Do you feel like your efforts as a mom go unnoticed, and that you’re not measuring up to the polished Pinterest version of perfection? There’s so much more to being a great mom, and humility will help you to see that!
Guest post by Heather of God Centered Mom
It kind of snuck up on me, that feeling of “am I doing enough?”
I can’t quite remember which event started the avalanche of yuck.
Maybe it was a video my friend posted on Facebook of her daughter playing the violin. Or perhaps seeing the Instagram pic of homemade/gluten free bread a friend made with her kids. Maybe even the perfectly coordinated birthday party we attended with every detail handmade and themed.
Whatever the catalyst, I now sat on the couch, with a tear-stained face, lamenting to my husband all the ways I failed our children (forgetting my own post about how you will not fail in motherhood).
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Should I sign them up for piano? Does he wish I decorated our home better? Is it bad I bought a cake for our 4th son’s birthday party or should I have made one?
And he responded, “Does any mom believe she is doing a good job?” Hmmm…good point.
I want to be a great mom, but compared to my peers it seemed I fell short of great.
Fortunately, the next morning during my quiet time, the Lord led me to Christ’s words,
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
There I found the truth my mom heart needed. The truth that being a “great mom” in God’s eyes required humble service (even if you’ve been up since 2:45 am). Giving and doing and working, not to gain approval from other moms, but to follow Jesus’ example of giving his life for us.
- Being a great mom isn’t throwing a Pinterest perfect birthday party; it’s throwing another load of laundry in the washing machine.
- Being a great mom isn’t signing your child up for all the sports/music/camps activities, it’s saying yes to reading your son’s favorite book for the third time that day.
- Being a great mom isn’t having perfectly behaved children, but directing your children’s hearts to a perfectly loving Savior.
- Being a great mom isn’t having the best decorated home, but filling that home with laughter, joy and comfort.
- Being a great mom isn’t about working hard to look good, but serving well out of love.
The thing about humbly serving your family is you won’t get applause from your peers. Washing dishes won’t go “viral.” But God sees you pouring out your life in service to your family.
Heart of Service…
No matter what, basic tasks have to be done around my home. Those boys keep needing food and clean clothes. every. single. day. And we also like to partake of a little fun around our home, not just the mundane chores.
In both of those areas of service (chores and fun), being a “great mom” requires looking at my motives; figuring out if my actions come from love or for approval.
For we know, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).
I can throw a beautiful birthday party for my son out of a pure heart. Because I know that act of service speaks to his love language.
That’s different from planning the perfect Angry Birds party only to impress my friends. Especially if I end up yelling at my boys, “Don’t touch the hand-painted Angry Bird rubber balls!” (yes, that was me…I don’t miss the irony of an angry mom over an angry bird).
If I set-up a fun Pinterest activity with my boys and start to micromanage, then I probably need to stop and do a heart check.
Because showing them love by painting a cute picture with marbles is one thing. Making sure they don’t roll the marble too much, ruining the cute Instagram picture opportunity, that’s a whole other issue.
True greatness looks nothing like what we often celebrate. Will you join me and redefine “great mom”? Learning to serve those we love most from a pure heart.
With the new definition in mind, what ways are you going to be a “great mom” today? Laundry? Toilet Cleaning?
Heather MacFadyen has been married since the turn of the century (which sounds more impressive than it is). She is the mother of four young boys (born exactly, to the day, within 6 1/2 years . . . just like she’d always planned). Heather writes about motherhood and chronicles the messy journey of “relentlessly replacing ‘me’ with ‘He’” — sharing the daily struggle of remaining God-centered while mothering four wild-at-heart, energetic, and often stubborn boys. You can also find her sharing thoughts on growing godly men over at The MOB Society.
Thank you so much. I needed this.
So thankful it was a blessing to you! now continue being “great”!!
Thank you for this post. I was having one of those days of feeling not good enough as a mom. It is important to read posts like these to remind us that we don’t have to be perfect.
Oh friend, I so understand the “days of not feeling good enough”. Hoping your day continued to look up and you have eyes to see how God sees your time. How He sees each sacrifice and act of service. And how in His kingdom it’s the servants of the Lord that get all the glory.
Thank you, I’m a sahm and often wonder if I’m doing what I should to be there for my kids…when all I really do is clean run errands…but this helps out it into perspective, especially when we know that this is what God has intended.
