I often watch The Today Show. Last week they aired a segment on Supermoms. A study has been done which shows that women who try to be Supermoms struggle with depression. These women not only hold a career outside the home, but also manage affairs with the children and try very hard to have a fabulous marriage. And let's not forget the endless demands of the home as well- dishes, laundry, cooking, etc. The supermom is clearly someone under a lot of pressure. She's someone trying to sculpt the perfect life for herself, or at least the appearance of one. And all of these things have left her feeling hopelessly empty.
Not surprising. If our world is revolving around ourselves and our achievements, no wonder it's depressing when we're not living up to our own standard.
The segment got me thinking, as usual. What does the gospel have to say to the Supermom?
True supermoms know they aren't all that super.
The gospel says that I'm not perfect. More than that, I'm desperately UN-perfect, flawed in every way! Sin has reached down into and distorted every facet of my life, from my relationships with friends and family to my marriage to my career to my health... even to something as simple as the way I see the world. And myself. And God. And if all that is true, why should it be surprising when I can't be perfect at everything, or ANYthing? The gospel frees me to admit that I'm fallen, and living in a fallen world. And this admission is freeing indeed.
Their joy outweighs their trials.
The gospel also says that having everything wonderfully in order isn't what brings me fulfillment in life. Often as moms we place so much of our value and personal sense of well-being in our kids. If my kids are happy, life is going well. If my kids are sick, I'm fearful. If they grow up and hate me and never want to talk to me again, I'll be a failure. Or maybe it's our husband who we build this foundation of joy upon. Or maybe it's financial security, or a successful career, or even simply feeling like a "good" person. It could be many things, it could be anything! But the gospel says that one thing matters: I belong to Christ, and he never changes. If I can stake my life on that and on nothing else, infinite joy will be mine even if the world around me is crumbling.
Supermoms don't rest in their accomplishments.
One more thing: the gospel says that it's Jesus who justifies me. A Supermom wannabe will strive to make the things in her life be agents of her justification. Meaning this: she looks upon her achievements as deserving gold stars, and she uses them to soothe herself when she feels like a failure. It's kinda like when I eat chocolate ice cream because I had a bad day. Except it's much less obvious and much more serious, because she's trusting in her own goodness instead of in Christ's. She points to her measly little gold star chart and exclaims, "This is what makes me good enough! This is what makes me deserving! Look at all I've done." And maybe those things are good things. But they fail over and over to bring us the peace and completeness we so desire- peace with God, and also peace with ourselves and with the world around us. The gospel alone makes this possible, because it doesn't just remedy fallenness- it restores wholeness. Only Jesus' perfect gold-star chart, credited to our name, can do that!
So, here's a word for all the moms out there, including myself, who want to be super: know that you can't be. But Jesus is super for you. He covers all of your mistakes and failures with his blood, and he'll also redeem them! Experiencing this and finding your identity there will make you a better mom, wife, homemaker and/or career-woman than you could ever be just by trying hard to "do it all."