The Weight of Being a Good Mom

Encouragement for ever-busy moms from Jenny Dorr:

Most people simply know me as a wife and mother. But what most people don’t know about me is that I’m also a skilled weight carrier. You might see me shopping for this week’s groceries—Starbucks in one hand and a stack of coupons in the other—while pushing an over-flowing cart containing a crumb-covered baby (seriously, whoever invented the free bakery cookie must have been a mom), a five year-old boy using a loaf of french bread as a light saber, and more frozen pizzas than my family should be eating. And while I might make it look effortless, I am, in fact, balancing a 900lb. weight on my shoulders as well.

What is this burden that is weighing me down and making it even more difficult to push a “do you need help out to your car?” shopping cart?  It’s the weight of being a good mom.

It’s Always There

It’s like the sports scores that run across the bottom of the screen while my husband is watching SportsCenter, or the school closings that scroll below the morning talk show that I don’t have time to watch. It’s that constant. Did my daughter take her homework to school? When did the baby have her last diaper change? Who took the end of the toilet paper roll and left it empty? Why is there a Polly Pocket in my shoe? Will I ever get a chance to vacuum the cobwebs out of the corner of the laundry room? Do I have anything to make for dinner tonight besides frozen pizza?

And that’s just the day-to-day upkeep of life. What about the deeper responsibilities of motherhood? Have I made the right decision for my kids about schooling? Did I handle that tantrum in the best way? Are my kids gaining an understanding of God’s love and grace for them? Am I listening to them enough? Have I taught them enough? Am I showing them love enough?

Lifting Weights

I’ve tried schedules, calendars, organizers, lists and charts to lift the weight. But even on my most organized, successful days—the ones when I wouldn’t care who showed up at my door because I somehow managed to get three kids and myself cleaned, dressed and fed, as well as make my house look like the cover of Martha Stewart Living—the weight is still there.

The truth is, desiring to be a good mother is not really the weight. The weight is the fear and worry that come alongside the desire to be a good mother. And when fear and worry about a good desire start to dominate life and control my thoughts, I need to call it what it is: idolatry, plain and simple. It’s a good thing elevated to a God-thing.

What Good Mothers Remember

If I’ve learned anything over the last seven years of mothering, it’s that the only thing that lifts the weight from my shoulders is remembering that Jesus died for good mothers.

The weight of perfectly remembering every detail for each of my kids, as well as purposefully pouring life into their little souls, is more than I can bear. But there is sweet relief when I confess my own idolatry and rest in Jesus’ promise that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. No matter how hard I work at it, I won’t get it all right all the time. But God gives just as much grace when I stand before my kids as he does when I kneel at the foot of the cross.

My desire to be a good mother will never go away and I will always continue to work hard at it, but the weight to do it perfectly and completely will only be eased as I look to my own perfect Father and trust the gospel of his grace for me and my family. And some days that might just mean we’re having frozen pizza for dinner again.

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