We are tempted to find our worth in our children’s accomplishments and behaviors. But that’s not how God designed it.
It’s no secret that many women correlate their value with motherhood. For women who are unable to have children, such thinking is especially devastating. For those of us who are able to bear and birth children, we can nevertheless associate our value with our mothering skills. We subconsciously keep a “Mama Report Card” in our minds, and we can be tempted to grade our worth based on how our children treat and respond to us, how well our children perform or behave, and/or how our children measure up to their peers.
Assessing our worth in these ways leads to an emotional rollercoaster and a persistently flawed view of ourselves. First, how our children respond to us can be impacted by a number of factors, including their age, their stage of development, their temperament, and/or whether they just need a nap or a snack. (“Hanger” is real!) If we look to our littles’ responses to assess the quality of our mothering, we are literally placing our self-image in the hands of temperamental toddlers and small kiddos. I wouldn’t recommend it. (Don’t ask me how I know!)
Next, how well our children behave or perform can be determined by similar factors—their age, stage, temperament, hunger, fatigue, or even certain genetic predispositions. Sure, as their mothers (and especially Christian mothers), we have a responsibility to teach, train, and model godliness and proper behavior for our children. Even so, there is something we moms must remember: Our children are their own little people! We know this intellectually; but due to sharing our bodies with these little humans (and often having the stretch marks to prove it), we can sometimes forget they are wholly different people than us who ultimately make their own decisions. And thus their behavior does not reflect our value.
Finally, assessing our worth by how our children compare to their peers may be the greatest disservice we can do to ourselves. Granted, comparing our children to other children their age is normal, and in certain contexts, it can be harmless (e.g. determining whether our child may like a certain new snack or toy by comparing to another child). However, comparing our children to their peers to determine our worth as women and mothers is always harmful. No good will come from such a practice.
So, we have established why not to look to our kids for our worth. Where should we look then? How about to the One who created us? When God called Jeremiah to be one of His prophets, here’s what He he said:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
This passage reveals at least three reasons we should look to God for our worth. As God told Jeremiah…
- He created us: God intricately formed us in our mothers’ wombs. Should not our creator get to determine our value?
- He knows us: Before our mothers even knew they were pregnant with us, God knew everything about us. Our spouses, families, and friends may know us well, but even they do not know everything about us. Only God fully knows us and still fully loves us.
He set us apart for a special purpose: God did not create us randomly, but rather He created us for a specific purpose. A significant part of our purpose is mothering our children, but it is not the only part. Thus, let’s be sure to root our identity and worth in our Creator, not our kids.
Leah Holder Green
Leah Holder Green loves God, loves His people, and loves clearly communicating God’s Word to His people. After practicing law for a few years, she entered full-time ministry as a bible study author and bible teacher. Leah is married to the love of her life, Clarence “Champ” Green, and they have a beautiful daughter named Caylen Joy.
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