39 Comments

  1. Jackie

    I understand very well what you have expressed very beautifully. I am surrounded by those with chronic illness who would love to be the “oerfect house keeper, Mom, wife etc…” but who are too weak. and who feel like they live in “survival mode” most of the time.

  2. I’m also in the midst of writing a post about this post. I tried to comment on her site but she wouldn’t publish it. It’s funny because in the comments she says something like “There’s room for grace. Sometimes we get behind, but we try harder the next day.” That’s not grace. Grace is accepting a person regardless of their effort. This is more than just missing a few moms in different circumstances. This is about trying to enforce her preferences on others by disguising them as biblical imperatives. Even a completely healthy mom does not somehow fall short if she doesn’t make beds.

  3. Courtney

    Aprille, I love this. I also read the other post you mentioned, and I respect both points of view. Your response, in my opinion, was articulate and honorable, and I admire everything you said. I have often used the phrase ‘real mom’ to describe someone who shares the not-so-pretty parts of their life more transparently than others. However, I have also been discouraged in my own efforts of motherhood and blogging by self-proclaimed ‘real moms’ who’ve made sideways comments on my posts that made me feel like I was either trying too hard to be perfect or being altogether ‘fake’ with the kids arts and crafts projects and activities I shared – as if I was somehow trying to represent a reality that couldn’t possibly be. It was a little bit of a slap in the face, and I felt ashamed for somehow hurting or making others feel less-than with my well-meaning intentions (not saying this is anyone’s fault, this is just how it made me feel). Since then, I have had a really hard time opening up in my blogging (I’ve picked back up, then quit over and over, again). I strive to be the Proverbs 31 woman for my husband and children, and I admit – I struggle with perfectionism, but that doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I think, what’s really important here, is that we remember we are ALL human – insecure and vulnerable – and, for the most part, as mothers, we really are trying to do what’s best for our families with what we have in the unique circumstances we find ourselves in. It’s not fair – nor is it our place – to cast judgement on anyone. One reality is not better than the other, and REAL life is a mixture of all things beautiful and messy (as you so eloquently share with us every day).

    • I am SO GLAD to hear your perspective. I’ve been that mom in the past – really crafty and trying to do preschool at home with my son. Eventually, I had to let a lot of it go, but I so respect the moms that CAN do those things on a regular basis! But it is good to hear that you related to her perspective too. I truly think that she DOES have a valid point, but it was perhaps shared poorly with too much judgment for moms in other circumstances. As always, I love and appreciate your comments! “One reality is not better than the other, and REAL life is a mixture of all things beautiful and messy.” Love that!

    • luv2bemommy

      Dear Rachel,
      Not sure why you think I am trying to “enforce her preferences on others by disguising them as biblical imperatives.” Wow. There are gray areas in the Bible, but Proverbs 31 :10-31 is not gray. Whether or not I bring them to light does not change what it says. We should all look at the Proverbs 31 woman and feel inspired to be more like her, not attack others that are striving to be that woman! Saying things like this about me on someone else’s blog is just not kind. May we all seek to be like the virtuous woman and let the law of kindness rule our tongues!

      • Where in the Bible does it say that we should look at the Proverbs 31 woman and strive to be like her? That passage was written from a father to a son. It is ONE passage within the whole of scripture that women twist and contort, holding it up to a high standard and then use it to beat down other moms who can’t attain.

      • The Proverbs 31 woman is a biblical standard. If mothers feel like it is an unattainable standard, that’s their issue, not scripture’s. We have to keep in mind that God gives us grace, and actually think for a moment about context rather than focusing on how something makes us feel bad. Many mothers have circumstances that mean they cannot live up to that Proverbs 31 standard. Many mothers are in a season of life that is not the same as that of the woman in Proverbs 31. We need to be encouraged that “To everything there is a season.” She can still be my standard even if she isn’t my standard in the here and now. When my children are grown and independent, and when I have more time on my hands and am out of my current situation, which I’m not going to detail because I don’t need validation, then maybe I can measure up more. But one view of virtue in scripture isn’t comprehensive. To say she is virtuous does not mean she is the ONLY example of virtuousness.
        We need to give grace to each other as moms. But we also need to have enough security in Christ that we don’t treat exhortations as offensive, judgmental rants.
        Being offended is not a virtue. Every time we find ourselves being offended or feeling judged, we need to stop pointing fingers and ask God why we are feeling judged. Is it because the Holy Spirit is convicting us of something, or is it because we have insecurities? Either way, those feelings need to be dealt with at the cross, not in online debates. Humility is a virtue. Humility isn’t allowing yourself to be judged. Humility is not thinking less of oneself. Humility is thinking of yourself less.
        Judgmental posts tell me that the author is trying to encourage others but has no idea how to actually empathize with people.
        On the other hand, posts that are written out of a blogger’s need to justify herself tell me that s/he is insecure and needs to go to the cross for justification, rather than asking for validation from strangers reading blogs.

        • Caitlin, I have thought long and hard about this comment over the last few days. I disagree with your opinion that the Proverbs 31 is a Biblical standard for women for much the same reasons that Rachel Rogel mentions above, but I’ll caveat that that’s something that has been debated for centuries so I won’t discuss it any further.

