3 Fads that are Killing Your Joy


        I’m already sweating when I pull into the parking spot. Not close enough to the store, but it will have to do. Four kids ages four and under – the big cart with a two-seater car attached to the front is my goal. Shoot, those are at the other grocery chain. Did I bring my stroller? Doesn’t matter, that wouldn’t help. Two carts or one? This store has narrow isles. One cart. Two can ride, two can walk.

       “Everybody out!” Why do I say that? No one can get unbuckled without me. 

        Everyone in diapers/underwear? Check. 

        Everyone have shoes on? Check. 

        Into the store, cram groceries around the toddler in the basket, make a beeline for the checkout. Stuff a cracker in each mouth, grab my wallet – oh. The wallet that’s sitting on the kitchen counter at home? Yeah, that one. 


       Sometimes the gap between my expectations for the day and what actually happens is huge. I look back at the end of the day and think, “What went wrong?” 

        Disappointment is natural. But when we base our joy on how we’ve measured up to our own expectations, something is off balance. “Was I a good mom today? How do I know?” It is a God-given drive to be the best mom you can be, but our calling becomes an idol if our joy depends on our performance.

        There are a host of factors out there waiting to help you determine if you’re a good mom. We have to be guarded. What is meant to help can actually be destructive to our joy. Three major fads in the mommy realm are ready to give you a grade. 

        Ready to see how you measure up?

#1 Blogs.

         In this modern age you don’t have to be judged by other moms face to face – you can be judged through your computer screen in the comfort of your own home. If you spend any length of time reading through mommy blogs, you are bound to come across the following:

– A picture of a sexy, fit mom who dropped the baby weight in 6 months and asks, “What’s your excuse?”

– 25 tips to starting a thriving home business – you know, so you don’t waste so much time.

– Every personal opinion on why you should or should not vaccinate your kids (often from people with absolutely no medical background).

– If you don’t breastfeed, your baby will not reach his maximum potential in life. Oh, and you will get breast cancer.

– How to make everything from scratch, from laundry soap to cheese so that your child has the most wholesome childhood experience.    

        Do you come away from blog-reading feeling inspired or guilty? We go to trusted blogs to get mommy advice. But when they stress us out we’ve made that subtle shift of allowing them to take our eyes off of Christ.  

#2 Nutrition. 

        Let’s be honest – the battle for nutrition has become downright enslaving to moms. Where you fall on the “good mommy” scale can be determined with just one question: How organic are you? We are not debating the merits of organic food here. We’re asking ourselves if our mom-identity should revolve around what we feed our kids. Does nutrition take you from “good mom” to “bad mom” and back again a million times a day? Should it? 

#3 Entertainment

       No argument here. The #1 way children are entertained today is through technology. Whether it’s a tablet, phone, TV, Leap Frog, or computer, moms are constantly struggling to determine how much is too much. And rightly so. It is a battle worth fighting. But being a “low tech” parent has become a much coveted label. The less you use, the better you feel about yourself as a mom. And vice versa. Do you look over your shoulder in the grocery store to make sure a friend doesn’t catch you handing over the iPhone to your screaming toddler? Are you afraid to admit to your peers that you let the kids watch a show on the 14-hour road trip? It’s easy to turn simple protection for our kids into bragging points when we’re around other moms.  

        If we’re not careful these fads will kill our joy. It is almost impossible to separate how we feel about ourselves from our performance. That’s when we go back to the cross and lay it all down. 

        “Lord, the kids had Lunchables for dinner. They played video games on the iPad so I could change the peed bedding. I can see from the blogs that all the other moms have their fall decorations up…except for me. I’m behind, I’m tired, I’m discouraged. But I am Your child. I wear the righteous robes of Your Son. When You see me You see Him. Jesus bought me peace with His blood. I won’t let it be taken away by failed expectations – mine, or others’.”

        Our kids need grace so much more than they need organic vegetables. If we’re not giving ourselves grace, how can we pass it on to them? 

        Charles Spurgeon said, “It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus, but it is Satan’s work to do just the opposite.” Fads will come and go but Jesus Christ stays the same. There is forgiveness and peace at the cross. So let’s put on our gospel-glasses before we read the next blog or make our weekly menu plan. In Christ we have peace instead of pressure, joy instead of judgement. Deep breath…dive into the week! 

        What fads do you notice in the Christian mom community? How do you think they help or hinder a gospel focus? 

