I feel pressure to work perfectly, run my home perfectly, and to mother perfectly.
That's the problem.
Looking back, I wish someone would have told me. Maybe just knowing that it would happen would have helped. For years I suffered in silence thinking it was just me. When I discovered that mommy guilt is a universal problem, I learned just how much of an epidemic it truly is.
It seems that from the very beginning of motherhood, I've not had a day when I've not experienced mommy guilt. It comes on days when I've not spent enough time with my kids. It comes on days when I've spent too much time with them, not
getting other things done.
It finds me when I lose my temper and say something I'll need to apologize to my kids for. It haunts me as I pull out of the driveway and see a crying toddler in the window. I feel it at night when the house is quiet and I remember the time I said "no" to playing Candy Land one more time. It seems that the weight of mommy guilt looms ever close at any moment.
I've experienced it when I've had huge weeks at work where the commitments were high and my kids watched a lot of movies or played by themselves. Or times when I've gone through a drive through window feeding a toddler in the back all of the fries she'd care to eat.
As my kids age, I experience mommy guilt as I reflect upon their current negative behaviors. "Do they do that because I did too much of this or not enough of that?" "Are they feeling this way because of me?"
Mommy guilt affects all moms everywhere. Mommy guilt is an equal opportunity affliction. It handicaps moms of all ages, all economic backgrounds, and in all geographic locations. I don't know one of my friends who has been exempt from
the dreaded mommy guilt.
If I were to be honest, I'd have to admit that most of my guilt is the result of feeling like I've come up short as a mom, or like I've failed someone. I feel pressure to work perfectly, run my home perfectly, and to mother perfectly.
That's the problem. Perfection is something I can't attain.
The lie of perfectionism has defeated many a mom when it comes to piling on the mommy guilt. Maybe the apostle (bachelor) Paul was on to something for moms when he said, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." (Phil. 3:12)
What a game changer it could be in my life if I could learn that mothering perfectly isn't my main goal, but that I only need to press on. If I could be free of my mommy guilt for a time and, instead, "press on to make Christ my own" my ideal day would be far different.
In order to shed the weight of mommy guilt, I've got to align my ideals with God's ideals for me. When He looks at me, He doesn't see one who falls short. He sees one who is complete. He sees one who stands as a willing servant, offering Him
the best of all that He created within me.
I have come to realize that God's desire for me as a mom is to lighten up. To walk away from my need to be perfect as a mom and in every other role I fill. "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
I long for that freedom, don't you?
How about you, mom. Do you struggle with mommy guilt? Does it come from your need to be perfect or is it driven by another need within you? How do you deal with mommy guilt?