The Baby Bashers and Why Being Real Isn’t Always the Best Practice

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Not too long ago, I sat in on a meeting of baby bashers.  Now, they didn’t call themselves such, but the way they talked about their children and the need to get away from them, hide from them, regain their sanity after being around them sounded very much as if they did not like them.

As I watched more and more moms getting sucked into the vortex of bashing their own children, I decided I’d had enough and left.  However, what was most bothersome about this gathering was it was all done in the name of “being real.”

I hear a lot of talk wherever women gather about this “being real.”  It seems if you don’t bash your babies, rag on your spouse, and talk about your horrible housekeeping skills, you aren’t being real.  You’re creating a facade that makes you look better than everyone else and makes other mothers feel like complete and utter failures.

While I absolutely agree we should share one another’s trials and share experiences from our own lives that might help others, when did just plain old complaining ever constitute encouraging others?

The people I look to when I need encouragement and inspiration are not those who constantly talk about how irritating their kids are or how inadequate their spouse is or how off-kilter their home is.  The people I want to surround myself with are those who have joy in their struggles, who have learned lessons from their toil, and whose outlook on life is positive and purposeful.  Those are the people who calm me down and lift me up…not the baby bashers.

You see, baby bashers and the like only create a world where nothing is ever right and you have to escape to get your head on straight.  I don’t want that reality.

I want a reality where I learn to love my children, my spouse, my home, my homeschool, and my God more and more every day.  I want to be inspired to leave the pity parties and strive toward something more excellent.  I want others to know there is joy in difficulty, hope in depression, beauty in the every day, and victory in motherhood.

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84 Comments on The Baby Bashers and Why Being Real Isn’t Always the Best Practice

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84 thoughts on “The Baby Bashers and Why Being Real Isn’t Always the Best Practice

  1. I loved what you wrote, but goodness it made me question if I am a baby basher. I would NEVER want to be perceived that way though. Is it wrong at some point to feel the need to step outside of the normal to catch your breath to appreciate the blessings. Is sounds selfish, but I honestly don’t mean it that way. I love my family more than these words can share. But lately I have felt overwhelmed. Is it wrong to share that? Oh no, I’m not doing that by writing mean things about my husband or kids except possibly as feeling underappreciated. Is that wrong? Am I not using Him to get through the rough spots by just wanting to step out of the normal so I can have focus on talking to Him and hearing Him clearly? or should I be able to do it all while staying in the same place? Oh please do not think that I’m being sarcastic but more so asking for guidance or understanding, a sister in Christ. And when I write a change of the normal, I didn’t leave my family at all…instead we all left together on our first vacation in years and the time together with no distractions and just the 5 of us and Him, the ocean and time was so refreshing. I even felt like I got to reconnect with my husband.

    Anyhow, I have never looked at it as baby bashing and goodness I would never want to be a baby basher. God blessed me with these sweeties on earth, and I want to honor Him and them while we are on earth together.

    • I totally understand needing those moments to catch your breath, regroup, refresh! There is nothing wrong with that at all. It’s more how you talk about and treat your children and husband and your household duties. It is just one big whine after another and all you can think about it is getting away and you are continually telling people how you need to get away from the kids? That’s what is unacceptable. 😉

  2. I absolutely agree with this…and think there is a way to be “real” and genuine while pointing to Christ and the hope we have in Him for a changed heart and attitude.
    I think it’s even possible to share about parenting struggles and marriage struggles without a sense of hopelessness or dread or gloom. That’s kinda the focus of my post today…where my hard heart was…and how God is His goodness can changed it.

  3. God bless you for the desire to engage in good deeds (see Titus). Here is the calling of women (older and then younger) – Titus 2:3-5 – “3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Let the commandments of God be your guide (Titus 1:3) not the ways of men.

  4. I was recently trying to get some encouragment regarding my daughter and being at home. I told them I find being at home easier than those around me seem to, I hear women who talk about getting no time, getting nothing done, always being busy, and I don’t feel that way. I begin to doubt myself, feeling like I must be missing something, neglecting something, or doing something wrong.