Looking for a Bible study with practical, bite-sized theology for busy moms? Check out The Gospel-Centered Mom, now available on Amazon!! 


106 thoughts on “3 Fads that are Killing Your Joy

  1. I was home schooled in 1974, so please check facts before making statements. Also, long before that, these guys were homeschooled: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James Garfield, William, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, James Polk, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt .


  2. I'm sorry that anyone has made you feel that way…I have gotten the same from christians…that I'm committing a crime by NOT sending my children to PS. I think that no matter what the decision is that God has lead us to, there will just always be people out there trying to tell us that we are wrong b/c they've made a different decision. We need to help each other not tear each other down.


  3. Nutrition plays a huge part in our lives and should not be trivialized. My family feels better, sleeps better, gets sick less and subsequently treats each other better when we eat “God made” food instead of “man made” franken-food! And all this makes my mothering much more en'joy'able! It really shouldn't be an issue of good mom vs. bad…as this can only be a direct result of comparing ourselves to others which brings no glory to God! Giving ourselves grace in this area can be abused and used as an excuse to neglect the importance of proper nutrition and doing our best to nourish our temples.


  4. Exactly! I get so tired of hearing people try to twist scripture to support the lowering of standards. Not just in 'mommy wars' but also in other life situations. Grace is what sets us free from the guilt and letter of the law but it also empowers us to do our best with joy and a full heart. Grace is not a ticket to do things halfhearted or to be lazy. Each individual is acountable to God for their time and efforts. We should always encourage one another to do their best before God without condemning and we should not ever feel guilty for not measuring up to someone else's standard becuase it is God who knows our heart not another person.


  5. Wow. I didn't read every single comment word for word, but the community that is commenting is totally proving the author's point! Too bad everyone has an opinion about how everyone else should do things. I had a couple more thoughts to add: #1 ministry in the church. There is a pressure to be involved and feel important. #2 the struggle for parents with special needs. We see parents with “normal” kids and wish we could explain to everyone watching that our kids aren't on the same level of the playing field and that's why performance isn't equal. Our culture is brutal. But God's mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!


  6. I needed to read this today. Thank you for your take on the subject. God is so great and your perspective really helped me remember that.


  7. Yes. Thank you. It is unfortunate when, in the midst of serious deception that is wrecking people's health, those of us who try to speak out regarding nutrition, iatrogenic (doctor/ medically caused) injuries, and the like have our views and posts trivialized.

    I had someone write me quite the comment accusing me of a “soapbox” and “arrrogance” once because of how much I posted on a certain issue. I was, and am, quite taken aback that it was taken as mommy-one-up-man-ship rather than “Look out for that bus!” which is how it was meant.


  8. in addition to the above comments, a trend i've noticed in the christian mom community is the “i stay at home and raise my kids” line. total judgement for those of us who either have to or choose to work outside of the home. like the rest of us don't raise our kids or want to be home with our kids. sigh.

    here's how I feel about it: love God, love others, serve the world. anything that you choose to do in your families best interest is your business and based on your circumstances.

    we need more love and support for each other on this motherhood journey instead of judgement and criticism. this video sums it up nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fXeuADwn_4 (MOPS Moms Supporting Moms)


  9. 100 years ago parents did not need to send their children to Christian schools because back then God was still openly allowed in schools! My children attend a Christian school, but I am not at all judgemental of those who do not. I agree we need to build up and not tear each other down.


  10. Sometimes we all fall into this trap of comparing ourselves to others, instead of Christ. Isn't that what this all boils down to anyway? I know plenty of homeschooling moms who struggle with the judgement they feel from people who send their kids to school. I think the truth is most of us are so concerned with defending our own choices, we are probably unaware when we come across as judging someone else. We can all give each other more grace (including ourselves). Same thing on the other multi-sided issues on here. Christ's example was that he only did what the Father asked of him, NOT what the Father eventually asked of Peter or Paul or you and me. That should be our goal too, to do what the Father asks of us individually. Christ wasn't an earthly husband or parent, but he blessed those institutions. Saying that all Christian parents need to be doing the same thing is as silly as saying all Christians should be single because Christ was single. It just doesn't make sense or line up with what Christ teaches or what his example was. So let's live in the freedom that His love and truth gives and joyfully obey the one who loves us most! I know I'm just echoing similar thoughts, but it's so good to find voices that are striving for unity like this. I just wanted to join!