So glad it was helpful to you Krista. I also just interviewed a mom of 10 who said she starting thriving in her motherhood when she stopped running the race, instead made some space for their family to do something they would all enjoy together. One day when no laundry was done, they went to a nursing home and sang songs. Her children met the residents, learned how to play chess. It gave life to her motherhood (as she has always enjoyed helping the elderly generation) and they enjoyed time together. Found her perspective refreshing. No longer living life for her children but with her children. Serving together…
This is a beautiful post!!! I feel our culture has very little respect for sahms, but yes, how pleased God is when moms are quietly serving their families. I know how MUCH my own mom doing that has impacted my life for the better, and thus my children’s lives, too.
Truthfully all moms, stay-at-home or working outside the home, sacrifice for their families. Clothes need to be cleaned, meals made, etc. The key is our hearts. Are we doing what we do for our own self-esteem or in service to God? thanks for your sweet comment Christa!
Sarah @ Little Bus on the Prairie
To be fair… those hand painted balls DO look pretty stellar and I wouldn’t have wanted them ruined either 🙂
But yes, I feel you on all of this!
thanks sarah. your comment makes all those long hours worth it! 😉
I’ve had a difficult time due to my thoughts of having to get everything accomplished only to realize everything starts over (laundry, dishes, feedings, diaper changes, etc.) and they’ll never be finished. My husband finally asked me do we want to have fun as a family or have a perfectly organized bookshelf? Okay, I want organizing the bookshelf but he had to be dramatic to prove a point. Thank you for sharing this! It spoke to my heart.
your husband is a wise man! isn’t it great to have someone help give perspective. Sometimes those tasks just take over my vision and I miss the most important things. thanks for commenting sharee!
I am due March 18th and have had many overwhelming moments panic already ready fearing not being my definition of a “great” mom. Your blog has opened my eyes to a truth that I knew, but had never applied to the area of motherhood. I am going to print this out a place in my devotion book so that as my child getders I can stop and remember how be the great mom my family needs me to be not the great mom I want my friends to see. Thank you for sharing what the Lord placed on your heart. God bless.
congratulations! God has created you perfectly to love that little one. You are basically stewarding a soul, what an honor and joy! And I think I might copy your idea and keep a copy in my journal to remind myself!!
Thank for the reminder. Im going to have to pull a quote from this to remind myself every day. 🙂
So well said. Things I often have to remind myself of.
Today I’m being a good mom by potty training my 7th child. It’s not going well, and I’m doing my best to be patient and sweet knowing that sooner or later he’ll “get” it. 🙂
Keep up the good work! Potty training 7?!?! WOW!
I know you are a great Mommy just from that snippet of info right there. The amount of patience and love that requires is enormous <3
i agree with ashley!! potty training seven children…definitely deserves the award of “great mom”! bless you friend for loving on many!!
Oh, did I need to read this this morning! Especially, the micromanaging part! Thank for putting this out into the “ether”.
I have been struggling recently feeling like I am failing….wondering how God ever thought I could do this, wondering how He thought I was right for this job.
I see so many other Moms “Pinterest” moments filling our my FB news feed & feel like I’m a terrible Mom because, I don’t do those things very often (we indulge in loads of free play over here) and honestly I don’t have the energy or even the ability to organize that kind of stuff every single day.
I keep my house clean (I use this term loosely having 2 toddler boys running around), I work hard to feed them healthy foods and I do my best to be hands on & use every teaching moment I can to our advantage.
I don’t want to be that Pinterest Mom…..frankly I know she’ stressed out trying to be so perfect & plan all those projects. I’m focused on being the great Mom God knows I can be!
Thank you for this! All moms need this reminder!
I needed this but also showed me that I am not a great mom, although, serving,I would think is not the same as doing for people hand and foot. But, I will get off this thing right now and go finish putting the clean clothes away and also go clean the kids bathroom (can’t do ours right now , hubby is still asleep) and other things I that need to be done around the house.
I so want to serve my family out of love and not because I have to.
great conclusion teresa! serving out of love not feeling like a slave, but it is for freedom you have been set free. Christ gave his life as a ransom, to set you free from slavery…free to follow His example of service. blessings!
I struggle with this especially now.I work 60 plus hours at two part time jobs…home school my three youngest kids. My husband has health issues.There are times my house is wrecked beyond belief…but they are always willing to help pitch in and do assigned chores…and sometime…when i come home and the house is yucky…I will admit that we hole up in my bedroom together and just be together…..your piece made me smile and feel good….