    The response I recieved was, basically, that I must have an exceptionally easy baby compared to everyone else and I didn’t know what I was talking about.

    Now I assure you, I don’t have one of those exceptionally easy babies. Quite the opposite, my child is very full on, always going all the time, very bright, and very easily frustrated. And yet I feel no need to complain about all the time I don’t have, but rather focus on making the most of the time I do have. I manage our home well, it’s a natural skill for me. I happen to be very good at juggling and multitasking, and keeping everything going at once is usually managable for me. I’ve put hard work into developing those skills and have come a LONG way since first marrying.

    And again the response? ‘Oh, well you’re lucky to have been taught by your mum how to do all this, we’re starting from scratch, etc etc.’

    Another assumption, if I’m not complaining then by default I must somehow have it easier than them? Not that it matters, but in actual fact my mother abused us and abandoned my sister and I in our teens. I lived out of a box moving house to house for my final year of singlehood, and on our honeymoon I was so bad at cooking I set off the hotel fire alarms by burning pasta. PASTA! I suspect most of those women began motherhood with more skills than I did, simply by virtue of having a reasonable example to emulate.

    What I found was that these women complain to make themselves feel better. They each feel the need to have it the hardest, to be working the most, to be better than others through their struggles, because they need to feel justified in their decisions to remain home. The fact I was positive was not a sign of a good attitude to them, it was evidence that I must have it easier than them in some way. It’s the same reason women feel the need to say over and over why staying at home is the hardest job in the world and worth so much, because they’re so insecure in their positions. And I don’t judge them for that, I can be insecure too, but it’s the wrong way to go about finding security.

    My husband works hard, very hard. He comes home exhausted, and his work is physically and mentally draining. And yet, he finds the job ‘easy’ because he has the skills he needs, he feels confident in what he’s doing, he comes home at the end of the day happy. No one would say that, because he comes home happy, he’s not working as hard. If they did they need to spend a day in his work enviroment. But that’s how it is for stay at home mums. If you’re managing, if you’re positive and things are going well, it means you have it easier than the people that are complaining, you’re not working as hard, one might even dare claim that you find being at home easier than working outside the home, which is seen as a terrible thing to find or admit. So we complain and stress, we become negative to feel that we are working ‘hard enough’.

    It’s an awful cycle, one we, as a society, need to break out of. It’s a victim mindset in many ways. And really sad to see. It’s not ‘being real’, not in that context. I am real, I have struggles, Right now I’m ignoring my daughters crying because I just need 10 minutes to clear my head from her day full of activity. I had a breakdown a few weeks ago. And I’m not afraid to admit any of these things, I don’t pretend motherhood is always easy, that’s just as harmful as pretending it’s always impossibly hard. But it’s possible to be real about the negatives AND the positives.

    • “Another assumption, if I’m not complaining then by default I must somehow have it easier than them?…What I found was that these women complain to make themselves feel better. They each feel the need to have it the hardest, to be working the most, to be better than others through their struggles, because they need to feel justified in their decisions to remain home. The fact I was positive was not a sign of a good attitude to them, it was evidence that I must have it easier than them in some way.”

      WOW. I usually skim the comments, but had to slow down over yours. The parts of your comment that I copied and pasted hit home to me. How easy it is for us to slip into this martyr complex as mothers. Thanks for sharing your story – you’ve given me something more to think about on this issue. :) Praising God for the redemptive work He’s wrought in your heart and life.

    • Yes, “victim” is a good word for what I see going on. Honestly, it has to start with those of us who refuse to live like that continuing to live it out and those who do live like that realizing what they are doing and working to break the cycle. I pray the Lord convicts those who need to see this Truth – I know He did this for me!

    • I too was struck by your comment…I believe I have felt the same way you do. If others are complaining and I’m not, do they automatically think my life is perfect? I remember my sister years ago saying that I was lucky to be a housewife and I felt it necessary to point out to her that it was hard on me and no walk in the park. At the time I should have told her that I did feel blessed to be able to be at home, but I got caught in the trap of wanting to ‘correct her misconceptions’ and justify that I worked hard too. Thank God for His grace…I’ve come a long way from that!

