If your a mommy I’m sure you know the feeling. It’s that feeling that somehow we’ve let the world down, or at least our children and/or hubby. It’s a ridiculous weight that we often lug around with us as a cherished treasure that we can’t let go of. Maybe it’s just me. ???? Mommy guilt is different from real guilt. Real guilt comes from the Holy Spirit’s conviction about a sin in my life that needs to be confessed. Mommy guilt is the stuff I pile onto my own shoulders. It’s typically not even an expectation of any other person. Those people who I feel like I’ve let down, don’t think that I’m perfect, neither do they expect me to preform at a perfect level at all times. There is no such thing as perfect people! We all know and agree to this adamantly! However when I put on the shroud of Mommy guilt I think that I should be perfect, and each and every mistake adds to my “guilt” because I’m less and less perfect. I feel like if I’m not the “perfect” mom my kids will have no chance to turn out right. I feel like if my kids aren’t behaving “perfectly” it’s because I’m a “bad mom” and therefore I must pile on more Mommy guilt.
Thinking about it tonight I realized it’s just another manifestation of personal pride. Seems weird because guilt makes me feel “bad” but the reason I’m feeling guilty in the first place is because I have an elevated opinion of who I am, or should be or something. No, I’m not perfect and no matter how hard I try I never will be. No matter how much Mommy guilt I load onto my head it will never make me one bit better. In fact the Mommy guilt will simply drag me down, and keep me from being the best I can be. I need to accept the things that come along in the way of personal mistakes (not sins, that’s unacceptable), in the way of misbehavior in my children, and in the way of things to work on and improve in my marriage. Those things, instead of creating more Mommy guilt, should help me exercise my dependence on God for one, and also just problem working skills. If my toddler isn’t responding “right” to a certain form of correction, rather than feel like a flop, failure and I-should-just-have-been-a-hermit, I can re-evaluate the situation and come up with a more creative solution, or realize that what I’m doing WILL eventually work, and just have some stick2it-aveness. 🙂 Like that word?
I’ve been thinking about this whole Mommy guilt thing for awhile because my hubby got me a book called “Parenting is your highest calling and 8 other myths” ha! I know, interesting title, but it’s been an amazing read for me. I’ve been devouring it as much as possible in the time I can carve out of my busy potty-training days for reading. It strikes a chord with me because I know I’ve been guilty of creating Mommy guilt for myself. But part of that is because I have, as many Christians have, bought into some of the myths that this book talks about. Basically the author is trying to get us back to a biblical perspective of who we are as parents. Just sinners, like our children, who need a real, living relationship with Christ to be an effective parent, or person really. Anyway, I’m bad at book reviewing, so I’ll just say that if you, like me, have ever struggled with Mommy guilt, this book is a HUGE encouragement!! Almost like a cooling salve over a bad sunburn! It just makes sense, and makes Mommy guilt make much LESS sense.
Tonight I fell into the Mommy guilt pit when Myles got tangled up with a wasp. 🙁 Poor boy was screaming, but I couldn’t tell what was wrong. I was trying to comfort him, but couldn’t see the bug that was stuck under his shirt collar. So our little one year old was initiated into the “not all bugs are fun” club with 2 or 3 stings! Wasps can sting more than once I learned today. 🙁 Anyway, there was NOTHING I could have done to make the situation turn out any differently. Stu and I had both been in the kitchen with the lad. Neither of us saw the thing flying around, and still have no earthly idea how it got on Myles. Even though that is true, I still started in loading up the Mommy guilt. “Somehow I should have seen it. I should have checked his collar first. I didn’t get the bug off fast enough! etc. etc. etc…” I could have gone on forever. See how silly it is? I do, but I still make myself the victim of a heaping helping of Mommy guilt on a regular basis. Now that I’m aware of it though I believe I am making progress with it. I can’t control everything, try as I might! I can’t change people, circumstance, or emergencies. I can only change myself, and how I respond to life and what it brings. Little by little I can become a better person, though I won’t ever reach that “perfect” pedestal that I have set up in my mind. That just has to go!
These are some of the words to a song that has encouraged me this year. 🙂
“Never let them see you when your breaking
Never let them see you when you fall
Thats How We Live
And Thats How We Try
Tell The world you’ve got it all together
You never let them see whats underneath
We cover it up
with the crooked smile
but it only lasts for a little while
there’s no such thing as perfect people
there’s no such thing as a perfect life
so come as you are, broken and scarred
lift up your heart and be amazed, and be changed
by a perfect God
Suddenly its like a weight is lifted
when you hear the words that you are loved
he knows where you are
and were you’ve been
and you never have to go there again
There’s no such thing as perfect people
There’s no such thing as a perfect life
so come as you are, broken and scarred
lift up your heart and be amazed and be changed
by a perfect God
Who lived, and died, to give you life
to heal our inperfections
so look up, and see love, and let grace be amazing!”