“I don’t love you Mommy!”
My breath catches in my chest. I look into the angry eyes of this stranger-child, this child of another woman who’s Mommy I’ve suddenly become.
We were up to our hearts in a tantrum. Legs flying, arms flailing, consequences failing- then suddenly, still. Five little words bring us both to a halt. I turn around, close the door and collapse in my bed.
“I don’t love me right now either!”
I lay still trying my hardest to shut out toddler’s long winded screams and Satan’s ever present whispers.
“You’re a failure!” “You’re all alone!”
Isn’t this right where the Deceiver wants us Mamas?
What Millennial Mamas need most is to compare.
I do this every day all day, just in the wrong way. This is one of the biggest struggles facing millennial mamas today. Comparing in the wrong way. I sincerely hope that I am not alone in my social media addiction. Literally, each day I feel it is my duty to scroll all the way through my feed multiple times a day to “check in” with my students, friends and family. Instagram and I have an especially strained love-hate relationship. There are perfect Mamas on that site you know? They have a way of burrowing straight into that deep hole in my heart where I try and keep the guilt buried. They point to me my messy house, strange identity struggling wardrobe and all the moments and memories I failed to build with my children that day.
Another struggle facing millennial mamas is that giant amount of student loan debt. I know I have a nervous twitch at the sound of those three words too. A lot of Mamas our age have to pursue working outside the home and away from their children to gain any kind of financial independence. The guilt of being away from your littles to make money is an incredibly real and difficult burden to bear.
On the opposite side of this those Mamas who are blessed enough to work inside the home receive the burden of a cultural stigma.
“When are you going to get a real job?”
“Oh your just a stay at home Mom”
As if this was not a real and extremely important job. No big deal, just raising your future president over here!
This is an exhausting job! I read a book once that dared to state that motherhood could in fact be dignified. I couldn’t believe it. How am I supposed to get all this done and not be totally frazzled?! There is a cultural acceptance of the exhausted, frazzled and highly caffeinated kind of Motherhood that presents a challenge to millennial mothers. I will admit I have bought in to this idea too! I have the need more coffee t shirt. I allow my house to sit in shambles while watching Netflix because motherhood is too hard and I just need to sit here and chill with a third cup of coffee. Motherhood doesn’t have to be this way. There is a biblical example of motherhood that I aspire to model every day. No, don’t stop reading. I promise I am not going to talk about “The Proverbs 31 woman.” As much as I aspire to be her (and I believe the Bible commands us to be like the Proverbs 31 woman) but some days I feel as though I need a more real example of what motherhood should look like. A person with a name and a heart struggle I can relate to. My favorite example of motherhood for millennial mamas is Hannah. I can see the millennial version of Hannah looking at her Facebook page full of pictures of #babybump and #babywearing and just weeping. I can see her comparing herself the wrong way too. Can we just stop for a minute and look at Hannah’s relationship with her husband? Marriage and Mothering at least for me are impossible to talk about separately.
She is weary and her face is drained. Her husband, bless his heart, tries his best to comfort her but he cannot. What does Hannah do? She goes to her God. The God of all comfort, instead of expecting her husband to fill the need she has that only God can provide. She doesn’t go to Pinterest “Foods for Natural Fertility” She doesn’t google “How do deal with my husband’s difficult other wife” I know this sounds foolish but I find myself often turning to the screen rather than the Scriptures for advice and counsel in my marriage and mothering. Finally the Lord grants Hannah the request of her heart. She has a son! Can you imagine millennial Hannah grabbing her phone and excitedly posting a baby announcement? #boymom! She accepts her role as a mother and embraces it with joy! Elation actually! She goes straight to her God again and praises him! She understands that children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. To be with you for a while then shot off to serve God. Her role was to raise a servant of God. Is that not our role too?
What an example for millennial mamas. This should cause us to evaluate our purpose as millennial mamas. What does God have for me right now in this stage of my mothering? I was in a Bible study recently and the other Mamas in the room were challenging each other to memorize more Scripture and meditate on it as well. I picked a short phrase from one of my favorite hymns to meditate on. “No guilt in life…” As a Mom my purpose is not to go around feeling guilty about what I am not doing or how little my life lines up with my pinterest boards. I need to point my little arrows to Christ. Humbly but confidently, point them to the Savior. Christ has died for me. He has taken the guilt away and I stand redeemed, justified and clean before my righteous God. I love the verse 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one look down on your youth…” Millennial Mamas may be young but we have the same God as generations of Moms before us going before us!
Yes indeed, the thing millennial Mamas need most is to compare. Compare your story to the one who authored it. Compare your Mothering to excellent mothers God’s word takes note of. Women in the lineage of Christ! The Christ who will always love and never condemn.
After toddler boy has calmed himself from a tantrum, we sit down and have a talk about what has just occurred. After one such tantrum my sweet, tear stained, red faced blue eyed boy quietly asked “When I naughty, Jesus still love me?”
Yes little one, Jesus still loves you.
Yes, millennial mama, you struggle to be the mama God wants you to be. Compare yourself to the Christ who will always love and never condemn.
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