January 2, 2020

Dear Fellow Mamas

If you walked by me today and said, “Hi, how are you?” I would probably smile, “Well, and you?” to which we might nod and wish each other a wonderful day.

I might watch you walk away and marvel at how nice you looked. I may recall your Facebook post a few weeks back of a lovely vacation with smiling children. I might sigh as I think, “She sure is lucky, seems to have the perfect life.” However, I wonder what would happen if I had responded to you, “I’m exhausted. Today I’m feeling a bit defeated and could use some encouragement,” and then proceeded to break down in tears? What would happen if I was vulnerable?

Some have called it “parental burnout;” others call it an epidemic because of media and comparisons which other generations didn’t experience. Doing a web search will lead one to research studies, personal stories, and never-ending ideas and discussions of ideal parenting from experts.

Then, my dear friend, there’s the guilt. Guilt about not spending enough time with my spouse, or because we ate drive-through food yesterday, or because we hurried, and instead of having worship before bed, simply said a quick prayer in order to “check it off the list.” Oh, and the lists . . . lists on the fridge, in my purse, by the bedside table, on my desk in the office — and the list I drafted while stopped at the red light! Oh, no! I’d better not forget what’s on that one!

The secular world has many articles on the “mommy wars” created by comparisons. My dear sister, are we more loving of each other than the secular world? Do we love as Christ loved us? Or are we harsher with others and on ourselves because our lists of perfect parenting are longer from biblical examples and guidance from Ellen White? Are we even more frightened to be transparent because it may not appear as if we are “faithful” enough?

You may find it ironic that I am writing about these things; after all, I teach the Advanced Family Therapy class at Andrews University. But here I am — vulnerably writing this to you as a fellow warrior in the trenches. I tell my graduate students there are no perfect families. One look at families in the Bible shows us that. So, why do we judge? Or compare?

I recognize that the battle for the lives our children will never end until heaven. We shall not rest as we pour out our hearts for them (see Lamentations 2:19).

So, fellow mommy, in this battle that is not against each other, but against the world, can we be like Aaron and Hur in service to Moses as described in Exodus 17? Can we lift each other’s hands up when one is tired? The battle will continue to rage but, like the promise in Psalm 46:5, we need to remind each other that we will not fail, for God is within us and He will help us at the break of day! Like a strong city fortress, we will stand. I will commit to look to my sisters and lift their hands. Let me text one right now and remind her of this promise. And then, maybe, you can text me?

Sincerely, Your Fellow Warrior Mama