  5. Beautifully said, Amy! Baby bashers & husband bashers have always made me feel very uncomfortable. In my 22 years of being a wife and 17 years of being a mom, I’ve always endeavored to build my husband & children up — never tear them down — in front of others. Sometimes I’ve been the “strange” one in the group who actually enjoyed her husband/children. Love always builds up! Blessings, Alisha

  6. This is an awesome post! I definitely used to be one of these ‘baby-bashers’. I couldn’t wait to get away….normally it was with my hubby, but we were acting like we didn’t have any kids most of the time. When they were with us, I griped about them every chance I got. I NEVER thought I’d EVER be a HAPPY stay at home mom/wife and no-way-no-how a homeschooler. I couldn’t wait for school to start each fall!!!!!!

    Thank God he changed my perspective on my children and closed my mouth about anything negative about my hubby (we’ve always been best friends, but it’s so easy to join into gripe fests). Being involved (listening) in any of these types of conversations about how horrible it is to have your children home, or other sarcastic comments, or how stupid and useless husbands are really make me sad now. So much is lost for everyone in that mentality.

    As a former ‘baby-basher’, I thank you for bring this to the attention of so many. It’s time to turn mainstream thinking about families around.

  7. This is an important post Amy.

    I often wonder if I come off as someone who has it all together because I refuse to complain. My personal conviction is that complaint is a sin. It is ungratefulness to God for all that He has blessed us with.

    I love the mothers I am in community with. So so much. I wish I knew some way to encourage them toward the truth that God has gifted me with- the knowledge that all affliction should prompt us to run to Him, not to our friends in complaint, but to Him!

    • I want to make sure I don’t come off as everything being perfect (which can make you unapproachable), but I also want to be the person that offers encouragement to others because I have Hope.

      • Me too Amy- but I don’t know how!

        As someone else commented, I always get told that I must have it really easy, my kids are ‘so good’, I’m just supermum, or that ‘this must really be your calling’. It IS my calling, but it’s theirs too! And I would be a shameful reproach of a woman without God.

        Do you have any advice on ‘being real’ to avoid being seen that way?

        • You will always come off “perfect” or “holier than thou” to the mom who enjoys complaining, but for those moms who just need some gentle guidance, I make sure I let them know I do understand bad days and difficult children. I don’t always give specifics, but I try to set that groundwork and then tell them things I have learned from it or specific ways I have dealt with it.

  8. Thank you Amy! I have never felt that I have to “get away from my kids.” My children are my joy! If I am stressed I may need to “get away to my Savior,” my children are not the problem. My dear husband would tell me when my big guys were little “If there is a problem in the house, look in the mirror.” I can not say that I always liked to hear that, but he was reminding me that I am responsible for my heart.
    God bless you!

  9. Well said. I totally agree. I have found myself avoiding “baby/family/house/homeschool bashing.” I spend more time finding encouragement in the scriptures because this world is currently against what we do and believe.

    Thanks again!

  10. I so hear you! It’s hard to know how to reach out to others, be there for them, and yet not be dragged down. It’s those that are struggling that need to be lifted up….Yet, we need to not be caught in the undercurrent.

    It’s not the lack of reality, but learning from the reality of those who have that trust in the Father when things are hard. They admit it’s hard, unlike those “plastic people” that repel us even though they appear positive. But their hope, their trust is in the Lord. They are learning that the joy of the Lord is their strength. I think that is one thing that is good about reading missionary biographies…even the hard stuff…to our children. It shows what God can do IN harsh circumstances….

    Thanks for these excellent thoughts.

