Mom guilt. Have you ever felt it? If you’re a mom reading this blog, then you likely fall into the 90-percent category of mothers who have admitted to being a member of this disturbing club. If you claim to be in the other 10-percent who have never experienced guilt as a mom, then I need to meet you because I thought there was no such thing as a perfect mom. Whatever the case, mom guilt is real. It’s a mom’s feeling of failure in certain areas, where expectations were placed there by others or herself, making her feel like she’s fallen short somehow. It’s toxic. It’s real. It hurts.
I’ve experienced mom guilt. Or maybe what I’ve felt is guilt’s cousin: regret. My mom guilt/regret doesn’t stem from my single motherhood days but from the early years of my second marriage with Rich. Though we were prayerful in much, there weren’t any books on how to blend a family with children involved. We did a lot of things right, but like most second marriages, we did some things wrong.
So let me guess where your mom guilt originates. Do these sound familiar?
- I feel guilty because I have to work all the time.
- I feel guilty because I’m not homeschooling properly.
- I feel guilty because I yell at my kids.
- I feel guilty because I feel responsible for my children’s problems.
What’s a mom to do? I firmly believe that because God gave us women the privilege of carrying those children in our womb (notice it’s called “mom” guilt and not “dad” guilt), we naturally have some kind of chromosome inclination to feel personally responsible for hurtful circumstances our children encounter. We want them to have a trouble-free life. Right? But did our moms have that? NO! They likely suffered from mom guilt dealing with us, too. I believe much of the mom guilt we carry is somewhat normal, but I also know there are actions we can take to reset our minds on a higher truth from God’s perspective. So how do we do that?
First, relax. We remind ourselves that God is bigger than our feelings of inadequacy. After all, kids don’t need perfect moms. What they need is a mom who loves God and His Word and finds her sufficiency in HIM. My motto is, if you can’t fix the nagging pain that you’ve already talked to the Father about, then let it go and trust Him for the outcome.
Second, lower unrealistic expectations. Not every day will get us a motherhood Oscar. We give ourselves grace by remembering that our kids are shaped by the SUM of our days. Therefore, #mistakesallowed. When we accept our weakness and trade it in for God’s strength, then He works through our limitations as a tool to empower us beyond our own capabilities.
And third, stop beating yourself up. Ask yourself, “Where is this guilt coming from?” Know that “someone” drives your guilt. It’s either assigned by Satan (false guilt) – a guilt that constantly condemns and leads to a loss of personal integrity or it’s assigned by God (true guilt) – a guilt that leads to repentance and a restored relationship with the Father. Women are feelers. We need to remember that just because we “feel” guilty doesn’t mean we “are” guilty.
God knows our hearts is to provide the best for our children. I’m thankful our heavenly Father picks up where we left off and finishes His good plan in them. When we choose to live out of a Christ-based filter instead of a shame-based filter, we’ll discover a renewed hope and an expectation that God will work all our parental shortcomings for good. Why? Because that is His nature.
Friend, God is at always at work. So put mom guilt where it belongs. On this Mother’s Day, crush it under your feet and walk forward in confidence knowing that your best efforts are raising up GREAT kids!
About Pam Kanaly
Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.