Despite the constant messages that mums need ’wine o’clock’ just to get by, as Christians we know Jesus offers a radically different perspective and dialogue, says author Clare Luther.
As mums we’re on the receiving end of daily social media images, memes and reels that tell us we’re being robbed of ‘me’ time. We’re tired. We’re juggling too much. We’re overworked and we’re under-appreciated. The message is ‘self first’ and affirmations of self-help mantras, spontaneous ‘wine-o-clock’ moments, a night out, an overdue lie-in, or a few days away with the girls will pull us through.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we can lose several hours scrolling through social media posts that appear entertaining and harmless, without an awareness of how these messages are impacting our thinking. Rest and restoration is totally biblical, but social media can so easily lead us away from Christ. If left unchecked we can venture down a one-way path of comparison and confusion, worrying that we aren’t getting things right, or becoming frustrated, in an entitled way, that our ‘me’ time is not being met. Subtly our focus becomes self, we model unhelpful behaviours to our children and use coarse or unnecessary language, because it’s the norm.
However, as Christians we know Christ offers a radically different perspective and dialogue.
Having parented two daughters into their teens, I can say that parenting is one of the hardest jobs God has given me. In the blink of an eye, I went from only having to organise myself and my career, to having the responsibility of putting another person first. My tiny dependent bundles of joy compromised all I had previously known and without reference or practice I was left to navigate doing life differently. It was a shock and the learning hasn’t stopped as I continue to parent new ages and stages in their lives.
Over the years I have made a conscious effort to pay attention to who I am listening to, where I seek comfort and who I root my identity in. It is not easy being alert to the ways of the world as things can seem so attractive, but what I do know with unshakeable confidence is that I cannot parent without Christ. He is a living God working in me through His Spirit, to nourish and nurture the children He has given specifically to me and my husband. And, I have the Bible - the best instruction manual ever - packed with wisdom and encouragement to support and guide me in a godly way. What a privilege and a blessing!
Yes, as mums we’re being robbed of ‘me’ time but only because God has gifted us the miracle of raising a child. Through Christ we have His Spirit to give us the mindset of Christ and guide us in our decisions, at all times. It is not a one-way street, but a two-way interactive conversation, on tap!
Yes, we can find ourselves feeling tired; Christ says come to me and I will give you rest.
Yes, we may be juggling too much; Christ says that children are a gift from God and He will equip us with strength to endure.
Yes, we can feel overwhelmed and overworked; Christ gives us all the guidance and support we need to bring up our children with discipline and instruction that comes from the LORD.
We can find ourselves feeling tired; Christ says come to me and I will give you rest.
Yes, we may feel under-appreciated at times, but not in God’s eyes. We are seen and known by God in our every move. He knew us before He formed us in our mother’s womb, He knows the number of hairs on our head, He knows the words on our lips before we even speak them. He is present and with us, we matter to Him and He loves us – we know this because through Christ He came to show us how to live and gave up His life for us.
Our role of being a parent is one of costly service and respect, one of deep love and commitment, one of belonging and security. The world says ‘what’s in it for me?’, God says, ‘impress who I am on their hearts, talk about me, parent with me and great will be their peace.’
I would love to encourage you to start listening to Jesus’ inviting truths, relatable words, and appealing instructions of how to parent instead of listening to the ways of the world. Although self-help affirmations and occasional nights out provide temporary relief nothing can sustain and maintain us on our parenting journey like the Word of God. There is no denying that this parenting journey is tough, and will always be, but take heart that we are loved, known, appreciated, valued and held … only in Christ’s strength can we persevere with the job He has blessed us with.