Mom guilt. All moms seem to struggle with it – at least all the good ones do. We want the best for our children. We sacrifice sleep, luxuries, time, comfort – all for the sake of making a better life for our children.
What is guilt?
The definitions of guilt all echo the feeling one has after having committed a crime having done a wrong against someone. Big stuff. Mom guilt is far more pervasive than that definition would indicate. We feel responsible for it ALL. We have a picture of everything that we are supposed to do and all that our families are supposed to be like. When our reality falls short of that idolized image ….we have mom guilt.
We fell Mom Guilt for ….
Guilty for not being patient enough.
Guilty for not listening enough.
Guilty for not being firm enough.
Guilty for not being calm enough.
Guilting for not volunteering enough.
Guilty for not being healthy enough.
Guilty for not cleaning enough.
Guilty for not being organized enough.
Guilty for not being smart enough.
Guilty for not being pretty enough.
Guilty for not being skinny enough.
Guilty for not being Pinteresty enough.
(Totally making up that word – but you know what I am talking about!)
Guilty for not being wealthy enough.
Guilty for not being spiritual enough.
Guilty for not being faithful enough.
What does the Bible say about guilt?
To understand what the Bible has to say about guilt, we have to back up and look at what the Bible has to say about sin. Real guilt should be in response to sin.
What is Sin?
“Sin is any transgression of the law of God.” Sorry, it just blurts out. That is the power of catechism. (We use the “Truth and Grace Memory Books” with our children.)
Sin is the breaking of God’s law. When we act in disobedience to God’s laws, we are sinning. The translated word for sin in the New Testament means to have missed the mark.
If you are a type A mom, like me, you never feel like you are making the mark. There is always room for improvement. There is always some way that you could have done more or done better. The trap of struggling to earn my salvation and prove my faith threaten to overwhelm.
Am I doing enough? Am I a good enough mother? Am I faithful enough? Here is the biggest worry…will my children don’t be the vibrant believers they are called to be, because I wasn’t enough?
This is mom guilt at its worst. Will the salvation of my children be at risk because I wasn’t enough? I wasn’t patient enough. I wasn’t Christian enough. I wasn’t faithful enough. The worry that my children see my broken sinfulness and it turns them away from God instead of drawing them to God.
Guilt is the natural Biblical response to sin. It is the heart call that recognizes that we have a breach in a relationship that we need to restore. Guilt is a good thing. Guilt is a gift to alert us to a sin problem that needs to be addressed.
Unfortunately, the Devil uses guilt to his advantage. The Deceiver tells that we are guilty when we are not. He paints a picture of an unachievable image of motherhood, and the uses are guilt at not achieving it to paralyze and overwhelm us.
Mom Guilt Truth #1 –
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 8:28
All means all. All mothers have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It isn’t just you or me – it is all mothers.
Mom Guilt Truth #2 –
You will never be good enough. The only perfect person who walked on the earth was Jesus. Just the one. Christians talk about the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 – but she wasn’t perfect either.
The Treatment for Mom Guilt
Confession is always the right response when we feel guilty. Don’t take this amazing gift for granted! This is what makes our God so awesome. We can confess our sins and be forgiven of them. Our slate is wiped clean if we just ask! This is what makes our God so unique. We don’t have to carry a burden of guilt around with us, weighing us down.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
We are moms, but we are still sinners. We are leaders in our homes, but we aren’t always perfect. I had this flawed understanding before I was baptized about sin. I thought that the waters of baptism magically cured you of making sinful choices. Boy, was I disappointed! Our children NEED us to model vulnerability, confession, and forgiveness. I would contend this is one of the best gifts that you can give to your children!
Being an imperfect mother can be
a better faith lesson for your children
than trying to pretend to be a perfect mother.
Do we need to work on our patience, our diligence, our attitude, and our faithfulness? Yes, we always need to press on and run the race as we try to be more like Christ.
The Blessing of Mom Guilt
The practice of motherhood and the blessing of our children is that our flaws are laid bare before us. Instead of being overwhelmed with mom guilt, we should embrace the opportunity for kingdom growth.
Our children have a front row seat to watch us work out our salvation. If we are transparent, they will see our struggles and how we go to God to overcome them. Then when the struggles come into their lives, and we know that they will, they will have had a mentor that showed them how to respond.
As mothers, we are engaged in the task of discipleship. It is messy, and it is glorious. Be the humble lead learner that you are called to be and ditch the mom guilt. Love, confess, repent, and love more.