We have all been there. It’s blindsided us, consumed us, and broken us: Mom Guilt.
As mothers, we all know how precious our time is with our children. We quickly realize how right all those “old ladies” who told us as we were pregnant, or new parents, were when they told us how quickly our babies will grow up. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much and walked away rolling my eyes as I did when I was first pregnant with Ry and would hear this. But now I find myself telling it to other moms because it is so true!
They do grow up fast, and we learn this quickly. However, just because we realize this doesn’t mean it helps us. If anything, I think it adds to our guilt.
When the day is over I lie in bed thinking of all the things I should’ve done with my kids that day and all the things I shouldn’t have. I have cried many times thinking about that and telling myself that I will never get this day back with them. It came, it went, and I wasted it.
I was too busy cleaning, too busy doing laundry, too busy working on my blog- I should’ve stopped everything and played with them. I shouldn’t have fussed at them for raising their voice; they were only trying to get my attention. I shouldn’t have punished them for acting up; they were only testing me to see if I was still aware of them.
I lost that day with them and it was all my fault.
That’s what mommy guilt does to us. Those are the words we say to ourselves, the thoughts we think about ourselves, because we allow ourselves to become consumed by this guilt.
And to make us feel even better, we all know that mom who just seems to have it all together. She has complete control over her kids. She is unnaturally calm when talking to them. And, to top it off, she looks freaking amazing. Must. Be. Nice. That’s definitely not me. My children are running around like wild banshees. I am still struggling to stand up (because we thought it was a good idea to add another banshee to the pack) to try and tame them. And, once I finally do, I am at my wits end- eyes twitching, voice cracking, and a few tears rolling, but don’t worry- I am just scaring everyone else within our vicinity because my kids are not phased at all…
And in the end, it only adds to the criticism of ourselves. We think we are the worst mom in the world.
It did not hit me until I was talking with a friend, a fellow mommy, who felt the exact same way. To be honest, I thought I only experienced this guilt. I thought I was the only mom making these “mistakes.” But after our conversation, I couldn’t shake this idea. I couldn’t stop asking myself:
Is this how God intended motherhood to be?
There was no way He would give us this amazing gift, raising His children, and leave us feeling this guilty. Would he?
This is not how we are supposed to feel. God knows we are human, he understands we are not perfect; yet, he still entrusts us to raise another person! If He can accept us for our flaws, why can’t we accept ourselves?
Why We Feel Mom Guilt & How to Overcome It:
- We are over thinkers. Just ask your husband. As he quickly falls asleep at night, you are sitting there worrying about every event that happened that day and what will happen in the days to come. Get out of your head! Yes, we made mistakes that day but all we can do is try better tomorrow. Worrying will not change anything (I’ve learned that a lot with LB). Easier said that done, trust me-I know! But when you have trouble with this idea, remember that it’s not just me telling you to stop worrying, it’s God too:
- “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
- Stop comparing yourself with other moms! This one we all do, even if we don’t admit it. Every other mom always seems to be doing something better that you… it’s just how our brain seems to be wired. But we need to remember: we should not be here feeling insignificant to one another. We are all human (even super mom has a flaw- what’s her kryptonite? I don’t know, but I am sure it’s out there somewhere- AND THAT’S OKAY!) We are the best mothers for OUR kids. That’s why they are ours. They are given to us for a reason. You are exactly the mom your kids need you to be.
- Forgive yourself: This is a big one. Did you spend too much time on your phone today? Did you focus more on your housework than the kids? Did you choose to stay late at work instead of coming home early? It’s okay! Life is full of choices, and get this: tomorrow you get to decide to make new ones. So, if you felt guilty for being on your phone today- put it down tomorrow. All those things you wished you would’ve changed today- work on them tomorrow.
- Make a list at night of all the things you wished you would’ve changed today. When you wake up in the morning, read them and try working on it. You may not be able to change everything you wish, but that’s okay! I promise, you are doing a better job than you’re giving yourself credit for. Just ask your kids (;
- It’s not God making you feel this way. And always remember, God gave us this gift of mothering. Not so we would always feel guilty, but because he trusts us. These thoughts of guilt are not from Him. If you cannot overcome these feelings: pray, open your bible, talk with God. Motherhood is hard, but it’s easier if you have Him in your corner!
Even after understanding what it is and trying to cope with it- it’s something that will always be there. I think it’s just important for us to realize we are not alone in this fight. We have each other as fellow mommies and we also have God. Just remember, you are not alone in this journey.
Love yourself. Love your kids. And, love your life.
It was all given to you for a reason.