  11. Maybe many more people homeschool than 10 or 20 years ago, but with only 3% of school aged children being home schooled, it can hardly be called “popular”, “trendy” or the “fad”. I think it's important to stand by our decisions, not necessarily defensive about them. The Lord calls us each according to his purpose. We are moms who heap expectations on ourselves and our journey is just NOT going to look the same. And really no matter which way you choose, you'll be judged or feel judged— homeschooling/public schooling, nursing/formula, organic/mainstream, techy/non-techy.


  12. Exactly – I read the blog post and I was encouraged, and then I read the comments and its like we can't stop ourselves from the Mommy Wars. We all need a heavy dose of Grace.


  13. I am currently a homechooler. I will be running on my third year this year. but I have also been, to public schools, charter, and private schools. I love all your comments and thoughts. Christ would not of made us all different if He wanted us to all be the same. It shows that even in the bible. was John Baptist the same as Timothy or Matthew or Paul. NO. They are all different and gifted in so many ways. when you go on to read about their stories they all walked in the path of the lord, made mistakes, and showed love. If we don't show love we don't show Christ. so if we ask our selves any question ask your selves this am I showing the love of Christ to me children, to my neighbor, to the person in the check-out line. He loves you. He loves you the way He made you.


  14. Its easy to say that *anything* “plays a huge part in our lives and should not be trivialized”. To your family that may be nutrition, to my family that may be exercise and being outside. The whole point is that there is no one 'Christian Blue Print' for how to raise your family or live your life. We are given freedom to follow Christ, not held to the law. Yes, we should follow Gods word, but until 'Thou shalt not eat franken-food' is in there, it is a personal decision how we take care of our temples. You proved the authors point precisely.


  15. As a 50-something pastor's wife & mom of 7 children, I think I can safely say that I've experienced ALL (or at least most) of the feelings mentioned in the blog and comments! We've home schooled, Christian-schooled (still are), tried to eat all organic & about went broke, eaten lots of fast food, ground wheat and made bread, worn only dresses, now wear whatever is appropriate for that day's ministry, didn't vaccinate, now we do carefully, still don't believe birth control is biblical but it's a personal conviction now and not something we feel all must believe. Believe it or not, our children are surviving and thriving! (even though I about had a mental breakdown about 12 years ago from the stress of trying to do everything perfectly). Our identity is in Christ, and we are called to love one another with His love, & to share His love with dying world. And really, when you look at what is important right now and the things that are going on around the world, is it absolutely critical that we win our argument over vaccinating vs. not? Or is it more profitable to remind each other of how short the days are, how little time we have left, and how much Christ expects of us as believers to be spreading the Gospel?! My 14 yo son is fond of saying, when I voice a complaint about something, “That's really a *first-world* problem, isn't it, Mom?” 😉 Such as complaining about the faucet water not being quite cold enough when I've been to Haiti and I've seen women getting their families' water from a muddy, sewage-infested ditch. We need to focus, not major on the minors, and exude Christ's love in all we do.


  16. Thank you! Great perspective! A lot of these are 'first world problems' and we should encourage each other and focus on the bigger picture.


  17. As a mom of 4 children under the age of 5 – who are now 4 under the age of 21:) – THANK YOU FOR THIS POST (I don't read mommy blogs much anymore:), but came across this one through a friend who is still a young mom. We, my incredible husband who married me as a widow with 3 little girls under the age of 3, and I, raised 4 precious children. We moved overseas while I was pregnant with number 4 and number 3 had just turned 2 years old:) My advice to young moms and dads: Parent out of the unboundless love the Father has shown us and not out of fear – especially fear of what others will think of you. We did the organic diet while my first husband fought his fight with cancer (the kids still think zucchini is the best:) and we also love chocolate chip cookies:), we have homeschooled, Turkish school, a small start up school in Macedonia, and now public school and public universities. Through it all, our goal was to “shepherd” our children in love and grace – knowing that God is doing a work in their lives just as He did in ours! . . . and is continuing to do!


  18. Cancer definately puts life in perspective. My husband had cancer and ever since the “little things” just don't matter anymore. As moms we just need to “be there” for our children. If “being there” means that today they'll have to eat McDonald's for dinner in between sporting events then so be it. The fact that I can be present and ask them about their day and spend time with them at the park is more important than me stressing about cooking an organic meal in the only 40 minutes I have time for tonight meanwhile shoo-ing my kids out of the kitchen.