  11. I think being real is somewhere in between the rosy, my-life-is-perfect; and the debbie downer my-life-is-horrible. I’ve been tweaking a blog post about just that topic, but haven’t got it just right yet. I completely agree that the people who are always negative, are really downers to be around, but for me…so are the people who pretend their life is perfect. For me, what’s most encouraging are the people who are willing to admit faults and struggles in the confines of learning, lessons, and overcoming. Or sometimes, just to admit that they don’t have it all together. But, I do agree that it’s a real drag to be surrounded by the baby bashers (or the husband bashers)…I’ve been there many times and it’s really awkward to know what to say, because even though I have some bad moments with my family as well, I have no desire to have a full-on complaining session, and it makes me really sad to see the mothers who just wait for the chance to pawn their children off on somebody, anybody to get away from them…and that attitude is all too common.

  12. Here! Here! You have “soapboxed” on one of the things that I am most concerned about. It’s amazingly discouraging to get together with a group of ladies who literally have nothing nice to say, choosing rather to see who can outdo one another with their tales of horrible husbandry and outrageous kid-dom. I don’t believe that “bearing one another’s burdens” is an invitation to complain about the very gifts God has given us. Thank you for writing… and for allowing me a little soapboxing this morning, too! 😉 Have a great day, Amy.

  13. Thank you for posting this! I couldn’t have said it any better myself! This is exactly how I have felt and I’m thankful that someone I respect feels the same. You put into words my exact feelings so thank you for the confirmation that I’m not a bad person for not wanting this life sucking behavior in my life!

  14. So true! What I’ve noticed also is that when I call someone for encouragement about a parenting issue, certain people will respond with: Oh my goodness, don’t get me started. My kids are doing the same thing and it makes me nuts!
    Um, that’s not encouraging at all! Knowing who will be edifying and take you back to scripture, and who will just whine with you is very important!

  15. I often complain. Now it isn’t on purpose but I find that once I do have the rare chance to talk to another human I just let loose and every negative thought that has been housed inside for too long comes out. Everything from wanting to scream some days to my husband driving me nutso that day or week. I recently realized it’s because I don’t talk enough to others (including God) that when the opportunity presents itself I just can’t help but to go on and on. I don’t mean to bash or make my kids or husband sound like the worst thing in the world it’s just I finally feel like I can express myself to someone that understands firstly a comprehension level above the 3rd grade and secondly has been there done that.

    I to try to surround myself with positive thinkers and doers. Try to learn and grow from experience and watch in amazement as they show moms like me how it’s done.

  16. Beautiful post, Amy, and the portrait of you and your son is just lovely. Seth Godin wrote, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

  17. Agreed! I’m so thankful for the small group of women that encourage me in my pursuit of the things you mentioned above. We all have our trials and moments that we cringe (and then laugh) about! But the focus is not tearing down our husbands, kids and ourselves. So glad that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness!!

  18. I get your blog in my email and don’t often click through to leave a comment, but simply could not go unspoken this morning. Thank you for this lovely post. I read a blog article about a week ago with similar themes that was mostly theologically sound, but perhaps because of the tone or wording…well, it chafed a bit. I appreciate your gentle rebukes and turning it all back towards the Word of God, which tells us to spur one another on.

    I’m actually meeting tonight for a prayer and fellowship time with some other homeschool moms, and it couldn’t come at a better time!! We are all (our family) struggling a bit in our home/school/life right now. This post and also today’s post on Visionary Womanhood are so right what my heart needed to hear in encouragement and focus as we prepare to begin our school year, and as I continue along this path of sanctification He has ordained for my own heart as I raise up my little men and women. Thank you again.

  19. AMEN! This has been on my heart for such a long time! I completely agree with you and have been in that very same situation more times than I can count. I love my husband, children and home, and strive to bring glory to God by giving as much love and care as I can into these precious areas of my life. It is surely not as easy as it sounds, but is surely a very REAL thing! Praise the Lord for speaking your heart in this area! It’s a real encouragement to all of us!

  20. As a recovering baby basher, thank you for your candid perspective! I have spent too much time trying to get away from the 4 blessings God gave me to fulfill my calling as a mom. As I learn to embrace motherhood in its challenges and imperfection, it really helps to hear encouraging words from fellow moms going through the same process. Thank you and God bless you!

