2020 Moms enjoy modern conveniences our Great Grandmothers could only dream about. We throw a load of laundry in the washer, pop some chicken nuggets in the microwave, and then pick up our iPhones to FaceTime Mom. We accomplish in five minutes what took Great Grandma Mildred a full day.
With all this modern-world convenience, you’d think that anxiety levels would be at record lows, right? But anxiety rates have actually increased over the last fifty years.
If our efficiency and productivity has risen, why are we so anxious? Often we struggle to show Christ-like love for others in this state.
In my experience, an anxious mama is a grumpy mama. This is the most volatile variation of the modern mother. One toddler-Sharpied wall or broken dish can mean disaster for anyone in her splash zone. (Reporting from personal experience.) Why are we like this? How is it possible that we live in a time with more help, more efficiency than ever before, and yet, we still turn into raging, stressed-out mamas?
This is a particularly important question for moms who love Jesus. We’ve been tasked with the tremendous responsibility and honor of discipling the children who we love most in the entire universe. “Do what I do, precious child,” I say, while rage-cleaning my house. There seems to be a disconnect between the ideal and the actual. The “Proverbs 31” and the “me.”
We live in a world that champions productivity over connection. If we aren’t careful, that mindset becomes our own. And it’s a deceptively stressful mindset. Because at first glance, you think that increasing productivity will make you feel accomplished and alleviate stress. But it doesn’t. Instead, you look past your people and exhaust yourself to achieve all the to-dos. Then we snap at our people.
This is not the model we were given by the God who loves us.
It seems we have enjoyed our modern conveniences so much, that instead of using the freed-up time for connection, we pile on thirty additional daily tasks. We are living at the speed of technology and productivity, rather than the speed of reality. This makes us anxious. It also means that we fix our eyes on the wrong goal. Rather than loving people, we can slip into loving ourselves, our goals, productivity, to-do lists.
I think I see our problem. We forget that gospel living emphasizes connection over worldly productivity. We forget that eternal productivity is rooted in connection with our God and with our people.
I see exactly no instances of Jesus running, rushing and racing to his tasks. He prioritized God, and He prioritized people. He understood that scheduling curve-balls are not curve-balls to God. They were pre-ordained opportunities to connect, minister or rest. I’ve never read a Bible passage in which Jesus anxiously recounts His to-do list. He was entirely connected to God, entirely to people. It’s that kind of anchored faith that we can emulate. One that looks not at the to-do list, but at the unseen: the eternal deposits we are making into our children. We show them what a connected, loving mom looks like.
A few loads of laundry, a clean kitchen and feeding your kids three solid meals while giggling together in your kitchen—that is a good, eternally productive day. Great Grandma Mildred would agree.
Molly DeFrank is a mom and foster mom to five kids under ten. She writes about faith and motherhood—the hilarious and the hard; the fun and the maddening; the beauty and the blunders. She loves to share encouragement and laughter with women just like her. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, or her website, www.mollydefrank.com.