There are two kinds of internet mom: the perfect ones (you know who you are) and the hot mess moms (guilty as charged). If you’re like me (and you are reading this, remember) the reason you tend to fall into category two is because Authenticity. It’s kind of the hallmark of the #momlife.
Keepin’ it real is what we do—posting pictures of our screaming toddler on Instagram, ‘fessing up to the entire interwebs that we forgot it was our turn to bring snacks to preschool, admitting that we hide from our children in the pantry to regain sanity, check Facebook, and down a candy bar. We don’t even mind being called a “hot mess mom” as long as the emphasis is on hot.
Broadcasting our #momfails and offering grace to other struggling moms is what we’re all about. Because it’s good to laugh at ourselves.
But there’s a word I seldom hear in the world of moms, or anywhere else for that matter.
The word is sin.
So let me be really, truly authentic for a minute. There is a whole set of not just struggles, but sins particular to motherhood. If I meet someone for the first time and learn that she is a mother of two toddlers, I can pretty safely guess what some of her struggles are, and the sins that come out of them.
If you’re a mom you know the struggles. Getting the kids to stay seated at meals. Getting everyone out the door on time with shoes on the correct feet. Getting not just the kids but yourself to bed on time, because that kid-free hour in the evening is so precious that you stay up later than you mean to, and then regret it in the morning.
We’ve all been there. Those are struggles, the occupational hazards of our jobs as mothers.
But what about when it’s more than a struggle, more than a #momfail? Most jobs have occupational sins attached to them—temptations that come with the territory. A computer programmer is going to be much more tempted to waste time on Snapchat than a construction worker, for example. Here are three of my #momsins that I’m going to take a wild guess many of you can relate to:
- Laziness: the work of a stay-at-home mom is unstructured and unpredictable. I never know at what moment five people will all need my undivided attention at the exact same time, or on what night my sleep may be interrupted six times. So it’s easy to excuse myself for wiling away time on my cellphone, sneaking ten more minutes of sleep when I should be up-and-attum in the morning, or putting off chores that should have been done yesterday.
- Pride: I should be proud of my children. They are beautiful gifts from God. So I should be the first person to congratulate myself when my children behave well, look cute, or say something sweet, right? I’ve given up a lot to be a mom, so I should get the credit when they’re good kids, right? No, actually. I should be humble and thank God.
- Anger: Like I said, I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for my kids. So when they dare to be unappreciative, snotty little brats (like, on a daily basis), I get hopping mad. Sometimes I fume. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I stew.
Those three sins all have a common thread in that they all come ready-loaded with the same excuse. As a Christian mom, I look around and see a world that is dismissive of my work, hostile to my identity, and disdainful to my children. The church wants to restore dignity to the office of motherhood, and to remind women that it is a wonderful privilege to bear and nurture children.
But in doing so, we often promote mothers to the status of hero or martyr. Which is convenient because if I’m a hero or martyr, nobody can blame me for sneaking in an extra ten minutes of Facebook, or being a little overly pleased at my wonderful, adorable children, or even losing my cool from time to time. Even if those things are kinda-sorta sins, they’re little sins that I commit between noble acts of heroism and martyrdom.
Well, I’m not sure that logic even really works for heroes and martyrs, but even if it did, I’m neither one. What I am is a mom. I definitely can’t get my act together. I can’t even teach our son to flush the toilet, for crying out loud. (Every. Single. Time. #thestruggleisreal)
But more than that, I’m a sinner. Which in a weird way is good news. If all I am is a neurotic struggling #momfailure, all I can do is try to be a better one. And we all know how that goes.
But when we recognize some of our failures as more than struggles and name them as sins, they qualify for Christ’s redeeming blood. Which means both forgiveness and power to change. Yes, Jesus Christ understands our struggles. But he died for our sins—and not just the ones we committed years ago. He died for the sins of motherhood, the sins of this day, the sins of right now.
When I see the huge disparity between what I am and what I want to be, I can take comfort in the words of Romans 7 and 8:
“For I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not…For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through our flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin.”
So celebrate with me this Easter weekend, Moms. Christ’s blood covers over our sins. When we start calling sin by its name, we stop cheapening the blood of Christ and the grace that it affords us. And we begin to experience freedom from sin’s guilt and it’s power.