Motherhood is full of choices, many of which are daily decisions in raising children. Decisions such as working full-time, part-time, or staying home are the more pressing choices that wrack the minds of moms. You then have the daily decisions of homeschooling or public school, organic or regular snacks, or how much screen time to offer your children.
With the whirlwind of choices in your household, it can be easy to compare yours to those of other moms. If left unguarded, a seed of envy in motherhood can begin to sprout in your heart.
Decisions of your friends can seem better or less than yours, leaving you prone to judgment or criticism of the friend doing life beside you.
The question becomes, what do you do when you sense envy or jealousy rising in you? How do you overcome it? Read on to find encouragement in scripture to quiet the mom envy and breathe life into the relationships with your mama friends.
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What Causes Our Envy?
The scene and feelings may be familiar. Conversations over coffee lead to a mom friend sharing her latest work project while you shake the graham cracker crumbs from your shirt for what feels like the hundredth time.
Or maybe you are the mama who works full time and longs for more time with your little ones each night before bedtime. As you listen to your friend’s new homeschool plan, the flood of thoughts and feelings begins to surface.
What are you tempted to feel in those moments? Do you entertain judgment toward the mom who spends the day at work rather than home with her kids? Have you experienced resentment for the mom who has it all together with her homeschool program while you pay for childcare to work?
So, what causes envy in motherhood?
At the root of many instances of envy is shame. Maybe you feel ashamed of not being enough for your children in the home. Or, when you are quick to judge another mom, it may be that the uncertainty of your decisions creates doubt in your calling. Once rooted, this doubt causes resentment or disdain instead of celebration for the mom beside you.
Also Read: Authenticity in Motherhood
Identifying Signs of Envy
In working to overcome envy, you have to learn to recognize it. A helpful scripture to memorize and come back to regularly is Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV), which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.
In asking the Lord to search your heart and bring to mind these areas where envy or jealousy have taken root, you can begin to identify the moments where you need to hit the pause button on your thoughts and emotions.
Putting Envy in its Proper Place
Overcoming mom envy is not something that you are fighting alone. Every mom faces this struggle on occasion.
With perfect pictures on social media or sharing stories over the coffee table, it is easy to fall into the comparison trap from one mom to another. How do you guard yourself against this battle of envy? What can you speak over yourself in the moments when jealousy or comparison creeps into your mind?
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Let scripture remain the truth you can continue to return to when tempted towards envy. Here are some scriptures about envy to refresh and challenge you in those moments of frustration or comparison.
Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV) says,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”.
Though this verse typically fits into the context of the Lord’s care for His people, consider how it applies to your little corner of motherhood. Your loving Father gives you what you need to be the mom that He has called you to be. For His glory and your good have you been given the life you have. You can trust that His plan for your family is far better than the one you could create.
Let this passage ease your heart and mind as you consider that your role as a mother will look different than the role of your friend, and that is okay. More than okay, it is good. The Lord creates a path for you to worship and rest in Him through your role as a mother, and you shall have no want other than Him alone. Before you fall into the comparison trap and covet the motherhood journey of another, remember to find your desire alone in Christ.
In Ecclesiastes 4:4 (ESV), the Preacher writes,
“Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind”. The focus in this verse is on those who strive for their gain rather than out of a desire to serve the Lord. In the moments of tempted envy, you can ask yourself, “Am I desiring to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, or is my focus on my ultimate good?”.
This heart check will allow you to refocus your attention on Christ as being more than enough rather than on the perceived lack you feel.
Another brief verse to consider on envy is Proverbs 14:30 (ESV). The writer states,
“A tranquil heart gives lives to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot”.
Consider the impact of envy and jealousy on your mind, soul, body, relationships, and family. Seek to find your peace and contentment in Christ, allowing your heart to overflow with grace, healing, and the peace the Psalmist shares.
A final verse to study and meditate on as you overcome envy in motherhood is in James 3:14-18. It is a lengthier passage, but James warns against selfish ambition, which divides the church as one person seeks to receive power and prestige above another.
Stay on guard, mama, that your heart does not overflow with jealousy and selfish ambition. Instead, let your heart pour out peace, gentleness, mercy, sincerity, and good fruit (v.17-18).
Living this way requires wisdom. Seek the Lord for His wisdom and a character that produces purity and peace within your mom community. Become a mom that blesses and builds up rather than compares and tears down.
Also Read: Comparison in Motherhood
Quieting the Inner War of Envy in Motherhood
Envy in motherhood is not a battle you are fighting alone. On this side of eternity, relationships are not perfect, and sinlessness is not yet attainable.
It can feel as though you found the short end of the stick when it comes to work and other parenthood decisions. As other moms walk a different journey, you can find your wholeness in Christ and celebrate that your path is different from theirs.
Press into the Lord to be all that you want and need. In Him, you will find the fullness of joy, peace, and contentment. When tempted to covet or become envious of another mom or another state of life, remember these Biblical truths. Allow the words of scripture to refresh and fill your soul, reminding you that you have all you need in Jesus, and you can celebrate and cheer on your mom friends who are doing their best to honor Him in their motherhood.
Written By: Brittany Thieman
Being a working mom is challenging, and the pressure to “do it all” can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, we can learn from Scripture and from other moms to live out our callings while keeping the Gospel at the center of our homes.
My name is Brittany, and I work as a Director of Operations for a company and run a small business while raising my two young daughters and baby boy on the way. My husband is a pastor, and we just recently relocated from North Carolina to Texas for a new church position. The Lord has taught us much in this busy and tiring season. I hope to encourage other mamas in their journey toward pursuing Christ in the messiness, beauty, and fatigue of motherhood.