I'm not just a blogger, I'm a blog reader. I like having a voyeuristic little peek into the lives of other families. I like feeling like I'm eavesdropping on the victories and struggles that families like mine sometimes face. But I'm often chagrined as I read.
I get the sneaking suspicion that SOME blogging Mamas are painting too pretty a picture of their lives ON OCCASION. Maybe I'm being snarky here. But I just MIGHT have a point . . .
Early on in my life as a homeschooling parent, I would often read the posts from wiser, more "mature" mothers on our online support group and leave the computer in tears. THEIR children were studying Latin at four years old. THEIR children were willingly giving all their birthday gifts to starving children in Africa. THEIR children were cooking full meals for their families at six years old while Mama milked the goats, milled her own wheat, tilled her organic garden and sewed yet another beautiful garment - ALL AT THE SAME TIME!
I wondered WHY it seemed everyone else had brilliant, altruistic, near-perfect children when mine were just . . . regular kids. It was not until I was invited to the home of one of the most active "posters" on the loop that my fears were assuaged. Pardon the graphic nature of this little stroll down memory lane but, within five minutes of entering her home, two of her children had a SCREAMING fight and one ate a bugger while making eye contact with me. It hit me like a ton of bricks - I compared the "public image" she shared of her family with the intimate, deep, inner workings of my own family. It was apples to oranges! My pride was wounded by her paintbrush ... until the visit.
Those of us who are stay-at-home moms, and especially if we homeschool, have an awful lot of self-worth tied up in our prodigy. Singing their virtues to the world is another way of validating all the blood, sweat and tears invested in these tiny, flawed beings. When they shine, we shine.
It is important, though, to remember that those of us who read blogs are often looking for something: encouragement. We want to be reassured that, despite the failings and missteps our children sometimes take, they are normal and forgiveness is at hand. We want to know that although we are not perfect parents, our Heavenly father is and that HE is working, through the trials and joys, to craft our children into the image of HIS son.
Moms need to know that ALL moms . . . even "good" moms, make mistakes or get tired sometimes. We eat cereal for dinner, let the laundry pile up until we have to "go commando", and we take the day off school when we probably should have opened the books. We slip up and say a bad word every now and then and miss a quiet time in trade for half an hour on Facebook. We don't take pride in our shortcomings but we recognize they are there. We ask for forgiveness when it's called for and strive to do better the next day.
That's what grace is for.
That's why blogs and books by "perfect moms" lose their appeal so quickly. The discouragement of an unattainable standard weighs heavy on the heart. The desire to shrink our babies back to infancy and have a "do over" is not an option and we believe the "goat milking, organic food serving, husband nightly devotion leading" life is the only one that pleases God.
The life that pleases God is laid out clearly in His word.
"A broken and a contrite heart the Lord your God will not despise". Psalm 51:17
"He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble". James 4:6
There is no one perfect but Jesus Himself. Anyone who sets herself up as such is a fraud.
Yes, we moms have much to learn from each other. Many of us are weak in areas where others are strong. Many of us are practiced in disciplines where others are new.
Every word shared should be "seasoned with salt and full of GRACE" Col.4:6.
Read with caution, dear sisters. Stick with what challenges you and spurs you on to love and good deeds.