Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Comparison Trap {Mothers at War}

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Galatians 1:10

This is going to be one of those blog posts that you will either love or hate. It has been on my mind for a while to write about comparison in families. For example, do you vaccinate your children or choose not to? Do you homeschool or send your kids to public school? Do you cloth diaper or use disposables? Do you stay home with your children or work outside the home? Do you eat all natural food or do you eat what you can afford? Do you breast feed or bottle feed? Do you have 10+ children or just 2 or 3?

In our culture the "it" thing to do is to write (or talk) about all of the above mentioned things. This is one of the reasons I closed my Facebook account (HERE is the post). I felt criticized if I stated my opinion by other moms. I felt like I was a bad mom because I chose something different than everyone else. Why do we judge one another and compare ourselves to others?

Like the above bible verse says, are we seeking the approval of God or man? Do we do things because it's the trendy thing to do or because we have prayed about it and feel called to do or not do something? These are all questions I have asked myself about life. I have been told by family, friends, and complete strangers that I am making the wrong decisions (no matter what it may be). 

One big thing that just really gets my blood pressure up is the big family versus small family debate. I have three children. They are all boys. They are ALL energy. LOL! For me, personally, I feel like I have a big family. I am not sure that I could handle much more than I already have. I don't feel called to have more children at this point. Maybe you have 6 children and really want more. That's OK. I don't hold it against you and you shouldn't hold it against me if I have "only" 3. I know God calls us all to have different size families. 

Lately, I have been reading a lot of blogs about "Large Families". I get have more children than me. You have "as many children as God blessed you with". Well, what if God only blesses you with 3? Will you be content with that? What if God only blesses you with 1? Will you be OK with that? I think some of these women would not. We all judge one another so harshly as mothers because we want everyone else to think like we do. That is just simply not possible. I don't think God wants us all to be clones of one another. I have heard so many times that large families feel so judged and looked down upon by those of us with "smaller" families. I grew up in a family of 5 brothers and sisters. So, there were 6 of us all together. I love large families. 

What I need to get off my chest is how large families are making those of us with less children feel. I recently got an email from a blogger. It is a very sweet website that hires out writers to help them with articles. They were looking for mother's to write about their families and homemaking and such. The only catch was you had to have 4 or more children. Four or more? Why is that? If you have less than 4 children you don't have an opinion about how to manage a household? It just got me thinking about how I really feel about the subject. 

What defines a large family or a small family? Who is this person that sits on some throne somewhere that determines whether or not I can say I have a big family or not? My husband and I have prayed extensively about our family size. God may choose to bless us again someday with another child through natural birth or adoption. But, that is my business. I wish we would all just get off of our soap boxes and get on our knees. Pray. Pray for guidance, forgiveness, and discernment on the subject. 

Please don't look down on me with my "small" family of 5. I promise not to give you the crazy eyes when I see you with your 8 children. I will smile at you and give you a knowing look that says "Good for you mama for doing what God has called you to do." But, whatever you do, don't ask me when I am going to have another one. Don't ask me if I'm expecting. Yes, I have extra weight since having 3 children. I am aware of the way I look and I am fine with it. I promise not to ask you the horrible question all mama's of large families (and small) get asked "You know how that happens, don't you?" Or, the other question "when are you going to stop?" It's none of my business. Oh, and one more thing please don't be offended if I ask "how do you do it?" I am not asking because I think you are some crazy lady who has children because she wants to drive others nuts. I am genuinely asking because I have a hard time understanding how you do it when I can't even imagine more than my 3 boys. 

Let us promise to not compare lives with each other. Let us be content with what we have and be happy for others as well. Just remember, there are families out there that have no children and would give anything to have just one. Just one little person to call their own. Just one little person to love and teach and hold and watch grow up. I see nowhere in scripture that says "thou shalt have X amount of children." It simply says to "be fruitful and multiply".

We mother's need to encourage one another and lift one another up. We need to have each other's backs and look out for one another. Being a mom is not an easy job. It is one of the hardest (and most rewarding) jobs on earth. It is a high calling. I love what I do but I also know that I will answer to God for all that I teach my children. I take that very seriously.

So, whether or not you vaccinate, homeschool or public school, breast feed or bottle feed, have 1 child or 12 children, don't judge. God knows your heart and you know your reasons for what you choose for your family. Remember, we are all different and called to different things for our families. I pray that this blog post will help you to understand my heart and how I truly feel about the subject of family size.



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