All Mothers Are Bad
BY BARBARA HARVILLE
I know, I know. Some of you are already up in arms after reading my title. You are preparing your defense for disagreement. You are thinking: she’s crazy, she knows my mom and my mom is a saint and I may not be perfect, but I am really trying to be the best Mom I can be. So I guess I’d better explain myself. Scripture tells us that “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE,” (Romans 3:10). This truth is stated throughout the Bible, so God must want us to take notice. The fact that none are good includes mothers. I could stop now and rest my case and say, “See, I told you so,” but that’s not the point of this blog.
The point of this blog is for my readers to think about Mother’s Day in a nontraditional manner. Mothering is hard; kids don’t come with instructions. Nurturing and parenting are not totally innate. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t automatically mean I like children or want to hold your baby. Sometimes mothering has to grow on you. Since God’s truth is that none of us are good, as moms, we have to admit the fact that there are times when we are bad moms. This is not because we want to be, but because it is our nature. I don’t know of one mother who has not felt the guilt of not being the perfect mom. We get frustrated, angry, maybe not feeling our best, overwhelmed by life itself, and what happens? We yell, speak harshly, walk away, throw up our hands, throw a mini temper tantrum (OK that’s me), blame shift, or just throw up our hands and say, “I’m done.” We don’t mean any of these things, really; but because none of us are good, we let Satan control us in that weak moment. We feel guilty, regret our words and behavior, apologize, and then declare ourselves as “a terrible mom.”
Since God’s truth is that none of us are good, as moms, we have to admit the fact that there are times when we are bad moms. This is not because we want to be, but because it is our nature.
There are other reasons to consider for not being the perfect Mom, besides the obvious that we were born as sinners wanting to be sovereign. One of those reasons may be due to inexperience and lack of preparation for becoming a mother. I have met mothers from the ages of 10 to 46 and neither the 10-year-old, nor the 46-year-old were prepared to raise a baby. I was 18 when my precious daughter, the very best of me, was born. I was totally unprepared. I had only babysat three times and really wasn’t very good at it. Growing up in the sixties, such things were not discussed. We learned via Girl Scout books like How Shall I Tell My Daughter, health class, older girls, assumptions, and our own imaginations. I considered myself a “bad mom.” As my daughter grew, I realized I was not by any means the June Cleaver of moms, but I really wasn’t THAT bad.
Over my lifetime, I have listened to both men and women who have been marred by the treatment of a bad mother. There are those who refuse to celebrate Mother’s Day because they did not have a good mom. I am well aware that not all mothers are loving, nurturing, caring, or even present. I know too well that some are physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive to their children. I have unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) observed the results of the fact that there are not just bad, but evil mothers in this world. But even as I acknowledge this, I must also acknowledge the fact that your mother chose to GIVE YOU LIFE!
I said I wanted us to think about Mother’s Day in a nontraditional way, so let’s do it. A few of the definitions of the word mother are: one who gives birth, one who brings up a child with care and affection, an important female figure, and—I love this one—an elderly woman. A woman does not have to produce biological children to be a mother. YEA! God tells us this very truth in Titus 2:3-5 as the aged women are to take younger women under their wings and train them to live life according to God’s Word. I have one daughter and one child in heaven, but I have many mentored daughters. There are a number of legally adoptive parents and grandparents among our congregation. They have not given birth to these children, but they are their mothers and grandmothers. There are others who have taken on the role of parenting or grandparenting the kids of members of Grace. You see, God has always had a plan for women to be able to mother. So this Mother’s Day, let’s think outside the box when it comes to mothers. If you had or have a godly, loving, unbelievable mom, thank God for them. If your mom is still living, thank her for choosing life. And if you are telling yourself you are a bad mom, remember: none are good, but those who have trusted Christ as Savior are righteous in God’s eyes. Happy Mother’s Day.
…if you are telling yourself you are a bad mom, remember: none are good, but those who have trusted Christ as Savior are righteous in God’s eyes.