Lets start Mission Monday with a mental health topic: mom guilt. Our mission will be to stop with the “mom guilt.” What do I mean by “mom guilt?” Where to even begin.
We all know that guilt can eat away at you, ruining your thoughts, your day, your appetite, your relationships, your life. At times the guilt can turn into condemnation, which is never from our Savior. God doesn’t bring condemnation, but the enemy loves to. Why? because condemnation and guilt eat away at you, steal your joy and life. They keep you from the Father’s love, from His heart.
As moms we can feel guilty over such trivial things. One very common “mom guilt” is working out. New moms especially may feel that just can’t give themselves any time. Everything is devoted to baby. This is simply not true. Mom needs “me” time. Taking 1-2 hours to do what you love will only help strengthen your relationship with your kids, because it offers the needed reprieve.
I ditched this thinking early on, because I knew that keeping up with what I loved gave me the mental break I needed and eventually turned into a family affair. Let’s talk about the deeper mom guilt. That one that slowly creeps ever so quietly. The guilt of feeling like somewhere you’ve failed your kids. You haven’t done enough for them. You messed up in discipline, in loving them, in praying for them, in raising them.
This guilt is toxic. This thinking is deadly. I became so consumed by it that it nearly destroyed me, because of the unnecessary pressure of trying to live up to unnecessary standards. Some of these standards I set myself, and some were the standards of others. I found myself getting on my own case and feeling so guilty if I let me kids watch too much TV, when in reality they get movie night on the weekends and no TV during the week. Or so guilty if I thought somewhere I hadn’t read them enough bible stories, or skipped too many nights of not praying before bed. Or they had too much sugar.
It left me anxious that “what if they stray some day” or “what if they felt like I wasn’t there for them.” If I spent too much time away from home one week, I felt like I may have caused a soul wound because I wasn’t there. Guilty that my kids weren’t able to be in this activity or try this sport. Thinking that my lack of “mom” was going to ruin an aspect of their life one day. Their lack of involvement in every sport or extra-curricular activity was going to ruin them and show my inadequacy.
Soon the guilt turned into condemnation, especially when I found myself yelling more and more at them. Getting easily irritated or short tempered. And it was even worse if my short fuse caused tears to well up in their eyes. I could feel the enemy taunt me and say “Look at you, your kids aren’t going to love you. You really think you’re a good mom? You yell way too much. It’s because of you that L is acting up in soccer practice. It’s because of you that they are always fighting with one another.” The lies haunted me and before long I believed them. I began to believe I was such a horrible mom. That I had ruined my kids. I wasn’t doing enough for them.
And to make matters worse were the comments from others. Even if they didn’t mean them to hurt me they did. They served as constant reminders that I had failed in raising my kids. Comments about their behaviors, them being loud, their fighting and on and on.
When I began to homeschool it opened Pandora’s box. I didn’t teach them enough. I believed the lie that other moms were better and the enemy would also play the comparison game with me. “Hey look at that mom, she does a much better job with her kids and she even has more kids than you. See her, she works more than you and look how nice that family looks. Her son is in an elite soccer league. Their kids already know such and such…..”
The enemy folks is roaming looking for whom he may devour. He loves to prey on moms and their families. He loves to prey on family’s in general, because the family is at the core of everything. Family is important to God. He did tell Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiple.
When the enemy can get into your thoughts, the self hatred, doubts, guilt and condemnation start and it spirals out of control. If I am honest, I can be so hard on myself. Over analyzing things and putting so much pressure on myself as a mom. It only fueled my depression and mental health struggles. I compared myself to everyone and felt I just wasn’t living up to everyone’s expectations. I beg to question what expectations you may be trying to live up to.
I had to learn to give it to God. To release my anxiety, fear, struggle on Him. I learned to change my perspective and remind myself of all I do for my children. How great they are and how much they have. The truth is you will never meet society’s standards of “mom.” Instead shoot for God’s and it removes a huge weight. Don’t compare yourself to others, because I can guarantee your life is not exactly like someone else’s. We all have our own crosses to bear. The shoes we walk in so very different than another, and the fit different.
I do know that God gives me the grace. His grace is sufficient. He provides the strength and wisdom I need to raise my children. His mercy’s are new every morning and that I can “Amen” to! I can stand confident that when I fail, He will pick me back up and will give me what I need. He knows your desire to be the best Mom and He won’t shame you or guilt you. Instead He speaks life into you. Reminding you of who you are…brilliant, blessed, whole, fearfully and wonderfully made, a daughter of the most high King, more than conquerors, royalty…..
So don’t you forget who you are in HIM and how much you need Him in your life as a Mom. Let go of what you can’t control and stop thinking your a “bad” Mom. You are not!!
With Love, Bryanna