GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Christian Examiner) - Karen Ehman, a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, and Ruth Schwenk, creator of TheBetterMom.com, said they were weary of feeling like everyone was a better mother than they were. Together, they decided to debunk 10 myths they believe keep moms like them from trusting God with their families and their lives.
In Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need To Knock It Off, released on Nov. 3 from Zondervan, Ehman and Schwenk share their struggles with being perfect moms.
Social media is a major contributor to modern moms' fears and insecurities, they believe.
"[W]ith the Internet and the advent of social media such as Facebook, the amazingly organized mom, the creative mom, the oh-so-spiritual mom, and the every-other-kind-of mom imaginable migrated online and developed ten thousand faces," the authors write in the 224-page Hoodwinked . "Not only your best friend, but also the friend back from high school and the woman you met at Bible study and the blogger you follow online are now all pushing their seemingly perfect images of motherhood at you ten times a day."
This mosaic of motherhood images, most of which are based on myths that are harmful to women's perceptions of themselves, besets a Millennial mom on every side.
"Where do all these images of motherhood leave us? How could women today not be a little confused on what we should do or be? The debate on womanhood and motherhood is still being waged," Ehman and Shwenk attest.
"Myths" the authors identify as hurtful and harmful include:
- Mothering Is Natural, Easy, and Instinctive
- I Am "Just" a Mom
- A Good Mother Can Do It All, All at Once
- Everything Depends on Me
- My Child's Bad Choice Means I'm a Bad Mom
Candace Cameron Bure, a Christian actress and producer wrote the book's foreword.
"Embrace your unique journey of motherhood. Free yourself to really enjoy your children as well! Hoodwinked will empower you to do both. Highly recommended!" said Bure, a Dancing With the Stars finalist.
The book is full of stories from the authors' lives as well as those of other mothers.
Sarah B. admits, "I'm not the mom I imagined I'd be. It's so hard to carry out all the ideas I had in my head. Motherhood is so much harder than I ever dreamed."
Cindy B. agreed she compared herself to her own mother, "After having three children, she was skinny, gorgeous, and perfect. ... I was supposed to fit back into my skinny jeans, like my mom, but shockingly I was still wearing my maternity sweat pants and looking six months pregnant!"
Like many young mothers, Cindy had doubts about the core of her identity. "I questioned every choice I made because I certainly didn't know myself at all!" she said. "This poor, innocent little baby girl was given a raw deal by getting me for a mother."
PROVERBS 31 WOMEN
The authors dedicate the first chapter to admitting the Proverbs 31 woman sounds intimidating—before reminding readers that the string of praises encapsulates the highlights of the Biblical woman's life, not her day-to-day.
One of the keys to knocking off myths is accepting imperfections, the authors say, "When we keep these mythical mosaics of perfection as our goal, we only set ourselves up for sure failure. We need to stop pursuing the appearance of perfection. (Yes, the appearance of perfection. There is no such thing as actual perfection.) We must start instead to pursue the person Jesus Christ."
Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, said she believes the authors offer a "refreshing" look at parenting.
"I love how Karen and Ruth give us a great gift of grace with this book by showing us no one is doing this parenting thing perfectly. Refreshing and so very practical," said Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries.
With an encouraging voice to uplift weary mothers, Ehman and Schwenk debunk myths, point toward biblical mothering, encourage mothers to seek supportive communities, and give women confidence in their identity as moms.