Happy Sunday, y’all! As I was praying about what passage to write about I opened my Bible up to a highlighted page in the Book of Psalms. The beginning of Psalm 127 is my go-to pregnancy announcement verse. It is also my sense of encouragement when I am feeling overwhelmed with my kids or with the stigma that seems to attach itself to motherhood. Mom shaming is all too real in our society and it can really bring a mama down. I hope this post can be an encouragement to you as well.
Homeschool Mom Shaming
“Children are an heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
People often tell ask me how in the world my children will become socialized if we homeschool. “Why would you want to bubble wrap them?”… “They need to be the ‘salt & light’ so you should send them to public school.”… “What if they have gaps in their education?”
I have great answers to all of these questions and statements, but the fact that people feel the need to insert themselves into my parenting decisions in the first place really bothers me. I don’t mind at all answering genuine questions from people are are curious about homeschooling… but most of these questions come in the form of mom shaming.
After they question my parenting choices, they move on to shaming the children.
I cannot count the number of times that I have heard statements like, “I don’t know how you homeschool; I couldn’t stand to be around my kids that much.” It breaks my heart to hear this.
Yes, kids are tough, and they are full of more energy than we could ever hope to have again. They are destructive and loud…I could go on and I am sure each of you could add to the list, but I won’t.
How easy it is to get caught up in these frustrations! We get lost in the rush of life and we pass our greatest blessings off as burdens. I keep this passage bookmarked to help me remember that my children are not interruptions in my life. God entrusted them to me for a reason.
It doesn’t really matter if you are a stay at home mom, a homeschooling mom, or a working mama. If you start viewing your kids through the lens that God looks at them through, then you will start to enjoy their companionship instead of feeling as if they are in the way and overcome the mom shaming that comes along with motherhood today.
Large Family Mom Shaming
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Arrows in the hand of a warrior. Now those are words for the nursery wall! What exactly does this mean about our children and the way we interact with them, though?
I love the analogies that are made in this post. The author says that children are like arrows. They are carefully made weapons of war, they go where we cannot, and they go obediently in the direction in which they are fired. He says that children have the opportunity to change this culture in a way that we cannot. They are “Gospel arrows that are fired into a lost world”. How are they to be what they were created for if they feel as if they are unimportant and burdensome?
Forget about the culture that says children are to be seen and not heard. We are called to craft these arrows into instruments that will honor God and serve others. Lead them, encourage them, refine them, and prepare them for the work that God has in store for their lives. They are your arrows, mama so keep them sharp.
When my husband and I announced that we were pregnant with #3 we were met with a wave of encouragement and congratulations from our friends and family. Then we were met with an equal, but opposite wave of comments and questions that implied we were crazy.
“Don’t you know what causes that?”
“One of you should start sleeping on the couch.”
“Are you competing with (insert name of family with 3+ kids)?”
I am preaching to the choir here, I know. You ladies know what I am talking about. If you have 3+ kids then I am sure that you are overwhelmed with intrusive questions, judgmental glares, even sympathetic gestures. Many of these comments are made in jest, but our culture as a whole has taught us that having children is nothing to be proud of. I am here to tell you through the Word of our Creator and the One who knits these children together within our wombs that we are not to be ashamed.
I use these verses to apply to larger families, but also to set the woman free who feels like she is an inadequate mother of any number of kids. Far too often we are made to feel ashamed for the fruit of our wombs, the arrows that God placed in our hands, and we have to be able to rise above that.
Other Forms of Mom Shaming
We are judged for how we feed our children from day one… breast or bottle? organic or no? “Did you really just give your toddler a sucker??” *gasp*
We are judged for how we clothe our children… Organic cotton or blends? Name brand or Walmart? “Is your child wearing hand-me-downs?” *more gasps*
We are judged for how we entertain our children… Too many toys or not enough? Screen time or no?
We are judged by how we watch our children as they play … Free Range, Helicopter, or somewhere in between? “I can’t believe you did the dishes while your kids were on the netted trampoline!” *gasps x3*
“They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Don’t be ashamed of your parenting style, mama! As long as you are doing what is best for your kiddos then you just do your thing! Speak with your enemies in the gate. When other moms question what you are doing, let them know why you chose that option (to educate them, not to explain yourself to them) and that it is the best choice for your family. Hold your head high.
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You are Enough, Mama!
I will use myself as an example here. I had my first child when I was a teenager. Poor decisions were made and I have been forgiven for them. Many people told me that I should abort this precious child and that he didn’t deserve life because I had made a poor choice. Terrible things were said about my child and myself.
I kept that baby and he is now an amazing, intelligent, and extremely empathetic 9 year old! What if I would have given into the cruel words of others? What if I would have been too ashamed to carry on with the pregnancy?
That sweet boy wouldn’t be here. He wouldn’t be enjoying Star Wars night at a minor league baseball game with his dad (who so lovingly adopted him at the age of 4) right now. I wouldn’t have him to bring so much joy to my life and I would never forgive myself for ending his life.
You are a Warrior
My point in sharing that intimate information is to encourage you to drown out the crowd with the whispers of Jesus. Meet the enemies at the gate with the truth of God’s Word.
You might be a single mama, struggling financially, a young mother, dealing with a difficult marriage, or in a happy marriage with a stocked bank account…whatever defines your life at this moment, your children are your reward & your blessing! God has given them to you to lift you up and love you when it seems like no one else will. You are to embrace them, train them, and shower them with your love and the love of God every single day.
Please don’t let this mom shaming culture get you down. Those kiddos who were tugging at your pants leg while you tried to make pancakes this morning aren’t inconveniences and they aren’t mistakes. They are your blessing and your reward. Be shameless in motherhood and craft those arrows like the warrior you are!