For a long time after I became a mom I tried to live up to this vision I had in my head of being the perfect wife and mom. You know, the mom that had it all together -- perfectly dressed kids, dinner on the table every night, clean clothes always in the drawers and children who picked up after themselves.
My real life looks nothing like that. The reality is if it's not written on the calendar, it doesn't happen -- and even then I've been known to miss an appointment or two. The floor might get mopped once every two weeks and the bathrooms cleaned about that often as well. My kids' rooms often look like a war zone and more often than not you'll find a hockey bag and a soccer ball in my living room where a coffee table should be.
For much of this journey of motherhood, I felt guilty about the reality of life. I felt like I wasn't living up to the image of the Proverbs 31 woman -- you know that girl in the Bible who is pretty much perfect. She works, she sews, she cooks, she cleans, she's a great mom -- and she's pretty stinkin' annoying.
But here's the truth of the Proverbs 31 woman. All she's doing is taking care of her family. That's all she's called to do. All those things she does, I do them, too. I may not be making bread by hand, but I have something she didn't -- a grocery store. I may not be weaving my own cloth, but my kids are clothed when they walk out the door. I may not be purchasing land and selling it, but I am working to provide for my family.
The picture we've been fed of the Proverbs 31 woman is that she's this paragon of a wife and mother. She's what we should all strive to be. But what too many of us have seen is something that has left us striving to be something God never intended for us to be. Are the attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman something we should strive to attain? Absolutely. Does that mean we all need to be the Stepford wives to do so? Absolutely not.
God calls us to as moms to care for our families. He calls us to offer wisdom, comfort and joy to our kids. He doesn't call us to live by a checklist. He doesn't call us to look like anyone else.
Our primary job as moms is to raise children who are seeking after God, making wise choices and becoming productive members of society. If we're fulfilling that calling, then it doesn't matter if you're making your own bread, weaving your own cloth or cleaning your house every Tuesday. It doesn't matter if you're a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom or a work-outside-the-home mom. It doesn't matter if you breastfeed or bottlefeed. It simply doesn't matter as long as you're doing what you're called to do.
So, let's stop comparing ourselves to the perfect image of the Proverbs 31 woman and instead try to do what she did -- follow our calling to take care of our families. Because the Proverbs 31 woman isn't a description of a checklist we have to make it through to be a good wife and mom. She's a representation of a woman following her calling to care for her family. And that's what we should be striving to do, too.