#031: The Case of Mom Bullies: Why We All Do It and What is the Gospel Hope
It’s a long-running joke that motherhood, or parenting in general, does not come with a manual. There is no one particular way of mothering. Every baby is different. Every mom is different. You will have to figure out what mothering means to you and what it looks like with each of your children.
Navigating through the newborn stage, especially as a first-time mom, is like being on a game show where you are expected to know the answers while everybody is watching you - it’s a whole lot of guessing and hoping you are right.
The newborn stage is just the beginning of this wing-it-mode where you feel like you are just responding to things as they come.
You try your best to make the most educated decisions for your children, which is something I believe most of us mothers are doing; we do what we know or believe is the best.
However, if you go on social media, it will not be hard to find attacks, criticisms, and bullies from one mom to another.
Why is that?! If we are all trying our best to do what we believe is the best for our children, why do we tear each other apart?
Here is my attempt at understanding the heart issue behind it:
When we are giving our best shot at something, and we look around and see other people doing the same task but with a different method. It will be very easy for us to perceive the other method as a personal attack on our way of mothering... a personal attack on us.
It hurts our pride when someone is seemingly more put together and successful as a mom.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says, "Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about."
Deep down, pride drives us to see ourselves as the "better" mom. But pride can't do that unless it is looking around and comparing itself to other people.
What is the Gospel Hope for Mom Pride?
So where is the Gospel Hope? What is the Gospel solution? We, as Christ followers, don't have to be enslaved to this pride that is in all of us. Christ has freed us from that sin so we don't have to live it out anymore.
In this passage, Paul was addressing the division in the Corinthian church. People at the time would think of themselves as better leaders because they were discipled by certain prominent ministers. They were comparing themselves among each other.
Here in the passage, Paul gets straight to the heart of the division - pride and boasting.
It was because of pride that they compared each other and tore each other apart.
Does that sound familiar? It sounds exactly like what is happening among us moms.
In the book "The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness", Tim Keller says true Gospel humility means you stop connecting every experience and every conversation with yourself. You stop thinking about yourself. That's the freedom self-forgetfulness brings.
So how do we do that? How do we get to that point where we think of ourselves less?
The root word for "judge" means to examine, to determine the excellence or defects of a person or thing.
Paul is saying that he does not care what the church thinks about him. He does not care what anybody thinks about him. His self-worth and identity are not tied to what people think of him.
His self-worth and identity are tied to what God thinks of him. In the same way, our self-worth and identity are tied to what God thinks of us, not in what other moms think of us, not in how we might compare to other moms.
What we need is God's unchanging and ultimate opinion of ourselves.
We are God's masterpiece. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. And because of the sanctification work of Christ on the cross, God sees us as pure, righteous and holy.
To be truly humble, to stop tearing each other apart as moms, we need to be rooted in that identity. We need to live it out.
Instead of letting pride compare ourselves to one another - because it will if we give it the opportunity - let's look at how we have each been gifted by the Lord.
What we have received we cannot boast in because the credit doesn't belong to us. We have each been uniquely gifted as mothers. We have also been blessed with vastly different children. If we surrender our motherhood to the Lord and abide in Him in everything we do as mothers, we are all doing something magnificent. We are all giving Him glory in our own unique ways.
A Call to Unity
My oldest is now three. Some days I still feel like I'm just winging it. But the beauty in such is that I can lean into the One who knows I am the best mother to the children He has blessed me with; I can lean into Him because He will give me the guidance and the wisdom to be the mother I need to be.
Friends, I want you to be rooted in your identity in Christ. Don't let pride make your eyes wander around to see what other moms are doing and trick you into thinking that they are threatening your identity, your self-worth.
We are all doing something great. We are all used by God to fulfill His amazing plans for all these children He has blessed us with.
Instead of tearing each other apart, instead of letting pride win, let's be rooted in Christ and come alongside each other. Encourage each other and help each other out. It takes a village to raise kids, seriously. You cannot do it on your own. But this village will not come together unless we put our pitchforks down.