A few months ago my friend Misty and I met for an impromptu play date at the park. As we were chasing our kids around, she asked me a question that made me chuckle. “So what do you do all day?” It’s a question we often ask ourselves as mothers, but not many are brave enough to put out in the open. We soon discovered that I spent most of the day doing “damage control” with my eighteen-month old son, who enjoys rampaging through the trash and emptying cabinets, and she was going through the separation anxiety phase with her 10-month-old daughter. Activities that, in the grand trajectory of life, may not seem to matter. Times when it’s easy to question whether we are really making an impact, doing something valuable with our lives.
Then comes social media. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, you name it… everyone’s seemingly neat little lives posted for the whole world to see, and endless opportunities for mothers to make comparisons which lead to feelings of inadequacy. We talked about the perfectly made crafts we see mothers doing with their children on Pinterest, and I wondered if anyone posted advice for dealing with the consequential headache.
Our conversation reminded me of a parenting devotion I recently read by Jim Daly, who states that one of the pitfalls we often make when raising children, especially when we spend significant time looking at social media, is that we compare other people’s “highlights” to our “blooper reels.” Although there are some exceptions, most moms aren’t posting on Facebook about their son’s decision to redecorate his room with poop or their daughter’s spontaneous meltdown on aisle ten of the grocery store. And when we compare these types of moments to someone else’s “highlights,” when the kids are behaving and playing nicely, not only do we set ourselves up for disappointment but we miss out on the blessings and gifts God has given each of us, uniquely shaped and made to reflect His glory.
Paul writes in Ephesians “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, New Living Translation) Not God’s rough draft, scrap work, or mistake. God’s masterpiece. Embrace this truth, fellow moms. Although there will be moments, sometimes even days, when it feels like your life is simply one huge mess, each event tells a beautiful story. When we step back and see the connectedness, how the way we handle the discouraging times affects the course of our lives, we can then catch a glimpse of the bigger picture. Then we realize that even when covered in spit up and poop, if we love God and love our children even the “blooper reels” really do matter.