I’ll never forget the conversation that abruptly ended my otherwise blissful pregnancy.
I was chatting with another pregnant lady at a park and we were discussing all things baby. She started telling me about how she was going to give birth at home. She then let me know she thought a good mom woman would not give birth in a toxic and chemically filled hospital.
This was my introduction to mom guilt.
The months to follow held conversations about nursing and immunizations. Family beds vs. cry it out methods. To work or not to work. What kind of schooling choices were we going to make? I hadn’t even had the baby yet…
I am not sure what your experience with guilt has been in your journey of motherhood, but we have all felt it from time to time. It is this deep dread that we are screwing up terribly.
Mom Guilt Hot Spots
For my group of friends, these are some pretty common areas we feel mom guilt:
- Homeschool vs. public vs. private school
- Discipline styles
- Getting mad at our kids
- Being tired
- Our houses not being perfectly in order
- Working outside the home
- Needing some quality “me” time.
- Not wanting to play store for the 15th time that day…
5 Tips for Battling Mom Guilt
So many things make us feel bad for the ways we are parenting. I am no stranger to mommy guilt, so I thought I would share some tips I have found helpful.
1. Start your day off right. Having a devotional time first thing in the morning is a game changer for me. I focus on who God says I am and His ability to make up for all the weaknesses I see in myself. It is really powerful to let the places of guilt turn into fuel for my prayer life. For more on this, I refer you to Hello Mornings!
2. Sing. Say what? Yes. Sing. When I get frustrated with my kids and feel the urge to yell, I sing instead. Lets say I am frantically trying to make dinner when my son spills juice in my shoes (this is totally hypothetical of course). It is the last straw to my rough day and I feel the yell coming out of my lungs. I open my clenched jaw and at the last minute turn my angry yell into a loud song. “You! You spilled juice in my shoes! Yeah, yeah, yeah!”
You can sing at the top of your lungs to let the anger out and be explosive with your jazz hands as a way to relieve the tension. It sounds ridiculous, but it works. Plus, your kids just think you are being silly and start giggling along. Win, win.
3. Say ‘yes’ whenever you can and don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’. I learned this from my mom. She always said ‘yes’ as often as she could. When she said ‘no’ we knew she had a good reason. I have found sometimes I say ‘no’ because I’d rather be lazy or want to be controlling. (Confession: sometimes I am bossy & controlling. Go ahead, gasp if you need to. ) I don’t feel guilty for saying ‘no’ even if they cry or have a tantrum. If I can make it happen, I will. If I can’t, then no need feeling guilty about it.
4. I ask my kids what needs work. Chances are our kids don’t care that we bought their party décor from Wally’s Party Factory instead of crafting a Pinterest worthy spread. I have found that most of the things I beat myself up about aren’t even a blip on my kid’s radar. I routinely ask my kids what they think we need to work on in our relationship. It helps me know what to focus on as a mom and it also teaches them that all relationships require communication and effort.
5. Trust God. When I was eleven, my parents moved our family to Siberia. S-I-B-E-R-I-A. My brother and I cried, questioned and cried some more. This was in the early 90s when there were bread lines and no other Americans to be found. You can bet my mama struggled with some guilt for that one. However, she trusted God.
He called my parents to move to Russia to plant a church and she trusted that He would take care of us in the process. She was right. Turns out that sub-freezing decision would be a highlight of my life. I LOVED Russia.
Our family got closer, we fell more in love with Jesus and the Church, and it gave me an adventure few get to experience.
Parenting is full of risks. There is no standard we can all adhere to or method that works without a hitch. We are all gonna have bad days ( err…sometimes months) but God doesn’t want us to live in guilt.
We can trust that God is doing a good thing in our lives and our children’s lives as well. So, take a deep breath mamas. You don’t have to be perfect because God always has your back.
Have you struggled with mom guilt? How do you deal with it? Click here to join the discussion.
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Elizabeth is a church planter, speaker, writer and naptime abolitionist. She lives in Texas with her husband & two little kids. Her other hobbies include wasting time on social media, trying to remember where she parked her car, and browsing Pinterest for DIY projects she will never actually make. You can visit her over at Lark & Bloom or on twitter @larkandbloom.