Could there be any lies you’ve picked up from social media about motherhood or yourself? I’m looking at three common ones I’ve seen perpetuated, and why I believe they’re actually harming us.
As mothers in the present day, many of us turn to our phones (and the friendly faces we find therein) to experience community, laughter, and to feel understood. The internet can be a fantastic place to meet like-minded people whom we may not have the opportunity to connect with in our geographical location. And if you have a lot of kids and you find it hard to get out of the house, turning to your phone for that adult human connection is a quick and easy option.
And because so many of us use social media this way, the big companies, the online magazines, and the professional bloggers are also on social media, creating and sharing content designed to resonate with us all, thereby getting the maximum number of shares and clicks.
This is not inherently a bad thing, but it’s important to understand when we think about the kind of content we’re being exposed to daily. As a general rule, content that gets the most shares (or goes “viral”) falls into two categories: it is either dark, mysterious, or controversial; or it is positive, happy, and uplifting. That is, it either triggers emotions of fear or pleasure – both powerful motivators.
I think the content aimed at mothers is fairly evenly split between the two, but today I want to talk about that which falls into the latter category – it’s positive, happy, or uplifting – but promotes lies. You see, a statement can be positive and uplifting, but still be untrue and thus, ultimately harmful.
As I cover some of the more popular lies that have been circulating on social media in the form of cute graphics, short video monologues or even longer blog posts, I want to make one thing clear: I’m absolutely not wanting to shame anyone for having believed any of these statements.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are all being reformed and transformed every day, growing in our understanding of God and of the truth. There are many things I’ve posted in the past that I would look back on now and be shocked that I agreed with. I only ask that you humbly consider my words in light of Scripture and hold fast to the truth.
“If you worry about being a good mum, it means you already are one.”
Have you seen this quote floating around before?
Here’s what I think it’s saying: “If you’re worried about being a good mum, it means this is already a priority for you, and by making this a priority, it means you are a good mum, regardless of the practical details of how that plays out in your life.”
Here’s why I think it’s a lie Christian mums should reject:
It totally ignores sin nature and the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes that nagging thought, “Am I a good mum?” is actually the prompting of the Holy Spirit, calling our attention to sin we haven’t killed yet. Rather than simply giving those feelings the flick with an uplifting platitude, we should do some heart searching to see if there is a reason we’re feeling that way.
If you’ve been yelling at your kids, the feeling of being not a good mum will not be (ultimately) corrected by some uplifting reassurance that you already are one. Rather, it means you need to repent, and in God’s strength, stop yelling at your kids. And the same goes for any un-dealt-with sin. God is good, and He will forgive you and work in you to change. But don’t ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
Now, if you’re worried about not being a good mum because you cook every meal from scratch, using organic produce and grass-fed meats, then I have a friend called Elsa who’d love to sing you a little song…
“Mummy needs wine”
Here’s what I think this is saying: “Motherhood is stressful, and alcohol is a great way to unwind from that stress, so don’t feel ashamed if you really look forward to that glass of wine at the end of the day.”
Wine is a good gift from God and, yes, helpful to unwinding. But we don’t need it. And if we do feel we need it, there’s a problem.
God wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, not with alcohol. And alcohol can be particularly addictive. That’s why Scripture warns us not to be slaves to wine if we want to be godly women.
Alcoholism aside, this theme of mums needing wine to cope with their kids perpetuates the idea that children are a burden to bear. But the Bible tells us that they are in fact a blessing.
Does that mean raising them will be easy? No, not at all! Some blessings weigh a lot. Raising children is hard, but God has supplied, and will continue to supply, us with everything we need to do it.
- He gives us grace when we fail.
- He works in our hearts to make us more like Jesus.
- He gives us words of wisdom for our children.
- He endows us with energy when we have none left.
- He teaches us patience when we’re at the end of our rope.
Do we need wine to cope with motherhood? No. We need Jesus. And we can be thankful to him for the blessing of wine, while not being enslaved to it.
““All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.”1 Corinthians 6:12
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.”Titus 2:3
“You need to find yourself again”
What I think the underlying message here is: “Motherhood causes a big change in a woman’s life, from what she thinks about, to what she spends her time doing, to how she looks and feels. Mothers need to make time for themselves and rediscover who they are apart from motherhood so they don’t lose their identity.”
I can relate to this. I remember sometime after we had our second child, I realised that I no longer cared about the clothes I wore and my best small talk material revolved around nap schedules and sleep training techniques. This realisation was a catalyst for me to start taking better care of myself in many ways, in particular being intentional about how I spent my time and pursuing spiritual growth.
But is it true that the change in priorities and lifestyle after becoming a mother means we’ve lost our identity? I don’t believe so.
The only event that substantially changes our identity is when we are taken from death to life – when we become a Christian:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:17
This transformation gives us a new heart, new motivations, frees us from our enslavement to sin, and fills us with the Holy Spirit. You are a completely new person!
While changes in our stage of life, like moving out of home, getting married or becoming a mother are all a really big deal, they don’t change our identity.
As Christian women, we can navigate these changes in the confidence and hope that God is still doing the good work in us that he began at our salvation. He will not leave or abandon us.
And we should absolutely take care of ourselves! Spending time alone or with friends are wonderful blessings to be enjoyed.
But we don’t need to find ourselves again or somehow separate ourselves from this new role as a mother. Once you become a mother, you will always be a mother. It’s not something you can step out of and into at will.
Replace lies with the truth
So what do you say – have you been subconsciously believing one of these lies about motherhood? Has it filtered into your thinking, distorting your view of the truth?
Sisters, it’s so important as Christian mothers that we keep growing in the knowledge and love of God through His word. Without being firmly planted in the truth, we become susceptible to lies like those above.
Apart from regular Bible reading and studying to learn more about God, a great way to plant the truth in our minds and hearts is to memorise and meditate on Scripture.
I’ve created this new set of Bible verse memory cards you can download for free. The Bible verses are all taken from passages in my colouring Bible study – Onward, Christian Mama! – for you to print out and keep somewhere handy.
I chose to laminate mine and bind them with a key ring for easy reference. Alternatively, you could stick up one card at a time on your mirror while you memorise that verse.
I hope these will be a blessing to your heart as you seek to dwell more on the truth in Scripture and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!