  21. Wonderfull post. a little over a year ago God brought this and many other things to my attention and he changed my heart greatly. I started to be more positive and happy and my life changed completely, as did my family’s. I now see how much this goes on with others too and have actually lost friends over my positivity (like not agreeing when they bash others). You and a couple other blogs give me alot of encouragement to keep living for God and not the world. Thank you very much.

  22. Oh my!
    You just said exactly what I’ve thought SO many times!

    I’ve been accused of having a Pollyanna view of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I struggle. Yes, I have issues. But, no, I don’t complain about them. No, I don’t blog about them.

    I want to be an exhorter and encourager. There is no facade for me. I am who I am, both online and IRL.

    Thank you again!

  23. Agreed. We are to approve things that are excellent, let our speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouths, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers, etc.
    In my lowly opinion, the ‘being real’ craze is throwing off the admonition to be discreet, chaste, and in the multitude of words there is always sin. ‘Being real’, as is defined these days, seems to indicate no privacy for those around you in your own home who are working through things.
    It also bothers me that often it is peers talking with each other and ‘being real’ when really, the older are to teach the younger. Peers are to encourage one another, but not necessarily instruct as much, since they are in the same stage of life. Why not look to someone with more experience? What works for you now, may not in a couple of months. An older lady has tried many things and can save you some headache and embarrassment. It is extra saddening when it is the older talking like foolish women.
    God’s Word doesn’t encourage others to blab the unsightly parts of our lives. After one sites an area of struggle, they are instructed also offer the remedies God has shown them. This is seldom accomplished when in the midst of the talking one trashes their husband or child’s reputation. That is called slander, and often breaks the command to not bear false witness.
    There are so many aspects to this, but God tells us in His Word that we are to run to Him when we are struggling: He doesn’t mention running to our women’s group. We are to commune with our own hearts upon our beds and be still, allowing Him to whisper comfort and joy in that still, small voice. When our hearts are overwhelmed, let it lead us to the Rock that is higher than us.
    He has already told us that the trials we face are common to man, we don’t have to actually hear it from others who are in our same position, if we trust His Word on it. He said to cast your cares on Him for He cares for you. He is the only One who can hear your burdens and struggles, and you can know, absolutely for certain, He will listen with no false motives, speak to your heart with no hidden agenda, and counsel you with the failings of those mentioned is His Word with no attached self -aggrandizement or exaggeration. I appreciate your post and I hope my comment isn’t seen as hostile.

  24. Enjoyed this post, Amy! A gentle reminder that our words can either lift people up or tear them down. It hurts my heart to think that our children or husbands would ever hear us talk about them in such a way! May we all strive to not be ‘Baby Bashers”!

  25. Beautifully said. I want to surround myself with friends who listen, and then life me up. Friends who will lend me a little sugar to make lemonade out of my lemons. Not friends who listen and commiserate and pile their lemons on top of mine until all we have is one giant pile of lemons that no one wants.

  26. Great Post Amy! I just wonder if we are more concerned with our “happiness” than our “holiness”. I often hear, wow you have 7 kids and your pregnant again! Wasn’t life easier when you just had 2 or 3? Yes, life was “easier”, but it wasn’t “better”. I am amazed at how wonderful life can be with a houseful of kiddos. It is hard work, but it is sanctifying work. Each little one that God brings to our family strips away my “ugly” and refines me. God is good!

  27. I understand what you mean. I see “being real” as “boy, there are days in homeschooling that I feel like I am really failing my kids” or “today was a hard day, the kids were very off and I don’t feel I handled it like I should at all”. But I see a lot of “when does school start? It can’t come soon enough as I am sick of having them home all day” and the like. I have wanted to ask before, “do you like your kids at all”, but realize maybe they really are fed up, unsupported, and feeling alone and scared, so I try to support them in that moment.

