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What does a good mom smell like?
When we were in-process to adopt our oldest son, I obsessively cleaned and organized my home. If you’ve been pregnant and experienced nesting, this was 100 times more intense and thorough.
I was anxiously attempting to control every aspect of the adoption process, and one way was through having a perfect home study. I googled suggestions and came across a post about surviving the home study. The hopeful adoptive mama asked herself what the smells of home, a parent, a good parent were.
“I am sprinkling cinnamon on the apples, lots of it, to make sure the aroma of my own domesticity, of my promise as a mother, is unmistakable.” Jeanne Marie Laskas “Pre-Parenthood: Surviving the Home Study”
It’s a funny story of a mama making homemade applesauce for the first time to establish her worth as a good mom, but how often do we find ourselves bearing unnecessary burdens to prove our abilities as moms?
A “good mom” doesn’t feed her kids frozen chicken nuggets for lunch. A “good mom” keeps an immaculate home. A “good mom” is the PTA president or unschools her children – depending on who you ask.
Where do these expectations come from?
I can assure you that they are not from the Scriptures.
Mama, God’s expectations aren’t Pinterest expectations, the expectations you set after scrolling through perfect Instagram posts, or the expectations of the mom clique you strive to identify with.
Let’s reclaim the mundane moments of motherhood, finding fulfillment and joy, as we recognize that less is more.
Move from Guilt to Freedom
“The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of on my own performance is a very freeing and joyous experience. But it is not meant to be a one-time experience; the truth needs to be reaffirmed daily.”
– Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace
How did God save you? Through your hard work at being the perfect person?
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
– Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV
Reread the verses.
“But God…” “by grace…” “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness…” “by grace you have been saved…” “gift of God, not a result of works…”
If God’s grace was sufficient to save you from eternal punishment, why do we not believe it is enough to sustain us today?
Why are we still striving to prove our worth as moms when we can find freedom in the Gospel?
Mama, less is more because no matter how much you do, you can not earn your salvation or God’s favor.
Strive for Holiness, Not Unnecessary Expectations
You may recognize that God alone saves, but struggle with the commands to strive for holiness throughout the Scripture.
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
– Matthew 5:48 ESV
Yes, God does hold us to a high standard of holiness, but those expectations are different from the world’s expectations. They are not a heavy burden but are a gift for our good and His glory.
Because God is perfectly good, His commands for our lives and His expectations are also perfectly good. Unlike worldly expectations of motherhood that feel both never-ending yet always changing, God has clearly made known His desires for us through the Bible.
In addition to being known and unchanging, God’s commands are not a burden because we cannot pursue them by ourselves.
“God does not bring us into His Kingdom then leave us on our own to grow. He continues to work in our lives to conform us more and more to the likeness of His Son. As Paul said, ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:6). This continuing work of God is called ‘progressive sanctification’…
So progressive sanctification very much involves our activity. But it is an activity that must be carried out in dependence on the Holy Spirit. It is not a partnership with the Spirit in the sense that we each – the believer and the Holy Spirit – do our respective tasks. Rather, we work as He enables us to work. His work lies behind all our work and makes our work possible.”
Mama, less is more because you don’t have to keep adding worldly expectations to your daily to-do list. Instead, you can work toward holiness through the Holy Spirit’s enabling.
Enjoy the Mundane Moments by Recognizing that Less is More
Here are some practical steps to cutting out unnecessary expectations
- Pray. Pray that God would open your eyes to the expectations you have set for yourself. Confess your mindset that more and more work would cause you to earn God’s favor.
- Read your Bible. Turn from worldly expectations of what it means to be a good mom and turn to a life characterized by the fruit of the Spirit. Know God and His words so you can grow in His likeness.
- Remember that less is more. Look at your to-do list. Can you free up time by removing unnecessary burdens that aren’t fruitful for your family?
What Burdens Do You Carry That Are Self-imposed?
Comment below with the burdens with which you most struggle. I promise you aren’t alone, mama.
Your daily time in the Word doesn’t have to look like an Instagram Influencer. Most mamas cannot open their Bible with a fresh latte and sugar cookie candle next to them, surrounded by nothing but silence. If unnecessary expectations keep you from approaching the Bible, I encourage you to return to the Word today. If you don’t have a plan or don’t know where to start, the “Look to Jesus” Bible journal provides a guided method for busy moms to read daily.