The mommy wars, though largely unheard of in the generations which went before us, are something which every mama today has likely experienced. Even if you are still pregnant with your very first child as you read this, I imagine you have already noticed the kind of drama which can ensue when you share your birth plan with someone of a differing viewpoint. Rather than merely stating (in a mature manner as women used to) a difference of opinion, today a different belief pertaining to vaccinating, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, etc., can be met with looks of disdain and disapproval.
What is the Christian woman to do? How can we honor God in the midst of such a dramatic, emotionally-charged mama culture?
Here is what I propose:
- Keep First Things First
The existence of the mommy wars in the church is a direct result of our failure to remember the Word of God. We have forgotten what it does say and embraced what it doesn’t. We have made mountains out of molehills, taking those secondary issues which the Lord issues us no command about (i.e. natural birth vs. medicated birth, vaccines vs. no vaccines, breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding) and treating them as if they are on par with Scripture. All the while, we are forgetting actual commands God has issued to mothers (i.e. love your children, train them up in the way they should go).
If we want to honor God in this mommy war culture, the first thing we have to do is study His Word. We have to prioritize what He prioritizes. First Timothy 4:7-8 says, “But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” While being a researcher and understanding the benefits of certain parenting methods is important, we need to not make the mistake of thinking that endeavor to be what is most important. Making healthy choices and researching the best options available to you are beneficial practices; after all, if we are taking good care of ourselves and our little ones, we will be better able to serve God and each other. However, we need to keep first things first and remember that an eternal pursuit of godliness is far more beneficial than a temporal pursuit of the “perfect” feeding method for our child.
The question to ask ourselves is – do we spend more time researching parenting methods than we do studying God’s Word? Do we know more about the benefits of vaccinating or not vaccinating than we do the truths set forth in the Scriptures? When we begin to live out proper priorities, the mommy wars become less and less invasive, and God is honored.
- Honor Those Made in His Image
A major problem with us Christian women participating in the mommy wars is that, when we do so, we are failing to treat our fellow moms as the image bearers of God that they are. When we remember that everyone – even those with whom we disagree! – has been made in the image of God, we are then better able to treat them with the kindness, respect, and honor we should.
Something else that will aid us in our attempts to honor our fellow moms is seeking to assume the best of them. If we have one stance on vaccinations and a mom we know has the opposite stance, if we imagine that mom to be wanting to adversely affect the health of her child, we will be tempted to unfairly treat her with harshness. If, however, we assume the best of that other mom, keeping in our minds the understanding that she wants to take good care of her child and is doing the best she knows to do, then we will find our treatment of her begin to line up more and more with God’s standard. And we will thus be honoring Him in the process!
- Don’t Engage – Don’t be a Mommy Warrior Yourself
When you hear another mom talking down about someone for her parenting choices, don’t partake. Don’t engage. Based on how the Lord leads you in that moment, either do not say anything at all or else speak up for that mom, providing a proper perspective of what truly is ultimately important in motherhood. Whatever you do, though, don’t be a mommy warrior yourself. The Lord and His name receive no honor when we behave that way.
- Seek to End the Wars
Don’t be neutral when it comes to the mommy wars. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Instead of sitting back and lamenting the problem that is the mommy wars, strive to be an encouragement to your fellow mama every chance you get. Be a bridge, not a brick wall. We each need all the encouragement we can get for this journey of motherhood, and God delights in seeing His children love and care for one another. Honor Him through your desire to bring the mommy wars to an end in the church.
Look to Him, Mama!
If we want to honor the Lord in this mommy wars culture, we will have to keep our eyes fixed on Him. We can’t keep our eyes primarily on the newest parenting study to come out, the latest research, or what our fellow mom is doing. We have to first and foremost keep our eyes fixed on Christ and His Word. In my book “Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)”, I address the common mommy-wars lie that says, “‘Good’ Moms Do XYZ” and point out that what constitutes a good mom is not what her stance is on vaccinations, baby food, or co-sleeping. What makes us good moms is our reliance on Christ and His righteousness that has been imputed to us as our own. When we understand this (and likewise understand that the same goes for our fellow mom!), we will be honoring the Lord and helping to end the mommy wars in the church once and for all.