One reason I started this blog is because I LOVE talking to other moms about their experiences.
I want to know: Did they sleep train? Was their pregnancy planned? How was their labor? Did they even get a chance to labor? What’s their discipline style?
I’m curious (ahem … nosy) so I dive into these conversations whenever I can. That’s part of the reason why I love mom groups on social media.
Over the weekend one post on one of the pages I follow absolutely blew up. One mom got on a asked if she was the only mom able to maintain the following list AFTER becoming a mom. (Brace yourself.)
1 – Clean house (toilets and all!).
2 – Good sleep schedule.
3 – Body back in shape.
I don’t want to make assumptions about what her goals were with saying this to a group of moms. (And specifically a group of moms who often express the difficulties of motherhood.) But her list got me thinking.
As mothers we are always forming these mental checklists so we can establish that we are doing a good job. We are always making sure we measure up to what our friends are doing. We are taking notes on social media about how we can be “better” moms.
In my opinion there is a big negative cultural overtone about mothers.
My friends and I recently made a parody about motherhood and Chick-fil-A. It’s had almost a million views on YouTube. And because of that we garnered a lot of support. But if you read the comments on our YouTube page, you’ll see we got a lot of shaming too. People said we were just lazy, stay-at-home, privileged moms who lived off of our husbands.
For the record, we all work from home. But that’s aside from the point.
Society’s message about motherhood is clear: raising children is not very important.
Don’t believe me? Look at our abortion rates. Look at our maternity leave policies. Look at the fact that 1 in 3 moms has had to choose between buying diapers and buying food. Remember when you had to tell your boss you were pregnant? Did you feel the pressure and the questions and the stress to make a decision about your career? If not, THANK GOD.
But most mothers feel from the beginning of their parenting journey that they have to prove their value to society.
Our value is not in a to-do list.
It’s not in a little checklist that says we have it all together.
It’s not in the amount of time we spend cleaning and cooking.
Our value is in the fact that God created our bodies to do this. He created our bodies to nurture a single egg cell into a baby and then to be able to sustain that baby after birth through breastfeeding. He created us to feel an instinctual attachment to that baby after it is born–a fierce, protective, animalistic attachment.
You don’t need to fight for your value. It’s already been established.
I’m telling you right now. You have nothing to prove. You are valuable. You are enough. The work you are doing is important. It is draining and it is demanding. It is sacrificial and it is necessary.
I’ve said this before, but motherhood is not a job. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely work. But it’s not an occupation. It’s not quantifiable to our results-driven society. It is a calling. It is a gift. It is the life force of all humanity.
You are not a list. You are not a job. You are not a placeholder.
Even though you might feel like it.
When you start criticizing yourself later today, (because I know it will happen) tell yourself this.
“I’m valuable. This work is important. And I am capable.”
And take a deep breath and keep going.