As a new mom, Becky Keife had a sinking suspicion she didn’t want to admit to anyone: “There’s something wrong with my child or there’s something wrong with me; either way we are not a match. Surely another mom would do a better job in my shoes.” As the mom of three spirited boys, Becky knows the ups and downs of motherhood and how easy it is to feel inadequate. In her new book, No Better Mom for the Job, Becky shares her journey of discovering that parenting with confidence doesn’t come from just doing more or trying harder, but from leaning on the One who made you a mother. With humor, vulnerability, and biblical insight, Becky speaks hope into all the unsure places of a mama’s heart. It’s a grace to welcome Becky to the farm’s front porch…
Parenting in public sure can crash a person’s confidence.
When there’s an audience to our mothering, we can’t escape the question: What are other people thinking?
Do they think I’m too harsh, too stern, or too strict? Am I not firm enough? Are my boundaries too rigid, too loose, or off base? Do they think I’m talking too close to my fussing child’s face?
I know I shouldn’t get caught up in this what-are-they-thinking whirlwind, but it’s easy to do in the moment.
When your kid becomes that kid who is whining like an entitled punk because you said no to the jumbo box of Ninja Turtle fruit snacks and you’re vacillating between screaming unkind things and just giving in to make the fussing stop.
In that moment, the assumed judgment of onlooking strangers can have an unhealthy sway in what you do or say.
What sticks to my ribs and sinks in my gut in those meltdown moments is that somebody else in my mama role could do a better job.
Someone else could have avoided the scene altogether. But the trouble is, there is nothing in that posture that will help me mother my kids better.
Believing that another mom would do a better job becomes like a bunch of rocks in a backpack I’ve doomed myself to carry.
If you have any idea what I’m talking about, you know how spirit-breaking that weight can be.
My motherhood spirit was often broken because of it.
When all I could do was rest my head on the dirty shopping-cart bar and take a deep breath, begging God to make the meltdown stop, I wish I had known the words of Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
The prophet who wrote this was addressing God’s chosen people, assuring them that despite all the ways they made a mess of their lives and religious practices, God was still a God of hope and love and restoration; discipline was for a season, but God’s delight over His people was forever.
This means that as God’s chosen—His children—you and I get to claim all the promises of God.
Read this verse again and make it personal:
The Lord my God is with me, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in me; in His love He will no longer rebuke me, but will rejoice over me with singing.
That’s not a picture of a God who is standing at the end of the Target aisle shaking His head and thinking I’m a failing mess. No! That’s the picture of a God who is standing right there next to me.
He’s looking tenderly into my eyes, whispering encouragement to my heart for the one next thing I can say or do to love my kid and raise him well.
Will I recognize His voice? Will you?
Chances are higher that I will when I take my gaze off the onlookers, who, let’s be honest, probably don’t care about my mothering tactics, and fix it squarely on the One who both promises to walk with me and has the power to equip me.
That’s another assurance we can stand on: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
When we feel inadequate, depleted, and ill-equipped, we can stand on the truth that God has already supplied everything we need.
Yeah, but what I actually need is more hours to close my eyes, more wisdom to make that impossible decision, more money to pay off that loan, and if the cleaning fairies could stop by my house, say, every other Wednesday, that would be great.
Is that what you’re thinking? No shame in admitting it, friend. That’s often the trail my thoughts travel down too.
When you’re in the thick of motherhood, what feels most real are the physical things around you—veggies to chop, dishes to wash, bottoms to wipe, try not to gripe. It can seem like there’s a disconnect between God’s promise to equip us and the concrete needs in front of us.
I need someone to burp the baby, buy the birthday present, return the library books, and figure out where that trail of ants is coming from. Can God help me with that?
Parenting with confidence means letting God’s song of delight become the soundtrack of our motherhood.
Your circumstances may not change, but when you know—really know—that the God of the universe is holding your hand through every grocery store tantrum, tense parent-teacher conference, and emergency room visit, you will begin to recognize His presence.
You will hear His voice more clearly, walk a little straighter, and have confidence in your true source of help.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. . . . The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121:1–2, 8).
Yes, this is the help and hope I want to cling to in motherhood.
Therefore, I resolve not to lift my eyes to the expectations of others—perceived or real.
I resolve not to rely on my own goodness or effort or ability to hold it all together.
I resolve to believe that there’s not a backup mom waiting in the wings ready to do my job better than me.
I resolve to trust that God made me my kids’ mom on purpose, for a purpose, and that He is faithful to go with us every step of this growing-up journey.
I will quit fretting and guessing and spinning my wheels wondering how another mom would handle XYZ situation.
Instead, I resolve to ask:
How does God want me to handle this? Where is He at work? What am I lacking that He can provide?
Wisdom, patience, energy, grace? He’s not in short supply! I just have to ask.
You just have to ask.
Becky Keife is the community manager for DaySpring’s (in)courage, a widely followed online community where authentic, brave women connect deeply with God and others. She is also a popular speaker and author of the new book, No Better Mom for the Job: Parenting with Confidence (Even When You Don’t Feel Cut Out for It.)
If you’re a mom who is tired of trying to muster up enough creativity, joy, and patience by your own sheer grit; if you long to be known and seen, for your struggles to be validated, your blessings to be celebrated, and your soul to be strengthened—lean in. No Better Mom for the Job will help you: cultivate deep friendships that enrich your mothering, understand the unique wiring of you and your child, grow a vibrant faith in and through the demands of motherhood, and so much more!
[ Our humble thanks to Bethany House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]