I have been thinking about this concept for awhile, but have never put it into words. I am a “young” mom, not by age, but by the age of my child (daughter is 1 1/2 years old). So I by no means am an expert in motherhood, nor claim to ever be one. If you walked into our home, you would see that I clearly do not have it all together.
My husband and I struggled to have children not in a fertility sense, but in a physical sense. My congenital heart disease made pregnancy a life-threatening risk for many years. I sunk into a deep pit of low self-worth because I thought my true identity was to be in motherhood – which became the one thing I could not obtain. I thus found myself at the bottom of the hierarchy pit – the “not able to have children” label.
As many of you know, we were blessed with two little babies inside a gestational carrier for 3 weeks, until God called them home, leaving us with empty arms. Then in 2015, through the miraculous power of God, I became pregnant with our daughter Mazy Grace who is now 1 1/2 years old.
I finally made it past the first hierarchy tier and entered earthly motherhood.
I used to think that I did not see or think motherhood to be a hierarchy, but the more I live, the more I realize I do. It’s my judgments, my assumptions, and my own way of thinking, that creates this hierarchy of motherhood.
A hierarchy is where we label or see something above something else – a working up towards something, to achieve a specific goal. That is my own loose definition, but that is what I see a hierarchy as being.
As a mom, my labels have created a hierarchy, whether I think I label or not. And you will soon see that you probably live the hierarchy of motherhood pattern too.
Think about a top-tier mom. What would you put as the top tier of the motherhood hierarchy? A can-do-it-all mom? A mom who has 7 (chose that number for no specific reason) kids, can go to the grocery store AND get all of the groceries with no child losing it? And no extra items landing in the cart? Can homeschool their children and every one of them is a straight A student? Makes everything from scratch and has a picturesque home? Never has a speck of dirt on the floor?
As we try to climb this hierarchy that we instill on ourselves, we start to label and think “at least I DON’T do that or at least I do THIS for my kids”. It is probably safe to say we have all had thoughts with regards to the hot topics of motherhood, which I have talked about before. The thing is, when we put judgments on others and on ourselves, with regards to where we fit on the hierarchy, we are NEVER satisfied, but always thinking of ourselves as better or as worse than others. It’s a vying for position, for contentment, and confidence.
And let me tell you, myself included, we are wasting our time. We are doing nobody, including ourselves, any good when we label and view ourselves as above or below on the hierarchy of motherhood. You may think that you do not label, but subconsciously you do. Do you see yourself fitting into any of these categories? I am NOT saying either one is right or wrong. I am just giving examples.
Moms who potty train by a certain age vs. moms who wait
Moms who use cloth diapers vs. moms who use disposable
Moms who put socks on their kids vs. moms who just put shoes on (if any)
Moms who eat chips vs. moms who do not
Moms who let their kids cry it out vs. moms who do not
Moms who breastfeed vs. moms who use formula
Moms who wear make up vs. moms who do not
Moms who wash their hair every day vs. moms who do not
Moms who put their kid in every sport vs. moms who do not
Moms who buy all new clothes vs. moms who do not
Moms who sleep with their kids vs. moms who do not
Moms who stay home with their kids vs. moms who work
Moms who have a consistent bedtime vs. moms who do not
Moms who vaccinate vs. moms who choose not to
Moms who homeschool vs. moms who send their kids to school
Moms who are super in shape vs. moms who do not exercise
Of course there are some comical ones in there, but you get my drift. I am sure you found yourself in one category or another. Maybe even when you read a certain “vs.” you thought how could any one DO or NOT DO that?
THAT is how we create a hierarchy of motherhood.
We categorize, we label, and we judge. I know for me personally, it is incredibly helpful to talk with other moms who have been there! I feel understood and not judged. But when hot topics and the do’s and don’ts of motherhood come up, I want to crawl in a hole, for fear of feeling like I am put on a certain tier. Of feeling less of a mom.
I know I do it to myself and I know that many other mothers do the same thing. But I am learnING (have not arrived and never will), but I am learning that it does not matter what other mothers do because God has called ME to be the best mom I can be. How someone else raises their child is between them and God. Not me and them and God. I can show concern if a child is harmed in any way, of course, or lend a helpful word if I’ve tried something and someone was seeking advice, but really, it should stop there.
We are all imperfect mothers, raising imperfect kids.
We are bound to fail. We will fail. So why not fail together? Why not lift each other up in the hard times? I have had so many “I thought I never would’s…” shoved in my face. It’s because when we are imperfect and our kids are imperfect, it can create a crazy mess. But a crazy mess that God is redeeming everyday. Redeeming our hearts, redeeming our mothering, and redeeming our relationships.
Let’s walk beside each other, in all of our imperfectness, and crush the hierarchy of motherhood. We will all never reach the top because there is no top. God expects us to do our best and that is the best we can do. And our best is OUR best.
To all the moms out there – love you all! Let’s do this.