          I didn’t write this post out of a need to justify myself. I wrote it because I want to raise awareness about mothering with chronic illness and how it affects both the physiological and psychological aspects of mothering and homemaking.

          Were any of my words written out of insecurity? Sure. Much like Rachel wrote, I have spent “a lifetime of striving in vain to be a person I was not designed to be.” I too am coming into that place of embracing “a sense of joy in who God actually made me to be.” Part of that process is owning where I am right now: expressing it, glorying in my infirmities, so that the power of Christ might rest upon me.

          “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

          Insecurity is a part of life, a part of being a woman. I know not one woman who is not insecure about something. If I chose to never write until I had reached a place of completely resting in the cross for all of my security, then I would never write about anything. This life is all about that process, that journey. I admit that I have not arrived and probably never will this side of heaven. It’s an area of weakness, but I am on that path to daily seeking him for my validation and justification. So if I write a post or two out of a place of struggle or insecurity, I’m okay with that – especially if it helps others too. God knows where my heart was on this and if glorying in my weakness in hopes of helping others makes me less virtuous or humble in the eyes of a reader, so be it.

      • I’m sorry I did not see this earlier. I just reread the passage – I will admit that before now I was discussing it from memory. I realized that it is actually a message from a mother to a son about what kind of wife he should look for. I would say that any man who found a woman like that would indeed be wise to marry her. But It isn’t actually addressing women, so I don’t understand how it came to be a standard of how women should act. And if it is, then we should take it as a standard across the board and engage in management (she had servants – employees) trade, agriculture, making clothing for our families, giving to the needy…. It seems clear to me that the woman described here is wealthy, but Jesus, in his ministry often pointed out that wealth does not lend itself to spiritual growth. Also, it’s not a characteristic that people have much control over.

        Also I realize from the description of this woman that she is described as being strong and not needing much sleep – up before dawn, awake after dark. But there are those in the Bible with disabilities who were not seen as spiritually deficient because they did not accomplish everything this woman was able to do. When the pharisees wanted to know who had sinned – the man cured of blindness or his parents – Jesus said that sin was not the cause of the disability, but rather it happened so that God might be glorified. Being physically able is not a spiritual achievement.

        As to discussing your blog on another blog, I will admit that I have struggled with this aspect of online communication. But I went ahead for a couple of reasons. One is that the internet is a public place. I think that anyone who posts on a blog can expect that what they say may be discussed in other contexts. The fact that you have been able to respond at length shows that this was a desire for meaningful discussion rather than attack. Also, although I may not have been successful, I tried to limit my discussion to your ideas and avoid character assassination.

        I will admit that I may be a little defensive on this issue. That is because, after a lifetime of striving in vain to be a person I was not designed to be, I have slowly started to build a sense of joy in who God actually made me to be. I do not want to return to the despair of knowing that I will never measure up. I do not believe that God wants any followers of Christ to be in that state. Grace is not trying harder tomorrow. Grace is knowing that although I will never be perfect in God’s sight I already measure up. When He looks at me He sees the blood of Christ and that’s enough.

        You say that my words are not kind. But when I read your post the flame of hope in my heart sputtered a little like someone was trying to blow it out. Then it leaped up a little brighter with the hope of helping other women to see that we don’t have to be weighed down by a one-size-fits-all picture of what a wife and mother should be. If I sound angry or seem aggressive it is because my heart has not completely healed from the wounds of trying to be accepted by squeezing myself into a mold that wasn’t meant for me. Although you may not have intended to do so your words seemed designed to try to push me back into that place. Which also did not seem to me like an act of kindness.

    • I loved it. I’m AFK for now but I will share it when I get home. I also really want to read your post on blessing a mom with chronic illness. That post needs to be written!!!

      • Thanks so much! The baby and I both have ear aches and I can’t make it to the doctor until tomorrow. Somehow blogging still makes my list of priorities. 🙂 I’m having to adjust my expectations again, though.

  4. Meredith Bernard

    I truly appreciate your post today, Aprille. You are so right, every mother is a “real” mom…it just looks different for some than others. I’m living life now as a SAHM after 9 years of corporate life and 5 of those years missing out on being what I thought was a “real” mom to my two small children. Now, I see I have always been a “real” mom, but in a different way. Both ways have their good and bad. God’s grace is sufficient for all moms if we choose to accept it. I question what I’m doing and how I’m doing it daily, but know I’m doing the right thing, because it’s what I felt God calling me to do. I don’t look down on any other mom that works, I’ve been there. I don’t look down on mothers that can keep there homes much better than I do. I often find myself looking down on myself for not keeping a better home that I “should” now that I’m home. But being a mom is hard. And I can’t imagine having a chronic illness to deal with in addition to being a mom and for some, even more, having a special needs child. Kudos to you for what you are doing and how you are doing it. And for using your words to inspire and encourage all “real” moms. 🙂

    • Just to clarify – I used the term “special needs” because I have a ton of friends who are special needs moms! My son is actually neurotypical but is what I and others would consider “high needs.” He’s always needed a lot of interaction, had a ton of energy, and hated to sleep!

      Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement and I’m so glad that this post was a blessing to you!!!

      • Meredith Bernard

        Right, I was referring to the other person who mentioned having a special needs child and a chronic illness. I should have clarified. Either way, you are all heros! And we are all in this together. 😉

  5. Jill

    Interesting thing about that Proverbs 31 Woman, she never seemed concerned about what other women were and were not doing. THAT part, I’ve NAILED!

    And….my housework still overtakes me.

    Here’s the truth: Love God, love your family, fulfill your call, and encourage others. How do we do this? By keeping our eyes on our own paper.

    Love you, Aprille!

    • Great advice! And yes, you have such a knack for not caring what others thing or are doing. I’ve come a long way in that department but still so far to go!

  6. luv2bemommy

    Aprille,
    I am the author of the post, and like I said earlier, if your comments were under the 500 character limit, it would get published. You wrote three or more comments in succession which is against the policy. Feel free to re-write a comment that follows the rules, and it will get published. 🙂

    I did publish the other ones, but have been out of town. Sometimes I do get busy with six kids, home-school and traveling 3 hours away in a third-world country just to go to the grocery store that I am a little late on publishing comments and responding to them .Btw, we really don’t know how many handmaidens the virtuous woman had and what exactly they did. But, nevertheless, we still see that she was diligent and hard-working. She did not have McDonald’s pizza delivery, frozen fish sticks and pizza, microwaves, vacuums, washing machines etc. I can relate to her as I do not have those things either and housework takes a lot longer than it did in America. However, I don’t want to complain about my hard work set before me, but I ask God to give me the strength and wisdom on how to get it done. Some days are better than others. I am not perfect, but I so desire to be virtuous! 🙂

    • I have resubmitted an edited version of my comment.

      There is a difference between complaining and sharing ones reality in hopes that she can encourage and bless others who are in similar difficult circumstances, reminding them that they are not alone and that it’s okay to struggle. Most of the moms I know who you say believe the “real mom myth” are trying to do just that.

  7. Real motherhood is so different for all of us. For me my mind always goes to the differentiation of birth moms and adoptive moms whenever I see or hear that phrase. Then there’s the working.mom vs. the SAHM battle? Who’s the better mamma? That depends on who you ask, which I hate. Why do we as women always have to compare and contrast each other? We can’t we all just join in the forces of trying to survive this war of mothering ans support and encourage? Like you said, we’re all real moms, and isn’t that all that matters?

  8. Kalley C

    I really like this post! I love the honesty that you share here, and the open community around it! It’s hard to be the woman in Proverbs 31, but you are so right, regardless if we are, or are not that woman, we are no “no less than, no more than” a mom. I’ve had my life before homeschooling, and my life now during homeschool and it’s hard to be on top of all things and be all things to everyone. I think at the end of the day, we just need to learn to respect each other. Great post!

  9. Thank-you for sharing what definitely needs to be said. You know my blog tagline is “My Journey to Proverbs 31,” and it is a journey. Perhaps for me, it will be a long one. Although I’m finally finding the right things to help my chronic pain and chronic fatigue there are still days that are exhausting. 3 special needs children, a husband with a disability, and my medical issues. It’s not an excuse but a real reason for my limitations. I don’t know if I’ll ever “get there,” but I’m going to take it at the pace that is needed, and I’m not any less of a wife or mom because of that. I don’t think negatively about those that are, either! I’ve held back on my blog because I have felt insufficient. I don’t want to do that anymore, so again, thank-you.

  10. cynthia

    This is a a really late reply :). But, I happened to find your site today and this touched me heart. I have read so many well-meaning Christian blogs & books about being a good wife and mom. I’ve tried so hard to live up to them and failed miserably. I deal with fatigue. If I don’t sleep 8 hours, I’m useless the next day. My house is not clean by any stretch of the imagination. That of course isn’t a judgement on a mom’s whose house is clean. It just isn’t something I can manage. I’m finally after nearly 10 years of marriage accepting where I am and what I’m able to do. Thanks for the touching words – I needed them today!

  11. Tammy

    “For me, the issue isn’t time – it’s energy. I run on exhaustion. So yes, do I technically have time to fold the laundry or do the dishes or cook dinner every night? Sure. But do I have the energy and physical fortitude to do so? A lot of times the answer to that question is no.”

    Amen sister!!

  12. Just saw this on Pinterest. I love it!! I needed 9 hours of sleep or I ran a fever. I also had to rest every afternoon. Since I did child home daycare, resting was usually spent relaxing in a recliner while the little ones took their naps. The one thing I feel bad about looking back, is my grouchiness. That was during a time before FB, Pinterest, blogging. .. I didn’t know anyone else that had the fatigue like me, so will be sharing in hopes of helping even one mom. Somehow the kids have good memories. So I must have done some things right. 🙂

    • Cynthia, my mom had CFS and Fibromylagia. She had to have her afternoon nap and was normally in bed at a decent time. She was not perfect, but I still have good memories. I think it is still very possible to be a great mom with these issues. All moms are grouchy. Because we are human.

      Thank you so much for any sharing. I have a real heart to help tired moms – even if it’s only one!

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