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#MomGuilt


Mom guilt. I feel like this blog could write itself. There is not one mom I’ve met, whether her kids be wee babes, teen, toddlers, or full grown, every mom I’ve spoken to, struggles with mom guilt on some level. We are always second guessing each decision we make. Looking around us at all the other moms who do it just right, and seeing only our vast failings screaming back at us, and continuing to feel the ever-growing void inside us that we are surely not enough and never will be; enter mom guilt.

That desire for perfection is often labeled as OCD and mocked. Or the flip side, pushed down and to the side so we can be more free spirited and fun for our kids. But no matter which side you tend to lean to, deep down that desire to get it right, or as close to right as we can, drives us to a certain standard of perfection. That desire for excellence is ingrained in us as we long for Heaven. But it’s not something that can ever be found here. And until we take the steps to acknowledge that and adjust our expectations, we will surely continue down this destructive path as mothers, stuck in our short comings and drowning in guilt. Constantly comparing to the mom next door, the mom who so effortlessly does it all.

You know her, we will lovingly call her supermom. She works a fulltime job, or maybe she stays home and home schools, either or both while balancing blogs and fundraisers, always on time, raising flawless children, her house sparkles, her husbands cared for, always shining Jesus, always answering the call to help those in need. And we all want to be her. Whoever that “her” is to you, maybe it was your mom, maybe it was a mentor, maybe it’s someone from church or mommy group. Whoever that may be, I think Satan uses that desire to be the ever-allusive super mom against us. An expectation that we would be or should be someone else. That mom, the one getting it all right. And deep inside I think we all know she is human; we have heard her say she yells too and we see the tired in her eyes if we really look, but still we choose to believe she has some great anointing we have missed. If only we could get a little of what she has, maybe we would be better and more worthy of our calling. Maybe it would finally click and we would arrive, and with that destination the mom guilt and expectations would finally be shed because we would finally be getting it right.

Years ago, while struggling with my own mom guilt, I took some time to write down what God actually has called us to as mothers. And its surprisingly simple. Love them, provide their basic needs and teach them about God. Yeah, that’s it. Shocking right!? It seems too simple with all the stress we put on ourselves to find the perfect answers to all our decisions as mamas. From what tooth paste to buy, to breast feeding, to working or staying at home, to what school to send them, it can get so overwhelming when we lose sight of what God has actually called us to. Especially with the pressures from so many women around us, whether said or just felt, the pressure to measure up is unbearable. Sometimes it feels as if even our friendships and mere survival in this jungle of motherhood depend on us making the right decision that will impress and please the masses. We forget we don’t need the approval of the people around us, just God. And we need to trust his Holy Spirit to guide us. God has been gently reminding me of this and teaching me to realize that God has supernaturally equipped each of us for our calling as mothers. That means this, it’s going to look different for each family. And God has also been lovingly gifting me this thought, different isn’t bad! Different doesn’t mean wrong.

I think we as women have bought into this lie that if we don’t do it like the general mass, the latest fad, then that automatically means it’s wrong or we are in the group labeled less than moms. We believe the lie that it can only be one of two things, she is wrong or I am wrong and we get so hung up on that. We feel so inferior to the women around us. Always silently comparing and measuring up. Keeping points for the times we got our kids to eat broccoli and that mother didn’t, at least we can add that to our good box even though we get knocked a point because we work outside the home. This is all part of Satan’s scheme to drive us mamas apart, to create tension and stress in our homes and ultimately to keep us from our best, the best our loving God wants for us. If Satan can keep us so stuck on the right, and perfect, and socially acceptable thing, we miss being all God has truly called us to be.

For each of us our calling will be different and so will our ministries. And the cool thing is we can have dual ministries and professions. We may have been called to raise our kids and love our husbands but each time we got to the grocery store we are called to love our neighbor, in pickup line at school, when we volunteer, when we go to our second job outside the home, when we greet at church on Sunday. Each of these are also an opportunity to show Jesus’s love to his people. Not every moment of our life will be with our children and in those moments, God asks us to be away ministering to someone else, he is more than capable of filling in those cracks. Allowing others to be blessed by the time with our kids. And working in our children great things as they are able to see other facets of Jesus in the people around us. What seems to us like voids of time away from our kids are moments God has perfectly orchestrated so he can show us and our kids just how big he is, big enough to be there for both of us.

So today mama, I free you. I free you to bask in God’s grace, in who he says you are. If you are loving your babies and keeping them warm and fed, if you are showing them Jesus by being his hands and feet that rock them and kiss booboos and shush bad dreams away and pray earnestly over their hearts, then mama you are doing it right!! Even if the way you do it is different than all the others, you mama, have succeeded in Jesus eyes! Jesus said if you have done it to the least of them you have done it to me. He says to give the best we have. And the best is going to look unique to you and what God has called you to and he doesn’t want you to take guilt for that. He doesn’t make mistakes in what he asks of us. It’s always to grow us. It’s always so he can show us his immense love and strength and grace. In each season he asks us again to trust him. Trust him to guide us even if everyone else is taking a different path. God sees the whole picture so we have to trust what he asks of us is part of a bigger plan and purpose not just for us, but all the people around us in our family and outside of us.

And the cool thing is, we don’t have to have it all together or figured out, it’s never been about what we have to bring to the table. If that were the case, we would never be able to come. It’s always been about what God has already instilled in us and then what he himself brings and fill us up with, making us complete and lacking nothing. Because of him we are, because of him you are good enough. Rest in that love, his freedom and the assurance of who he has called you to be. Then out of his love for you, you can freely pour out onto the people around you in whatever God is calling you to. So, let’s let supermom be freed back to the dusty shelf of comic books. God never asked us to be her any ways. He wants you to be you. His beloved daughter.

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