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In the midst of infertility, I never thought that I would be a complaining mom. Hearing other moms grumbling about their children made me angry as I thought that I would appreciate motherhood more than them.
Yet, here I am. Constantly tempted to sit around and talk to other women about how hard it is to be a mom.
Christian women are frequently encouraged to not grumble about their husbands in public. But kids are a different story. Think about it, would you talk to others about your husband the same way you talk about your children?
It’s easy to think that you are just venting, but take the time to answer these questions to see if you are actually a complaining mom.
You might be a complaining mom if…
- Someone says they are tired and you immediately complain about how little sleep you got due to a teething baby or a sick preschooler
- Someone mentions their child’s disobedience, and you say they don’t know what bad is…before launching into your many stories
- You do “good things,” but constantly talk about how hard it is to be doing “all the things” for your family
- You accept no help but hold a grudge against others for being happy and carefree
Sins Revealed by Being a Complaining Mom
Chances are you identified with one of the above situations. We all have the tendency to complain because complaining or grumbling is rooted in some very common sins.
Grumbling Reveals Pride
In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus tells a parable about workers in a vineyard. The master of the house hires several workers who agree upon a day’s wage. Throughout the day, he sees other workers in the city and hires them as well. At the end of the day, the owner of the vineyard instructs the foreman to pay everyone. They are all paid the same amount. The workers who worked the whole day were angry, even though they had agreed on that amount. They felt that they deserved more.
How often as believers do we think we deserve better? We complain about our children or the difficulties in our lives because we are prideful and think too highly of ourselves.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3 ESV
Pride leads to frustration with our children as we are quick to notice their faults, but struggle to identify our own sins and weaknesses.
Complaining Reveals Discontentment and Thanklessness
“Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’” – Numbers 14:1-4 ESV
Our pride reveals that we think too highly of ourselves. Discontentment shows exactly what we think we deserve. We desire comfort, stability, money, well-behaved children, approval from our peers, but we often don’t receive those things. Just like the Israelites, we end up discontent, unhappy with our current circumstances, and start to complain. We aren’t thankful for the things that we do have, because we don’t believe that they are enough.
Grumbling Reveals a Lack of Faith
“Grumbling is more than the voice of discontentment, however. It is also the voice of unbelief. We grumble when our faith in God’s good purposes falters. Unwilling to trust that God is crafting this disappointment for our good, we have eyes only for the painful now.” – Scott Hubbard
How easily do we forget God’s faithfulness to us? Being a complaining mom, always talking about my negative circumstances, shows that I am not considering what God is doing now or what He has done in the past. I’m either focused on myself and my desires instead of seeing God’s work in my life, or I don’t believe that my circumstances can be used for my good and His glory.
The Opposite of a Complaining Mom: Seek Humble Thankfulness
The Bible not only gives us examples of grumbling, but we also see how to act instead. The opposite of a complaining mom, a woman filled with pride, discontent, and a lack of faith, is a woman who humbly approaches God, thanking Him for His many blessings and trusting His wonderful plan.
The Humble Mom
Rapt Motherhood means looking to Jesus, giving Him our rapt attention, in all aspects of motherhood. Hebrews 12:3 (ESV) encourages us to “consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Christ received the ultimate shame and hostility, yet did not respond with grumbling but humility.
When we are tempted to complain about our circumstances because we see them as unfair, let us instead turn to praise! As former enemies of God, we deserve His wrath, yet, by grace, have received salvation. Having a right, humble understanding of yourself before the Lord that leads to praise.
“What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.” – Psalm 116:12-14 (ESV)
Not only does humility cause us to give God glory, but it also helps us to consider others before ourselves. We have been given grace, so we should extend the same grace to others – including our children.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
The Thankful Mom
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
The humble mom, one who views herself rightly before God will turn to praise, even in the midst of trials.
“If life is hard right now, take hope. Feeling gratitude during trials may be hard, but, as believers, we look to a future glory. No matter your earthly afflictions, God is still good and sovereign. We have a future hope for which to be thankful. Rest in these truths. Preach them to yourself and your family. Don’t let this time of trials be wasted, but, instead, show others the Gospel through your genuine gratitude toward your Father.” – How to Cultivate a Heart of Genuine Gratitude
Take time to consider what you can be thankful for in the midst of your trials. How can you turn your complaints to gratitude?
The Trusting Mom
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” – Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
How can we be thankful and content? We look back on what God has done for us and trust that He will continue to take care of us in the future. His plan is one for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
“Remember God’s gracious deliverance and redemption. Establish it in your memory. Memorialize it. Paint it on the walls of your house. Journal it and reread it each morning.” – Steven Lee
The Complaining Mom vs. a Mom Seeking Support
Turning from grumbling to a life of humble thankfulness and faith does not mean we can never mention our trials. We live in a fallen world and sin impacts every aspect of our lives, including motherhood. If you tend to complain instead of seeking genuine support for your motherhood journey, ask yourselves these questions before talking to someone.
- Have I prayed about the situation and sought wisdom from the Word?
- Have I confessed my own sins in this situation?
- Would I speak about my husband or friend in this way?
- Will talking about this situation lead to my sanctification or am I merely seeking approval?
- Does talking about this situation build others up or is it gossip or corrupting talk? (Ephesians 4:29)
- Can I trust the person I am speaking with to keep the situation in confidence, pray about the circumstances, and seek God’s glory first?
Look to Jesus
Although I’m still tempted to complain about my kids after a long day, I can find hope in the Bible. I can turn my eyes to Christ, looking to His example for how to respond to my kids’ disobedience, illness, sleep struggles, and other trials.
If you want to give Christ your rapt attention, but are not sure what that looks like practically as a busy mom, be sure to check out the 30 Days of Looking to Jesus challenge. Each day includes simple routines and disciplines to incorporate into your day so that you can look to Christ in all circumstances.