  19. Jen Wickstrum, thank you for your beautiful, grace-filled thoughts. I'm convinced that the more we experience God's grace in our own lives/hearts/thoughts, the more we will naturally offer it to those around us, including our children. May God richly bless all of us with a greater, deeper, richer experience of His grace!


  20. If people are doing homeschooling as a”fad” then they probably aren't doing it for the right reasons. Homeschooling is hard. I give up most of my freedoms that other mom's enjoy and brag about. I don't have time to myself most days, but that is okay … I chose to be a homeschool mom. I want to be with my kid's and teach them what I feel they need to know. If you feel public school is your method then that is your choice. My sister is a public school teacher, I learn stuff from her. Homeschooling is becoming a trend because our school systems are taking parent choice and involvement away. I fully believe every parent could teach their kids if they wanted to, but they don't have to. It is and should be allowed to be a choice of the parents. I love homeschooling and I believe my kid's are better for it. It is a sacrifice on my part and I would do it again and again if it means saving my kid's from things I don't want them to learn too early.


  21. I agree with you! Despite my best efforts, breastfeeding didn't work out for either of my two kids. Do not listen to anyone or anything that tells you exclusively breastfeeding makes babies more intelligent – it is simply not true. Those studies where they found a correlation between breastfeeding and IQ, guess what, those moms who can exclusively breastfeed are also usually moms who are more educated and have a higher socioeconomic status (make more money). They are more likely to be stay at home moms or able to take a long leave from the workplace. These are women who's children are more likely to be talked to, read to, cuddled more often, given a variety of experiences, etc. than women who have to work a lot of jobs to support their family. That is what accounts for a higher IQ (and it was only a few points). (I am not trying to say anything negative about poorer families! Of course those mothers can provide these same experiences it is just more challenging.) So please don't beat yourself up about using formula. Your baby will thrive. Mine do. A happy mommy bonded with her child is so much more important than breast milk! I learned that the hard way. The stress, the guilt, the fight, it is not worth it. You sound like you are doing great! Congratulations on your new baby!


  22. Wow this was such an inspiring post! Thank you! Your prayer was so touching. I love the way you see what's really going on here. God bless you and your house full of beautiful hearts and minds. You're an amazing momma!


  23. This is a great post and I agree with it all! I think there can be a healthy balance though and I would like to add that we shouldn't assume people are just fitting in with the “fads” (and I know that is not what you were doing in this post). I read mommy blogs (and have one) and love them and we eat mostly organic and no processed foods as much as possible. We have to eat this way due to food allergies and I hate when people think I am just trying to fit in. I wish I could grab a box of pop tarts to give my kids some days but that is not the cards life has dealt us. God is SO great and made us all so different for a purpose. I try to embrace that in times that judgmental comments come our way but I am not perfect and need his grace and mercy daily. We are all in this parenting journey together and the best thing we all need is encouragement and support.


  24. I agree Erin. It's exactly why I've had to step away from a blog I used to love to write, and my Instagram account. I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself, and feelings of inadequacy came creeping in. I'm a mom of a special needs son too, and can relate so much to what you say! I wish everyone could realize everyone is trying to navigate this blindly, no one is perfect, and everyone needs support!


  25. Hi Hong! Nothing has been removed, but it might be showing up because I mention homeschool in my bio. It has also come up in many of the comments. Homeschooling was not of the three “fads” in the post.


  26. I wish every parent could teach their kids; sadly not many families can make it anymore on one income so parents have no choice but to place them in public school. I have one child in public school and she loves it; I am homeschooling my other daughter and she loves it. I am thankful we live in a great school district… now if only I could afford to occasionally make something more expensive than ramen and spaghetti…


  27. Eowyn's Heir…I really feel like that is a spot-on response. I whole-heartedly agree and appreciate your viewpoint. Our measure should be Christ. When we take our eyes off of HIM, that's when the comparison & insecurities (a form of pride) begin. Yes, God gives us ABUNDANT grace & I am so thankful for that! However, he also expects our very best as we “work as if working for the Lord.” We all have room for improvement as we are serving the Lord through the ministry in our home. We get better answers by asking better questions, and our question should be “Am I pleasing the Lord with my attitude and effort in this area of my life?”


