Living the Mom Life Day 3: Expectations vs. Reality
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV)
We’ve all been there—building something up so perfectly in our minds, but the reality ends up being the complete opposite of our vision. It’s such a letdown! A few years ago, my husband and I planned on taking our four kids on a winter hike through the woods behind our house. It was perfect weather, and we thought they would just have the best time. Five minutes into the hike and two kids were already complaining that they were tired. Fifteen minutes in and one kid released a branch right in my face. At 20 minutes, another kid started complaining they were hot. I lost my sunglasses at 30 minutes. Forty minutes in and a kid tripped and fell and cried for 10 minutes. Needless to say, this was not at all what I had envisioned for the day. Instead of the happy, smiling family hiking their way through the beautiful, snowy woods, we were a frustrated, aggravated, and irritated family just hobbling their way back home. This happens often in parenthood; the reality doesn’t quite meet the expectation and can leave us feeling inadequate and disappointed.
Today, our social-media-filled world feeds into unrealistic expectations. How in the world did Princess Kate look like she was going to Easter brunch while leaving the hospital after giving birth? My reality was more along the lines of yoga pants and sweatshirts, definitely not heels or dresses. Social media paints a perfect picture, causing our expectations to be perfection as well. But the reality is very rarely perfect. And unless we want to live our lives constantly feeling like we can’t measure up, we need to be sure our expectations are within reason. Instead of using social media as a guideline, what are God’s expectations for moms?
- To love their children. “And so train the young women to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:4).
- To teach their children. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). “Hear, my son, your father’s instructions and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).
While these expectations are not simple, they are attainable. We love our children by providing for them, helping them, encouraging them, and praying for them. We teach our children by disciplining them, modeling Christ-like behavior, and reading God’s Word with them. God does not expect perfect moms, but rather moms who simply love their children and teach them. Will this look different for each mom? Absolutely. God did not use a cookie cutter when He created each of us; we are all unique, so therefore our methods of showing love and teaching our children will also be unique to our own personal styles and strengths. God has equipped each of us with what we need to complete these tasks for our own children.
When our reality doesn’t meet our expectations, we need to remember to give ourselves grace. God extends His grace to us over and over again, and we need to extend that same grace to ourselves. Motherhood is messy, and we will make mistakes. But that’s ok! One of the best ways we can model humility to our children is by confessing our sins and apologizing for our bad attitudes. This shows them that even moms make mistakes and need to ask for forgiveness.
The next time you find yourself scrolling through Instagram and noticing everyone’s “perfect” life, just remember that no one’s life is perfect all the time. Sometimes you have a wonderful family walk through the woods, and sometimes you come back with lost items and bloody limbs. Either way is ok, because, thankfully, God’s expectations do not require perfection.