Thanks very much …I needed your words……..some peoples’ company makes me feel more ( i mean the not good enough feelings)….I just wonder why….is it because they are too good…or because they are not good and made me feel so as a mechanism of defence and illusion … …do you have an answer please?….is it
better to stay away from that type….or to develop immunity towards their comments and acts?
those are great questions K.B.. I think you are asking if you should avoid people who make you feel worse… I think the key is being confident in your own mothering. To realize what you do each day (whether laundry or planning a birthday party) is not to gain a friend’s approval or compete with them, it’s to serve God by loving your family. Keeping your eyes on His will for your day and thinking of how He is pleased. The more confident you are in pleasing God, then the less those friend’s comments/company will bother you. And you will feel compassion for them instead of judgment. great question!
I love this post, Heather. I really needed to read this today, as I’ve recently been trying to evaluate my priorities (and what I actually do).
I love your blog!! This post was a blessing and reminder this week!
Tasha @ realimprints
I needed to hear this. Running a blog/website and being a mom of four children definitely has it moments. It can be challenging to say the least. I appreciate the point to learn to let go of the mommy guilt, don’t compare ourselves to others, and embrace each day as new! Thank you!
I am sitting in tears after reading this. I left a career as a teacher to be a SAHM to two beautiful little girls…a 22 month old and a 10 month old. With both girls sick, the past few days have been rough. I’ve been complaining I can’t get enough done during the day and I feel like I’m letting my family down. I needed to be reminded that Jesus didn’t do anything complicated or showy…He just served. And in this world of Facebook and Instagram, that’s the only example I need. God’s message was received and it has given me strength.
My confirmation verse was 1 Samuel 16:7. I needed to be reminded of that as well.
God bless you, Heather. 🙂 Thank you for this.
so thankful to hear it was a blessing Leigh. Oh sweet friend, your girls are so little still and at such a wonderfully precious age. I have boys that are 2,4,6, & 8 and have the best memories of my oldest two boys when they were little. The things I remember are laughing and playing…so thankful for the memories we made at home. No regrets! Sick babies and little ones at home…makes for long days and lots of giving of yourself. Praying grace for you in this season, for His filling of the Holy Spirit (giving you the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness & self control), and for eyes to see by meeting their moment-by-moment needs you could never be letting those sweet girls down. Here is a virtual (hug). 😉
i’m a great mom because my kids are still alive! haha jk. i’m a great mom because we play hide n seek over and over and over and because i find time for myself.
ha! somedays I feel that way, too (especially with four boys…i can’t even imagine the things they think to do…dangerous!!). Way to go with hide & seek and making sure you are filled up to serve others!
I’m going to be a first time mom in September and I’ve already felt like I’m not doing a good enough job! I haven’t kept a journal or taken “good” pictures of my belly every week. However I’ve realized (very, very slowly) that it’s okay and just because other moms have time for that doesn’t mean I do. Working full time, teaching dance once a week and trying to maintian my house keeps me pretty busy.
Your words are so wonderful and encouraging! Thank you for sharing your heart!
Daja at The Provision Room
So very good! We’ll be sharing this on Facebook today and pinning it for our readers! LOVELY!
Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage
I love this! I needed this!
Thank you so much! xoxoxoxo
God’s incredible kindness flowed through you to me in this post! Halfway through I could barely read the words on my computer as the tears started overflowing. Being reminded of these Gospel-centered truths is so refreshing to my comparison-prone, envy-filled, un-loving heart! I know God is at work in exposing those areas but He is also using means of grace, like this post, to guide me to His forgiveness and grace for change. Thank you and glory to God alone!
I really love this. I, too, am a mom of four boys who married “at the turn of the century” & this sounds familiar. One day when I was getting too hyper focused on a tiny, unimportant detail my oldest son very gently said, “Mommy, I’m not trying to have a bad attitude with you or anything when I say this” (smart boy, treading lightly), “but, it doesn’t all have to be perfect, right? Remember how you say that?” 🙂 I was blown away by his kindness and wisdom & realized I was putting the pressure on myself and making things tense for everyone!
Thanks so much for your thoughtful words! Like a lot of moms mentioned above – I needed this! I am constantly worried that I am not doing this mom/SAHM thing right. It is such a burden to allow yourself to worry that much when all the things that matter are what you touched on in your piece. God always knows what you need and I feel like he sent your post my way today. Thanks so much!!
Thank You! Here it is months after you have written this and it is still touch the heart of moms like me. Thank You for writing what God laid on your heart. Thank You for speaking and sharing my heart.
Blessings, and Love from a sister in Christ.