    I admit I have days when I really do just want to go get the gas in the gas can for my husband when he mows so I can have that 10 minutes to just listen to silence. We all have them. We need to regroup when we are on all the time (which we are as Moms). We need that time to take a deep breath, let it out, and sit in the still of the moment for just a few seconds. It helps us to come back and be a much better Mom, a much, much better wife, and a better person overall to be around. I try to use those moments between when my kids go to bed and when my husband gets home to do that. Yes, that 30 minutes really makes a huge difference in my life and allows me to be the kind mom instead of the kind of mom to bash…because that line is often very thin. Most of the time those minutes don’t look monumental. They are possibly just reading some emails, changing into comfy jammies, or simply washing my face and sitting down with a cold glass of iced tea to listen to the silence of the evening. I wanted these kids. I love these kids. They were given to my husband and me by God and we prayed so hard for them. I can’t imagine saying things I have heard others say and I hope they are saying it just to me (or other Moms) and not to their kids and that I am right they are just feeling very alone, without support, and needing someone to say, “I have completely been there”.

    • Katy, your comment blessed me! I appreciate your grace. I believe that we should strive to have that compassionate spirit toward others, and try to see where they are coming from rather than judging them for their actions, and I love that you portray that here, along with an admission that as moms (as people!), we ALL have the occasional bad day, whether we admit it or not.

  28. “The people I want to surround myself with are those who have joy in their struggles, who have learned lessons from their toil, and whose outlook on life is positive and purposeful.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you for this post. I, too, believe that we should be lifting our children and especially our husbands up in praise not tearing them down. I never speak negatively about my husband to others because no one is perfect and all I’m doing is lowering him in the eyes of others and myself. How would I feel if I walked in a room and heard him telling all my faults and imperfections to others? And conversely, how would I feel if I walked in on him telling others about the things he loves about me?

    I think sometimes people think “being real” like that (aka griping, complaining, dissatisfaction aired) helps us get things off our chest so we can move on. But this is contrary, yes far from the truth. When we dwell on the negative things, it becomes our all-absorbing thought, dragging us into a vortex of yuck. Like the Bible says, think on the good things, things that are pure. When we keep on thinking about the blessing God has given us with our spouse and children (and anything else in life, really) we can let that eminate from our very being, so that we can become the very person that we seek out, that cheerful, positive influence who bears up under burdens and continues on.

    Oh that more women could learn this lesson!

  29. There are days(not many) when I would consider myself a baby basher or a husband basher, but to tell the truth, my friends won’t let me get away with it. The girls that I depend on to hold me accountable ALWAYS call me on these times when I am just complaining. One of them is older who doesn’t have kids in the home anymore and so she can look back with wisdom, and the other 2 are right there in the “trenches” with me, and can say I know how you feel, but….It’s always good to make sure you really know who you are complaining to, to make sure who your audience is. Sure it’s nice to have someone agree and tell you that you’re justified in your thinking, but it’s always better to have a sincere, godly woman to tell you when you’re just wrong! For the most part, I can stop myself in the middle of pity parties, but when I can’t, I know that I need to turn to my sisters. And it is a good point to get up and walk away from those kinds of conversations so that you don’t get sucked in. Thanks for sharing this post!

  30. i think it’s a fine line to walk. i will absolutely not follow blogs that continually sound like a “do it like me because i do it right all the time and i’m awesome at everything” type. but i also don’t want to hear an endless list of negativity. i think being real is WONDERFUL. share your joys and frustrations, all for the glory of God!

    • i should add, i 100% agree with you about the ridiculous grasping for more “ME” and less “them”. didn’t want to come across that i disagreed after rereading my comment. it makes me sad when i hear moms complain about their kids needing to go back to school NOW! etc. but, i also want a mom who “keeps it real” by admiting her floor is covered in crumbs and her oldest child just needed some attitude adjustment for the sake of keeping her struggles honest but in a Godly way:)

  31. I totally agree! there was a lady awhile back that I had to distance myself from for this very reason. It broke my heart to always hear her talk about her dislike for her kids. Sometimes I wonder if people fall into that to fit it. I’ve seen it play out that way anyway. As for husband bashing, that really freaks me out. haha You can be frustrated with our husband and still talk about him with respect. And if you can’t, it’s best to not talk at that time. I guess that goes for most things though. Turning my thoughts to God for peace during thoughs extra stressful times is what I need to do more then go “be real” with friends. If that’s (bashing) what being real is, I don’t want to be real.

