mothering spirit vs. mompetition

I prefer words to technology. But in the midst of a busy week of work meetings and a cross-country wedding, I haven’t had much time to write.

And yet, I simply had to figure out how to embed videos so that I could share these with you:

If you haven’t yet seen any of these darkly hilarious, dripping with sarcasm, monotone cartoon videos, then check out Xtranormal.com. (The “seminary” video is particularly hilarious. And depressingly true.)

When I first watched this pair of videos, on being a working mother and being a stay-at-home mother, I laughed so hard I practically cried. The creative genius behind the “Mompetition” videos has perfectly captured the mommy wars: the dark side of our parenting that causes us to gloat about some choices and guilt about others.

Regardless of where we work or how we raise our children, we use the Exact Same Words to share our stories. We are much more similar to each other than we realize.

As a mother who works mainly from home, I often feel caught between these worlds. Many of the friends with whom I can socialize during the day are stay-at-home moms. I know their world of doing laundry, making dinner, disciplining toddlers, keeping house. We share coffee while our kids share cheerios; we celebrate their latest accomplishments and complain about unequal divisions of housework between spouses.

Yet I am also a working mother. I have deadlines to meet, emails to respond to, phone calls to make, meetings to plan. When I get together with other mothers who work outside the home, we complain about the work-life balance, finding good child care, making time for ourselves. We juggle schedules and sippy cups, laptops and lunch boxes.

When I consider these varying worlds from a mothering spirit perspective, I’m reminded of the image of the Body of Christ. We are all part of one body, called to support each other and our diverse vocations. When we waste our time, energy, and words tearing each other down instead of seeking to build each other up, the entire body suffers. Parents need more, not less, help to do the challenging (and often thankless) work they are called and gifted to do.

As both mothers voice wistfully at the end of the videos, “I wish we could all just support one another through this journey, because in the end, we have the hardest job in the world.”

The mothers I know often wonder what our communities would look like – how our health, happiness, and well-being would improve – if we did just that. I wonder how our churches would look if we did the same…

“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (1 Cor 12:26)

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