By: Erin Davis
“Mom’s Say The Dumbest Things.”
I’ve been paying attention and there are a few momisms that just need to go. As a mom myself I’ve been known to say plenty of dumb things but I’m trying to kick the habit and I hope you’ll join me.
This post is the first in a series of posts titled “Dumb things moms say.” Before we get into the Dumb (and the Dumber), let me give two litmus tests for what we should and should not say.
Litmus test #1: Whatever!
I have learned to see this passage from Philippians as a grid through which I can squeeze so many of my choices in life. (Hint: It’s a good one to memorize!)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Since what we say is an extension of what we think, I think we can apply this passage to our words. So…what should we be talking about?
- worthy of praise
The dumb things I’m going to write about in this series simply don’t meet these requirements. And, even if they did, it would be very tough for us to justify them using the next litmus test.
Litmus test #2: Build me up.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
If it builds up, say it. If it tears down, don’t. If it gives grace to the listener, say it. If it gives something else (fear, frustration, guilt, shame, anger, discouragement)…zip those lips.
With those two tests in mind, there are a few phrases we’ve got to cut from our collective vocabulary. Starting with…
Dumb thing #1: “It gets so much worse!”
I was at a women’s conference once, trying to breastfeed my new baby in the lobby without exposing myself. He was screaming. I was sweating. It was stressful.
Another woman plopped down in front of me and said, “I miss those days. It gets so much worse. I’m dealing with homecoming drama at home.”
And I thought, “Am I being punked?!”
Homecoming drama? As in your girl can’t find a dress? A date? A ride? What? Nevermind the fact that the encounter was awkward (remember the screaming, nursing babe?) it was also discouraging because when you are in a hard spot with your kids, you want to think that things will get better, not worse. If the next stage is harder and more challenging and I’m already at my wit’s end, motherhood starts to feel hopeless to me.
Here is the truth of the matter. Every single stage of mothering has its challenges. I’m not sure we could quantify them as better or worse. That momma with the homecoming drama? She’s sleeping through the night. But as my baby and I work out round the clock feedings, she has to worry about boyfriends and parties, curfews, and college applications. Both stages are hard.
But here’s what I’d like to see us all choose to focus on.
Every stage of motherhood has it’s own joy.
While sleep deprivation is hard, I know for certain that when my days of nursing a baby in a quiet house in the middle of the night are gone, I will miss them desperately. And that momma with the teenage daughter will likely miss seeing her baby girl come down the stairs in a pretty dress to pin a boutonniere on her date.
When it comes to motherhood the good stuff and the not so good stuff is all mixed together. It’s not that parts of mothering are better or worse, there is good and bad around every corner.
So, may I propose a re-write of the momism, “It gets so much worse?”
The next time you see a momma struggling, please try this two-pronged approach.
First say, “I remember that stage can be challenging, but you know what I loved about when my kids were that age?” Then fill in the blank with a favorite memory to help her recalibrate her own heart.
This qualifies as speech that “builds up.”
Then simply say, “There is so much joy in the next phase.”
We all need something to hope for. The idea that joy is what’s coming down the pike next might just be what a tired and worried momma needs to persevere.
How about you? Have you noticed any dumb things moms say? Tell me about. I’ll pick three of you to win “The Power of Words” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God’s Truth with others. She is the author of several books including Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess: Embracing Humility in an All About Me World, The Bare Facts with Josh McDowell and the Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood As a Sacred Role. When she’s not writing books, you can find Erin chasing down chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.