  32. Thanks for hosting and for a great post. I love being around my children. I hear others bashing their kids and kids in general and I boast about mine. A lady said “well, we can’t all have perfect children”. I replied by no means are my children perfect but I love them and I believe in building them up and not tearing them down.

    My post this week was on Homemade Fabric softener.

    Love your blog hop.

  33. I can so relate – at one time the “baby basher” in my life was my (former) pastor and his wife :(

    Pride can be so incredibly sneaky, and I think sometimes what is at the root of these sorts of get togethers is just that. So often women seem to want to outdo each other…my child is more annoying than yours, my house is more chaotic etc, etc.

    That said, sometimes people assume I must have some sort of special super powers (and I only have 4 children!!). I don’t like to be put on a pedestal. The higher you place me, the further I’ll fall. So I’m honest…I’m often tired, quite often the house is messy etc. But it’s not complaining, just honesty and humility.

    I think it’s one thing to say, “Hey, I’m really struggling with _______. Can you pray for me and give me some ideas?” and another to just complain and be bitter, or actually boast about those things and try to “one up” each other.

    Really appreciated this post :)

  34. Hi Amy,

    This was great. God has convicted of me of this several times lately, and He used your post to do so even more. I struggle with knowing how to ask for advice from other Moms, how to be an encouragement, and how not to be prideful when we do have a victory or answer to prayer.

    Another Amy

  35. A family friend basically told me there was something wrong with me because I don’t “need a break” to just go shopping without the kids. My husband explained “she just loves her kids, loves to be with them.” She didn’t understand. I found myself questioning for a moment – is there something wrong with me? Then I realized that, no, I just know who I am. I’m wife and mom, and all this entails. This is who God has called me to be, and I find joy in embracing that. I’m not better than anyone else, but I sure am glad I don’t have the stress of needing to get away all the time! Being real for me is sharing about the coffee that was spilled on the carpet in the huge fort I built with my kids today. Does anyone know how to remove the leftovers?

    • Spotshot.
      It’s gets everything out (almost) :)

      I love this…
      Though, on the flip-side…it also needs to be okay if a mama does sense the need for a break from time to time.
      Believe me..I’m not at all focused on “me” time.
      But I do think there is something healthy in a break once and a while.
      We have no family in the area that helps and my guy works 65-70+ hr. weeks…so it’s a total gift when he says…”I’ve got the kiddos”…go be refreshed. I view it as a gift from him and a gift from the Lord (and it happens just maybe once or twice a year).
      But just thinking that the grace needs to extend both ways…if that makes any sense? :)
      And I truly LOVE that you LOVE your crew!!! :) That’s the general-overriding-tone that should be there…and it’s beautiful to see/hear.

  36. Thanks for sharing this message! I truly believe every word you posted and could have written it myself. I love how you ended with, ” I want others to know there is joy in difficulty, hope in depression, beauty in the every day, and victory in motherhood.”

  37. Great point Amy! I was in a group recently where the leader was giving everyone permission to share how they think about “killing” their children sometimes. I couldn’t believe it! Then she went on to teach that those people that say their house is clean and do dishes after every meal are lying. I thought, “I do that and I’m not lying. I work really, really hard at it.”

    I never went back to that group. They were just encouraging each other to stay in their misery instead of lifting each other up!

