Have you ever found yourself in the crossfire of the Mommy Wars? Whether it is the battle of the stay-at-home moms versus working moms, formula moms versus breastfeeding moms, disposable diapering moms versus cloth-diapering moms (or any other dispute you can think of), chances are you’ve read something about this ongoing battle.
Most of what I’ve read has tried to call a truce between these opposing camps. Such blogs address the issues that the opposing camps fight about, but few seem to get to the heart of the matter. While I do think there are biblical principles that have implications for how a woman lives, works, and parents, I also think there is a lot of freedom in Jesus concerning these choices. But this is not another blog post about that. This post addresses the heart behind the mommy wars, not the specifics of them.
The problem with mommy wars is that each woman is trying to define herself by what she does.
Take the stay-at-home mom vs. the working mom, for example. The stay-at-home mom says, “Look at me staying at home, value me, I’m significant.” The mom working outside of the home says, “See what I can do, value me, I’m significant.” Each person is turned inward, asking people to cherish them, notice them, and esteem them for things that they do.
Here’s what God says about that approach, and humanity has proven him right again and again: the more and more that we try to prove our own significance and self-worth, the more self-centered and depressed we become. That’s because we were not created to be the center of our life. We were made to run on the glory of God, just as cars were made to run on gasoline.
God also made us in His image, creating us to carry his likeness and extend the worship of His glory throughout the world. God is who gives us the only value and significance we’ll ever have. Our value has nothing to do with improved “self-worth” or being valuable on our own; it all comes down to WHOSE image we bear. God made us, and Jesus died for us. That’s it. That is the only reason you are valuable.
So when we begin to loudly tout our “I’m amazing because I do ____” mantra, thus pointing to our own works instead of God, we will always feel defeated and depressed. Cars can’t run on water, and we can’t run on self-praise. That means the answer is not telling ourselves that we are significant because of what we do. Instead, the answer is only found in clinging to the promise and hope of the gospel: that while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us. Jesus, the God of the universe, stepped into our mess and sacrificed His life for us. In doing so, all of the things that were broken by our sin were made whole.
In light of that truth, pointing to our own works is desperately misguided. “Pay attention to me! Value me! Look at what I can do! Affirm my lifestyle choices!” It’s all wrong, and it’ll never work. God made to reflect His glory—that’s the only thing our lives can ‘run’ on. Therefore, the way that we live our lives and go about our work (whatever that is) should say, “Value Christ; He has done everything. He is worth your life! He is beautiful! He is worth cherishing!” It is in reflecting His glory that true happiness and joy are found.
No matter what side we take in the mommy wars, we all need to stop building our identities on what we do. That’s the simple answer to the true cause of conflict in the mommy wars: stop pointing to yourself and look to Jesus. That may sound like a ‘Jesus Juke’ or trite Christian quip, but it’s not. Jesus is the only path to peace for sinful mommies everywhere