If you’re a fellow mom who is fighting for joy, you know that can be pretty tough to do surrounded by other moms. Maybe you’ve read Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday and you’ve learned how to shift a perspective from the negative mom narrative that the world is telling us to something much more hopeful and of the Lord.
But what do you do if you’re surrounded by mommas who just want to complain and have competitions of who has it the hardest? (A competition with no winner, mind you.) How do we shift the narrative around us in gentle ways without coming off as judgy or like a know-it-all?
This was actually a big question that came up in our book launch group. Mommas who were beginning to find refreshment and wanting to share that with others without coming off like this new insufferable expert.
So today, as we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, I thought it would be a good time to share 5 gentle ways to change the negative mom narrative.
1. Ask a friend for accountability
Even as a momma equipped with new information, we can still struggle to put it into practice. Admit with another mom to being grumpy yourself and share how you want to grow. You can share specific struggles where you’ve seen this negative narrative playing out in your everyday life and emphasize the hope you know we have in motherhood as believers.
Ask her to keep you accountable and help steer the conversation if you’re getting caught up in the world’s definition of motherhood. The key is to do this super authentically and not veiled as just trying to share this with a friend. Yes, it can certainly be a way to help change the narrative but you have to truly desire accountability.
2. Share the book Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday
If you haven’t read the book yet, ask a fellow mom to join you. Maybe don’t hand her your worn copy to someone saying “I thought of you the whole time I read this book!!” Yikes! Maybe if it’s your sister you can be so blunt, but that doesn’t really help with most of us.
But if this concept is new, invite a mom to journey with you as you both begin from the same starting point. Meet weekly to discuss the chapter while your kids play at the park or just text each other as you come across something interesting in the chapter.
One reason I think Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday has sold so well is because as we learn this, we want to share it with others, especially those mothering around us.
3. Apologize when you do get negative
We are all going to fall into moments when the first thing we think to do when our kid spills a full box of Cheerios all over the floor is to send a pic! And maybe we can do this in a funny way but for many of us, it’s funny until we find ourselves alone crying in our closet because the spills keep happening or happen when everything else already feels like it’s falling apart. If you do find yourself focused on the negative, take a minute to apologize and even highlight something good you’ve seen in motherhood lately. Maybe it’s as simple as I am so sorry! I shouldn’t have gotten so caught up in the mess. My emotions got the best of me.
This honestly isn’t just for our friend to hear. This is what we need to tell ourselves! We see throughout the Psalms how David cries out in frustration only to end with reminding himself who God is and why He can not only trust Him but praise Him too!
4. Speak positively and authentically about motherhood
As we speak more uplifting words, we can slowly change the narrative. I have some really positive friends and when I start getting into a bunch of complaining, I am subtly reminded to speak words that speak life too. The complaining sticks out more in a room full of mommas who are noticing the beauty of motherhood. On the flip side, if everything we say is complaining too, we’re not even offering another way to talk about motherhood.
This is not about slapping on a phony smile when you’re dying on the inside. I honestly think that’s why we started embracing this authenticity-at-all-cost mindset in the first place. Some mommas didn’t feel like they could share the hard stuff so they thought they had to be phony instead and eventually just said to heck with it, I’m gonna be authentic. And that meant spewing every negative mom narrative that popped into our heads. But we can’t confuse authenticity with giving life to things that aren’t from the Lord. There is a reason Scripture repeatedly says to protect our thoughts and our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and to think before we speak (James 1:19) or just speak less in general (Proverbs 10:19). It’s because our words are powerful (James 3:4-5).
We don’t speak positively to paint some false positivity narrative. We instead do it because we know from the Bible that our hope is alive in Christ and we have a choice here on earth to seek that or seek idols of the world.
5. Send this video with an ouch emoji 🤕😲 or this meme. 😉
First off, this meme is a favorite of mine because as a society we get offended by sooooo many things that we don’t need to be offended by! When I send this meme, it reminds me that I’m being way too silly about whatever I’m offended by and helps me laugh it off a bit!
But for today, I love this idea of sending this meme along with the 30-minute teaching video that introduces the concept of the lies of the world and I share 5 lies in the video and the truth we can replace it with.
What if we sent that video to a fellow mom sharing how our toes are being stepped on by the video and even which specific lie is getting us many days? Create a dialogue and make it normal to talk about such things and as you have the same type of language to talk about it, you’ll better be able to support each other along the journey!
I would love to hear from some of our past readers if you have any additional tips on how you’ve helped to change the negative mom narrative with your friends!
A hopefully gentle rebuttal:
For some reading this, your gut reaction is to think: You’re being way too sensitive Val!! It’s just a meme. Or just a funny reel. Gotta laugh to keep from crying right?
That may very well be true for a select few, but for many, viewing motherhood through the lens of the world is one of the biggest reasons we are not experiencing the hope we have in Christ as believers. Motherhood should look different than the world if we have Jesus.
And truthfully, it’s so subconscious that many of us don’t even realize the damaging effect it can have on us. If this all seems like overkill, maybe take a break from the mom accounts that highlight the husband who comes home late or the kids who are basically messing up mom’s life, the mom who desperately needs to drink to escape or can’t go to the bathroom alone. Replace it with encouraging moms who speak life over motherhood even as they share the hard moments and see if it doesn’t affect the way you walk through the next valley moment of motherhood.
And I promise, there is someone in your life who struggles with melancholy or even depression and is desperate to hear words that speak hope about motherhood instead of the negative soundtrack looping in her mind.
This Mother’s Day, what if we brought hope to every momma who’s struggling, every mom who wishes she’d be appreciated for longer than 24 hours a year? Every mom who wishes she could spend Mother’s Day alone and really enjoy the day. Every mom who blames her kids for the way her body looks or for what happened to her career.
Jesus is the determining factor. He’s the one who saves. And then we get to walk out that salvation. We get to live hope-filled lives. Why experience the saving grace of God and walk back into old ways?
Hope is here, momma! I’ll end with Ephesians 4:17-24:
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.