“Mom guilt”. You hear that word thrown around a lot lately. It means what exactly?
The word guilt implies that you have done something wrong. Have you done something wrong? Most women feel guilty for things that are completely out of their control.
Consider this scenario. You come home from work, exhausted and spent from dealing with angry clients all day long and find the house a disaster. The babysitter tells you your son has been crying all day and nothing helped. You look at your son and know that what he truly wanted was you and you weren’t there. Then it smacks you right in the face. MOM GUILT.
Or how about this scenario. You are a stay at home mom. All day long your children are clinging to you and you feel like all you want to do is escape from them for a few minutes. You finish dinner, get everyone ready for bed, and finally sit down to watch a rerun of Friends. You are completely frazzled and frustrated. Just as you are turning up the volume you hear your daughter talking in the next room. You get up to see what she is doing and to tell her to go back to bed but instead you hear her praying. “Please help Mommy have a better day tomorrow. She is really tired.” MOM GUILT
Mom guilt is a modern invention.
You wouldn’t hear a mom in the 19th century worrying about whether her kids had a play date that day or if she spent enough time with them. She would be worrying about feeding them and making sure they were alive.
Seriously that is our job. Our job is not to make every little desire come true for our children. It is our job is to feed, shelter, and clothe them.
Our job is to LOVE them. It is not our job to make them happy all of the time.
Too many of us are trying to please our children all of the time. If we give them everything then they won’t understand what it is to have goals and desires to improve themselves. Trying to fulfill their every emotional need is a good way to make sure you are always exhausted and emotionally spent. You are there to help guide them to make good choices and to learn how to deal with their emotions.
Pretend you are like the ring leader in the circus. You are there to make sure the Lions and the Tigers don’t get into a fight and that the Trapeze Artists always have a net. But you aren’t there to fight the Lions or catch the Trapeze Artists. You are there to guide and teach them.
You can’t always make them happy and you are guaranteed to fail. Instead, you can teach them to deal with hard times and to soften the fall. You can help them to understand that they have to wait for that toy they want or earn money to help pay for it.
There are times you will feel guilty about how you handled a certain situation. But you know what? You are the best Mom for them anyway. No one else can love your children the way you love them. God chose you to be their Mom. He knew that you would have hard times and make mistakes but you are good enough. You did good enough. You are doing good enough.
Every day is like a new start.
You get to start over every day and just keep on trying. Feeling guilty about the past does not help your day today or tomorrow. If anything, it makes it worse. If you dwell on past experiences you are wasting the here and now. So instead of feeling bad that you lost your temper for the 2nd time that day, take a deep breath and tell them you love them. Tell them you will try harder. Parents make mistakes and sometimes you should apologize to your children.
Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully one free of Mom Guilt. The best thing you can do for your children is to take care of yourself. Your children want a happier Mom. So, give it to them. Concentrate on the things you can do and let go of the guilt. You and your children will be happier because of it.
What kind of things have you struggled with feeling guilty for? Let’s talk about it. We all struggle with this and need encouragement.