A Note from Chris Adams: Motherhood is wonderful. But it also can be overwhelming and sometimes downright impossible, or so it seems. Often we look to others to help us figure it all out. Today there is easier access to all kinds of information including how to raise children. Today, Dr. Deb Douglas, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA, gives wise advice about how to filter all the information to find what is best for us as moms.
As hard as I try to keep the OCD-ness of my personality in check, it roars at times. Last night, I became obsessed with cleaning the filter on the vented microwave. Working to remove any signs of nastiness from the small grooves, my mind roamed to other filters.
Like the filter some people do not have when they open their mouths. (We’ll save that thought for next week’s article!) Or the filters we may or may not use to control how we speak and what we say around certain people.
But there’s a more dangerous lack of filter for moms and for women: the filter that prevents us from absorbing wrong, unhelpful, or too much information from an overabundance of online resources.
We all read blogs, articles, and social media posts, and we take it to be true and for our benefit. But the reality is that most of what we read does not apply to us, nor does it help us in any way. What works for one blogger mom may not be helpful at all for us. In fact, it may encourage us to place undue and unrealistic expectations on ourselves. That’s where a filter comes in handy.
Moms often feel isolated so they turn to a quick resource at their fingertips for help in their moment of desperation. Unfortunately, without another mom to talk through the advice, the mom may be left feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. There is a tremendous amount of helpful information online, but how does a mom weed through all of it to find the help she needs? She needs a filter.
How do we teach moms about filters? Let’s concentrate on developing a healthy filter for accepting or ignoring written advice from online sources.
- Talk about filters. Here are some basic reminders:
- Blogs are great and supply useful help, but they are not the final authority on any one subject.
- Not everything in every blog is true! Nor will it work for everyone.
- One blog post does not tell the entire story. It’s a snapshot taken at one particular moment in time. This one picture needs to be filtered through a lens of reality. Every family faces challenges.
- Obsessing over one writer’s blog is not healthy.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.
- If reading a blog leaves the mom feeling like the worst mom ever, avoid that blog. Some blogs are written in such a negative, condemning way that the reader feels depressed and sad afterwards. Avoid these!
- When we are desperate for information, our filters become less sensitive. In other words, we accept any help rather than the best help. Being aware of this will lead us to look more honestly at the help we are receiving.
- Demonstrate having a filter. Talk about what is helpful and what is not.
- Encourage the uniqueness of every mom. What worked for one mom may not work for any other mom’s circumstances. Encourage moms to take ideas from several sources, pray, and seek wise counsel from experienced moms before trying something new.
- Recommend good, balanced resources. Check out bloggers to see who is giving good mom advice in encouraging ways. Make sure the writers have a sound basis for what they are writing and are not coming across as condemning or negative.
- Remind moms they do not have to parent the way other moms do. The greatest resource we have is our relationship with Christ. He is there for us to turn to in our moments of confusion. He will help us face the challenges of motherhood.
- Encourage face-to-face mom interactions. Get moms talking to other moms. Here are a few ideas:
- Mom events such as informal gatherings over coffee, play dates at the park, and lunchtime gatherings create great environments for moms to share.
- Set up a mom network. Partner new moms with experienced moms. Let the experienced mom help with organizing meal trains and connecting the new mom with reliable sources for information.
- Offer mom training events on topics such as:
- Helping children be worry free
- Effective discipline
- Surviving the middle school years
- Being the mother of the bride without going Momzilla
- These can be small breakouts at a bigger mom event or just a coffee gathering with a leader and 2 or 3 moms.
The key to having a filter is for moms to trust their God-given instincts. Learning to trust ourselves as moms gives us the courage to tackle the tough issues of motherhood and parent in our unique way.
Next week, we’ll look at another aspect of mom filters.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.