    Thanks for this. Lisa~

  38. I am part of a community that has an incredible number of youngish moms and little children–as in almost no one over forty and nearly fifty children under five and almost none over. I know that when we talk, we vacillate between the “everything is horrible, I need a break” and “everything is wonderful, I have the life I always dreamed of.” A lot of that seems to depend on how much sleep we had in the preceding nights :). If we see someone have too many of those negative moments, it is a sign to follow up on how they are coping with the real strains of living with little ones. So often those comments are thoughtless statements but occasionally they are real signs of desperation and both can be responded to with the same concern about the heart of the person. Are you doing ok? Can I help you right now? Either they snap out of the complaining mode and recognize that they were having an unbalanced perspective or they are grateful for the support in a genuine need. I know at least one case of PPD that received necessary treatment as a result of this approach.
    I do try to strike a balance between admitting that I am sometimes really tired and would like some time either alone or with adults without my home responsibilities and proclaiming how blessed I know that I am. I do believe that sharing stories of weird or difficult things that our kids do is a way of reassuring ourselves that they and our lives are normal and that is fine as long as we are doing it with humor and love. We do need some kind of affirmation that what we are doing is valuable and since most of us don’t have our mothers or any other older women around and are coming out of a work environment which provides fairly consistent performance feedback, we are looking for what we are used to receiving. When we are looking for a point of commonality, it is easier to do it with the hard things too. Everyone’s happiness is a little different but everyone has a poop story to share.
    That said, I agree that the women who only talk about how irritating their family is and I see how they are constantly fobbing them off onto anyone who will care for them are really hard to be around. I have been very careful, when in company with people I don’t know well or with my old coworkers, to admit that I do work hard but to emphasize that I am happy with my life and know that I am incredibly blessed.

  39. THANK YOU!! I quit MOPS because we were encouraged to go so we could ditch our kids for awhile. So many other places and people have the same attitude and how often do I hear “You must be a saint to put up with all those kids!” (We have 4 ages 5 and under.) THANK YOU for posting this!

  40. Thank you for this post. What a wonderful reminder. I do have bad days, I think every mother does. My littles are 3 and 2, and pregnant with #3. I have been tempted to complain online, but it just doesn’t seem right to me at all. I have found greater help by getting alone for a few minutes (letting the children play by themselves with their toys, waiting until after they go down for a nap, etc.) and telling Jesus all about it. It helps so much more than complaining and having everyone sympathize with me and talk about their children doing the same things. God is our ever present help!

  41. One thing that I have found helpful in the world of “being real” is sharing testimonies of when the Lord has brought me through. For example I tend to really struggle in my pregnancies with PSD so I try very hard to take it to the Lord while I am walking though it and after the baby comes, I will share with a struggling mom how I got through ect… this could be anything – training a little one from a bad habit or not keeping up with my laundry. After I have made it through I share this way I am not tempted to have a pity party and complain.

  42. There is dishonesty in over hyping your struggles just to join the bad mouth crowd but some of us don’t have motherhood full of peaches and roses either. I guess I’ve never sat in on a group like that. Most of the moms I know don’t find being mommy of many easy or what we expected because we all grew up in very small families. To me being real is being able to say that I don’t always like my job of mommy, that I really stink at house work and that yes I really do need a few kid free days a year with just me and hubby.
    Hiding your struggles is lying. Not being able to find anyone who has been where you are right now in that awful place where you know you are doing the right thing but it feels more like toture is a very lonely existence. I’ve been there.
    Maybe you could follow this article up with how to properly discuss our struggles without lyling or it turining into a catty whiny session.

  43. I see this sort of thing as the “new” bragging. You see, your husband can’t be worse than mine! Let me tell YOU what he did the other day. Or MY child etc etc etc. I’ll be honest, I am with my son 24/7. He’s only spent the night at my mother’s house 2 times and he’s almost 4. I love him dearly. He’s paramount to my happiness. However, I do need breaks every now and again. I find myself being not as kind or as patient as I need to be if I don’t have a moment. Sometimes, that moment happens early in the morning before he awakes. Sometimes it is at night after he goes to sleep. (he’s the child that wakes up as soon as he hears your feet hit the floor, and won’t go to sleep until he hears you snoring.) And with his dad working six days a week, it’s not often that he can take him out for ice cream or a daddy date. But when he does, I feel completely fresh and ready to be the mother I know he needs to be. But I’ll be honest, sometimes those moments are SO far apart I do complain. But I don’t try to very much. I feel so badly when I hear others complain about their loved ones.