
"But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41–42).
Because living this way is counter-cultural . . .
Moms need each other.
If I'm being honest, going viral felt like a bad case of the flu. While some readers expressed concern in loving and constructive ways, many hit below the belt. Calling into question my own commitment to the Lord and devotion to my children.
I see this as just another skirmish in the "mommy wars." Whether it's fighting over breastfeeding or formula, organic or processed food, homeschooling or public schooling, we moms can be rough on each other. But when it comes to the mommy wars, I waved my white flag long ago. That's because nobody wins at the comparison game, and this journey is so tough, I simply cannot do it alone.
If we are going to raise up the next generation to love Jesus, it will only be arm in arm, not head to head.
A story the Lord has used powerfully to challenge me as I mother is one found in the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a trusted official under the Persian King Artaxerxes. He was also an Israelite who asked the king to let him gather his people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The king agreed, so people gathered and the building began. When the enemies of Israel pushed back against the project, pay close attention to how the Israelites defended themselves:
"'Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your homes.'
When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work." (Neh. 4:13–15).
Because the Israelites were fighting for their families, they were brave enough to stare down their enemies. And because they were fighting with their families, they were strong enough to win.
What if, instead they spent their time comparing, surveying each other's section of wall and either criticizing that they wouldn't do it that way or feeling inadequate? The mission would be compromised. The victory would be lost.
If we are going to fight for our families in a culture that is willing to battle for our children's hearts and fight with our families for God's truth, we've got to stick together.
I'll go first.
Dear room mom, non-room mom, crafty gal, hot mess, Martha Stewart, burns her dinner every time, homeschool mom, public school mom, private school mom, mom of many, mom of few, got-it-all-together mom, can't-find-her-car-keys mom, scrapbook mom, doesn't-own-a-camera mom, hippie mom, organized mom, disheveled mom, funny mom, serious mom, and every mom in between,
If you are living your life for Christ, committed to pointing your children toward Him and His truth, and willing to swim upstream to find His best for your family . . .
I stand and applaud you.
Your biggest fan,
Erin Davis (a mom especially thankful for God's grace).