Mommy Guilt is something all moms struggle with. At least all the moms I talk with. If you are not a mama who suffers from any form of Mommy Guilt, then please email me. I want to pick your brain. I’m serious.
But for the rest of us, Mommy Guilt is a very real, lurking shadow.
And I think we all know how Mommy Guilt makes us feel – small, inadequate, like a failure, not good enough, all heaped onto a tray that we carry around while we do our Mommy things.
Since it is so much a feeling, I wanted to look up what the word “guilt” meant and then how it applied to the Mommy Guilt situation and this is what I came up with:
Mommy Guilt [mom-ee gilt] – a feeling of remorse or regret for an offense, decision, thought or activity real or imagined while we are in the trenches of motherhood
And after having read this definition over and over again the part that keeps popping out to me is “real or imagined”.
Listen, I’ll be the first one to let you know I do not get everything right when it comes to my kids. I yell. I cry. I blow it. And then I make breakfast. Our days are not peaches and cream over here at the Heffner Homestead, in case you thought I had this whole thing figured out.
But how much weight am I carrying from things that I’ve only imagined I’m doing wrong? What about you?
And where does that standard come from?
I think the perceived wrongs come from a lot of different places and I don’t know if I could ever list them all but here are a few:
- cultural norms
- new trends
- family traditions
For example, it recently became this amazing blogosphere trend that we HAD to get up in the morning before our kids or we were somehow failing them. And I quietly slept until my kids got up, as guilt leaked in, all the while trying to justify to myself and others that it was ok to sleep (right?) because of all the things in this post and more.
Until I realized that was perceived guilt. My children were not in danger in any way. I was not impacting their lives in a negative way. And I was not being convicted by the Holy Spirit to change what I was doing.
So I have to say, for the average, day-to-day, honest to goodness, good-will mother, that most our guilt may just be perceived guilt.
And how do we get rid of perceived guilt?
Well it would be too easy to say to stop thinking about it, to get over it. But it’s not that easy, is it? This guilt wants to do battle. So you can try these 3 tips for overcoming Mommy Guilt.
3 Tips for Overcoming Mommy Guilt
- Say it out loud. The things we keep secret inside of us have a strange and strong power over us. Taking three seconds to say out loud something that is causing can loosen the power of the hold and also, if you start talking through it, can help find the root of the guilt.
- Acknowledge truth. Write down things that you know are true or that you are working towards making true. I love my kids. I am an intentional mom. Write them in the present tense so that when you read them, you read them as truth. Include God’s word as it is the ultimate truth.
- Pray it out. God already knows absolutely every thing you think and feel. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to hear it from you. Just like you love talking to your husband to build relationship and feel intimate, talking to God develops and grow your relationship with him.
I don’t think the blogosphere trends, the cultural norms, the other moms at the library, or even the perfect images we have etched into our heads are going away any time soon.
Instead of holding any of those up as a ruler and seeing how we’re measuring up, I challenge you, me, and all of us to try these three steps to overcoming the Mommy Guilt when we start to feel it flare up.
What do you do to combat Mommy Guilt? Share it in the comments!
P.S. For the entire month of January, we’ll be talking Mommy Guilt here on the blog. (Don’t worry, we’ll talk about some other stuff too!) Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a post in this series. Plus, when you subscribe, you’ll get access to the Whole Bean Resource Library, where you’ll find free printables, pdfs, and more, even some on Mommy Guilt, so be sure to subscribe today (in the box below).