Oh goodness, I missed this when it was first posted, and here I see it literally 10 seconds after I press “publish” on this post: http://www.imperfecthomemaker.com/2014/11/grace-for-the-stressed-out-mama.html
It’s been one of those days (weeks…months!) and I just need a good dose of encouragement. Soooo nice to see the encouragement coming from another mom instead of just hearing it from my own mouth!
This is good advice for caregivers to remember also.
Thank you so much! I needed this reminder.
Thank you! This applies directly to what I have been struggling with! I needed this today!!!!
The way I needed this…no one knew but God. Thank you for sharing your non Pinterest life. It helps me see that mine is okay too.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have beat myself up about this very topic for a long time. I struggle with medical issues that get in the way of being the mom I always said I would be; the perfect parties, fresh baked goods daily, perfectly ironed clothes hanging in every closet all of the time, hot breakfast before school every day, and the list goes on. Over the years I have purchased countless store bought birthday cakes, resorted to Chuck E. Cheese’s to host birthday parties and have had to re-wash clothes that I forgot to put in the dryer. But my kids are happy, they love me, and most importantly they love our Savior. Again, I thank you for reassuring me that I do not have to lead a Pinterest Perfect Life to be a successful mother.
This is something I needed to read today. I always tell people that I’m not Martha Stewart. I *can’t* be Martha Stewart. And more than that, I don’t want to be Martha Stewart. My house isn’t perfect… I home school three boys! They’re here all. the. time. No matter how many times I sweep, there’s more dirt. There’s always more dishes or laundry. I can’t spend every waking moment trying to make my house ready for a photo shoot. But I CAN love my family. I CAN do the dishes and wipe the counters. I CAN do just one more load of laundry. I CAN help with understanding the next page of math or English. And that’s enough. I CAN and WILL show my family the love of Jesus in how I take care of them. Thanks, again, for this post.
I’m super blessed by this post. Thank you!
This is so wonderful. Many thanks for this. 🙂
Glad you were encouraged!
Thanks for writing this!!! It is so easy for women to compare themselves, especially when the world and social media depict everyone else as having”it” altogether and being and having everything beautiful. I just need to be good enough for my kids.
Love this post! So easy to compare ourselves to every thing we see out there in social media.
I really love what you’re saying in this post and the heart of what you’re getting at. It is a message we all need to hear. However, I’m a bit concerned about the divisive phrasing. I know you’re not overtly saying that moms who do throw killer Pinterest parties, or the ones that sigh their kids up for all the clubs and sports aren’t great moms, but it is worth point out that they are great moms too. We all have different talents and abilities, and we all show our love in different ways. I’m not the mom with the super clean house, but it is not because I am more invested in my children than the mom with the super clean house. I don’t have mad cake decorating skills, but I also know that moms who do use those skills to delight their children, and that is okay. I do different things to show them I love them because I have other mad skills (I’m Michaelangelo with the crayons, I tell you). I think the real problem isn’t the Pinterest standard, it is the comparison. We all need to just stop comparing ourselves to each other.
It’s so easy to read a blog and move on when browsing the internet, but this time I can’t just move on. I needed to thank you for writing this. On behalf of the moms with the “embarrassing houses” (probably only to them), the lack of Pinterest talent, and the fear that they are not enough for their husbands and children, THANK YOU.
I have written on the white board above my computer a few phrases that help me to “do the next right thing” as my Titus 2 mentor says– which is often laundry, dishes, bathrooms, and groceries. Here are just a few that I wish I could remember daily:
1. There is grace in the work.
I found this to be true when I would get to the end of a day of hard work and find that once I got up and got started, no matter how hard it was to get going, what I remembered the most about the time was the amazing worship/prayer time I had while cleaning. He meets me even at the kitchen sink.
2. Give me Today.
Hebrews speaks of not hardening our hearts as long as it is called “Today” and while I know this is a call to faith, I also believe that the life of the believer includes deep rest in the finished work of Christ every single day. This rest offers us the opportunity to trust Jesus even with our work and to live present in every single day with Him and the outgrowth out of that, is that we live emotionally present with our loved ones.
3. Help me see reality and to respond to it according to your will.
This one is a biggie for me because seeing a cluttered mess, a long to-do list, or shamefully the other beautiful fit moms in the pick-up/drop off line at school, can throw me into the funk you described above almost on a daily basis if I let it. I need to remember to see reality as God sees it and to see myself as He sees me, then and only then am I able to put the first things first.
These are all things I forgot recently, and your blog was the reminder I needed and it was such a blessing to know that there are other moms out there who have to tell themselves the same things. We are all in this together aren’t we. Even if it is separately in our own homes.