We’ve all heard of (and experienced) the Mommy Wars. But what is God’s view of it all?
As mothers, we can feel completely removed– even from other believers– if we make a parenting choice that is contrary to what they are choosing or what they chose. No matter where you live, if you’re reading this and you’re a mom, you’ve likely faced one of these issues, and may have butted heads with another Christian mama about it:
- Stay at home vs. Career moms
- Breast vs. Bottle
- Quiverfull vs. any limiting of family size at all
- Schooling choices
- TV & Video games: yay or nay?
- To vaccinate or not
- Home birth vs. hospital
- No pain medication vs. an epidural
- Sleep issues (co-sleeping, front/back sleeping)
- Halloween, “Reformation Day,” or nothing at all
- How soon to talk about x, y, or z with your kids
- When/if to get cell phones
- Extracurricular activities
- Girls going to college
- Bible college vs. secular college
- Adult children living at home or not
- Dating vs. courtship
- Hair and clothing styles – both boys and girls
So many women feel beaten down for their parenting choices. Or proud and combative about their choices. Or angry about other people’s choices. Or bitter about other people’s reactions to their choices.
The thing is, none of those outcomes are good.
And none of those options are centered on God. They’re all centered on US.
Mommy wars easily end in pride, heartache, and frustration. With each other. With ourselves. And that’s not the way we Christians are supposed to interact.
There are some good things that can come when we share about our OWN choices. Curious people are satisfied. Confused people find more clarity. Unsure people may find sure footing (either in agreement or disagreement). Even people who are confident in their own choices may find their views/opinions sharpened and strengthened by hearing various other viewpoints. Sharing the biblical basis for our own decisions in parenting, home life, or marriage can be helpful for others who are either peers traveling the road with us, or for those who are slightly behind us on the road… to serve as guideposts for them as they eventually face some of the same choices in life.
But even in that (just talking about our own choices), we need to be careful.
In electronic format, words can be so easily misinterpreted, and the same sentence can carry completely different meanings if read with venom or honey as the perceived “attitude”.
WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT THE MOMMY WARS
Here are some principles from Romans 14 (a chapter about Christian disagreement) that can be helpful for us as we sort through and discuss these issues of motherhood, particularly online:
(My thoughts of what we can infer from each command are after each bolded main idea.)
- Welcome others (vs. 1) – We are, in our flesh, unwelcoming. We are quick to section ourselves off into groups of those with whom we agree.
- Do not quarrel over opinions (vs. 1) – We are, in our flesh, argumentative. We like to be “right”.
- Do not pass judgment on others (vs. 4, 10) – We are, in our flesh, critical and condemning. We like to be a part of “us” and not “them”.
- Be fully convinced in your own mind (vs. 5) – We may walk around airing opinions that we aren’t fully convinced of. We may have a tendency to not think through things carefully. We might do things half-heartedly– things we’re hesitant or unsure about.
- Do not despise one another (vs. 10) – In our flesh, we may feel hatred for or look down on the people with whom we disagree. Though we are called to love, our disagreements can quickly deteriorate that love we are to have for one another.
- Remember that we will give an account to God (vs. 12) – Not only for our words, but for our actions and beliefs. We are quick to forget that we’re each responsible for our own lives.
- Decide never to put a stumbling block in the way of someone else (vs. 13) – We can unnecessarily build walls or barriers between us and others. We can trip other people up.
- Don’t intentionally and overtly do something to grieve another believer (vs. 15) – We can cause pain to others by our choices and words.
- Pursue peace (vs. 19) – We should major on the things that we can agree on with the Christians around us.
- Pursue what will mutually build up one another (vs. 19) – Find common ground and strive to sharpen one another in that area. This doesn’t come naturally; we have to work at it.
- Even if you have peace about something, if it grieves another believer, don’t make a show of it. (vs. 20-22)
- Whatever you do, do it in faith. (vs. 23)
In regard to the “mommy wars” and the way these things play out in close community, I think #11 can be the most difficult… because ultimately, our choices will be seen. If you DO sleepovers, other parents will probably know. People ASK how your birth went, so you talk about it. Others will know if your children do courtships or dating relationships. Women who work, or stay home, can’t generally hide that fact.
So that makes these things more complex.
But these basic principles are beneficial for me to regularly revisit, to remind myself of what’s best, and what’s true. I want to be a woman who stands firm where God’s Word is clear, and who gives grace in the areas that are less black and white. I want to handle disagreements and differences the way God lays out.
And that means that I need to see to it that even while I’m convinced about my own convictions, that I work to keep my nose out of other people’s choices in the gray areas, and pursue peace and unity above “rightness.”
IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE: Which of these do you think is most difficult in the context of “mommy wars?”