  28. Hello! I'm not a mom, or a wife. I haven't had a boyfriend nor a first kiss, but it's my dream to become a mommy someday. I want to let you know that it has been a great pleasure and a blessing to read your blog today, because establishing your joy in the cross instead of yourself or your achievements as a mom is exactly what I want to pursue as a mom. Is good to see that there are moms who still give our Lord the chance to show them to way to live a Christ-centered life which directly affects the lives of their children in a positive way, that is exactly what our society needs today.
    Even though I don't know you, I find your words inspiring and encouraging, mostly for moms because I believe your work is one of the most valuable works out there, yet is difficult, tired and is definitely a fight (as you mentioned) but when your strength is found in Christ, not only you will succeed as a Gospel-centered mom, but your kids will reflex the values of the mom who raised them, and it will definitely make a difference.
    Many many many moms on my FB need to read this 🙂
    Thank you

    Debbie (from Costa Rica :D)


  29. Most of the feelings we have are put on by our own “guilt” feelings and really aren't anyone's fault….but out own. Some people might be obnoxious about home schooling. There are also people who are obnoxious about public school and private school. I go to a church where we have a lot that home school (including my own family), and we are supposed to keep it “quiet”. The church pushes public schools. The bottom line is: We judge ourselves (compare ourselves to others), we judge other people, and people judge us. It is called “the fall of man”. As long as their are humans it will happen. Sometimes I get really excited about home schooling…because we love it! It isn't easy, it isn't always fun, it isn't always cheap…. we aren't the smartest or dumbest. 🙂 The best thing to do is put blinders on and do what the Lord leads you to do. I am sorry if sometimes my excitement might seem obnoxious ( I am sure some people think so)….


  30. Yes! Keep caring for your body and your families as stewards, for the glory of God! It matters! He will encourage you, and hopefully so will believers in other forums, as you take the steps you are led to.


  31. Can I use this one too for that moms Saturday? It would be perfect for a station we are doing! I'm getting all my stuff together for it this morning and was going to quote you for the station but I love all of it!


  32. Every mom has to outsource something, and usually two or three things. We can't all be sewing geniuses, expert chefs, top-notch educators, blog divas, and medical doctors at the same time. I believe the Lord gave us our children knowing full well that we would have to make do with the talents we're given and rely on Him in our deficiencies. Every mom is a star in some area, and deficient in another area. If we can combine forces and strengthen each other's families, our children are going to be okay in the end. It's time to start cooperating and quit competing.


  33. I think this applies whether we are mothers or not. It took me and my husband over 7 years of pregnancy losses before we finally were able to become parents through adoption. For many of those years I felt like I wasn't truly serving God in a meaningful way because my days were spent navigating trivial office politics instead of nurturing souls. I had let my joy depend on my ever shifting circumstances and the role i was filling instead of basing it on the immovable foundation of Christ. The principle is the same. The truth is God accomplishes his work through our meager daily offerings of “5 loaves and 2 fishes and he needs workers in all corners of his vineyard.


  34. I like reading blogs because I like gathering ideas. Very few will I actually try and of those few, few will actually work for me. For example, I follow Martha Stewart, but I do not even attempt to do 99% of any of her stuff! But once in a while I do see a good recipe or useful tip. I make my own detergent and cook as much as I can from scratch. This is mostly out of necessity because it saves money, not because I'm trying to be supermom. Doing it does not kill my joy because I am grateful to have clothes to wash and food to eat. I do like to cook, but I'm not great at it. So what?

    I also homeschool, but that was a carefully made decision that has made our lives better in many ways. But it's not for everyone.

    My point is, if you see another mom doing these things, it doesn't mean she's a supermom and you need to try and catch up. Maybe she is doing it out of necessity or maybe she actually enjoys it! Just as we should not judge ourselves or others for not achieving this or that, we shouldn't judge those who are. Appreciate their God-given talents as you appreciate and develop your own.


  35. I am sorry to see that some people have taken offense to your comment, Yolo. I am a homeschooler myself and I am troubled by the militant attitude many homeschoolers have who are really no different than public school parents who criticize homeschoolers for various reasons (socialization, diversity, blah, blah, blah).

    It's like this, if you're doing it to please someone else, you are following a fad. If you are doing it because you have determined that it is the best choice for you and your child, then it is not a fad. It's the same as if someone with celiac disease eats gluten-free food.


  36. Great post Sara! I am actually doing a women's bible study right now and we are covering this exact topic 🙂 We are reading “Good News For Weary Women, Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice” By Elyse Fitspatrick. So, so good!!! Check it out ladies!


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