No judgment, please, but I occasionally enjoy scrolling through Instagram looking for recipes or household tips. Today, someone posted how snake plants in a bedroom can help those struggling with nighttime allergies. Living in Kansas, this was valuable information. I will be buying a snake plant soon. For moms, the digital world can also be helpful but also dangerous.  I notice many “influencers” whose posts, podcasts, photos, and such idealize parenting and motherhood, which can add an element of complexity to an already difficult role. Interestingly, no one wants to share videos or pictures of the weekend when the family had stomach flu.    Instead, women who want to be “mommy influencers” often portray an unrealistic and unattainable enactment of what it means to be a mother. It is life without the stomach flu, without tantrums or crying babies. I have noticed that a cookie-cutter formula is often presented, meaning there is no room for diversity in style or preference when it comes to mothering. It reminds me of the 1975 movie Stepford Wives, where all the men wanted a wife of their own making and design. Social media can cause us to want to make Stepford Mothers.   Moms who strive to be like this or that mother but instead end up struggling with guilt, doubt, and jealousy as they compare themselves to other media mothers. I do understand the appeal of social media because motherhood is hard. It is messy, offers little immediate rewards, is often confusing, and is always a great deal of work. So, if we don’t look to social media, who or what should be our “influencer”?   

The Sunday School answer is the bible – but what does it offer us specifically relating to mothers? Motherhood is depicted in Scripture as a noble and honorable way of life. This is evident in how God uses mothering imagery to describe His care for His people. While Scripture never uses feminine gender terms for God nor refers to Him as ‘mother,’ it does speak about how He shelters his people under His wings as a mother bird would. He says, as one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you. (Is. 66;13). Hosea describes Him as responding like a mother bear who is robbed of her cubs (Hosea 13:8), and He also describes Himself as hovering over His people like a mother eagle over her nest. My favorite is where God promises future glory for His people and likens it to the joy of a nursing child (Is. 60:16). As you care for, comfort, and protect your children, you are imaging God’s care and protection. This powerful image portrays to their hearts the message of God’s love and care which culminates in the gospel.

Scripture also acknowledges a mother’s unique and powerful role as a spiritual influencer in her children’s lives. This is exemplified in Paul’s recognition of Timothy’s mother and grandmother, whom he credits with guiding Timothy in his faith. However, these women are just two in a long line of women who were vital to redemptive history: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Ruth, Hannah, Bathsheba, Elizabeth, and Mary. The one who has greatly encouraged me was Hannah. We know she was a praying mom, and the song of Hannah reveals she was a woman who wholeheartedly trusted God. Therefore, it was not a coincidence that Samuel would accomplish everything he did. He established Israel’s kingdom in David, a pivotal point in redemptive history. Therefore, through prayer and faith in God, Hannah’s once-barren womb bore a son who would play his part in preparing the way for our Savior, the Lord Jesus.  

Paul understood the importance of having someone to follow. He told the Philippians, ‘Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us’ (Phi. 3:17). Therefore, be wise in who you choose to emulate. Remember, you only see what they want you to see. I recommend following the godly women in your church, small group, and spiritual leaders. Then, remember your role as an influencer. The spiritual influence of a mother is far more significant than the baked cookies or the crafts that are produced, as valuable as they are. The love, guidance, and values a mother instills in her children have the potential to shape their character and future. So, moms, allow Scripture to be your ‘influencer,’ and you, too, can be an ‘influencer’ to your children.