Have you ever struggled with mom guilt? The feeling of not feeling good enough as a mother, or trying your best but still losing your temper can be discouraging. Don’t worry momma, I have been there too. Maybe you are the mom that works a lot and have mom guilt from not being able to pick up your kids in the car pick up line. I felt prompted to write this to help other moms who have struggled with mom guilt and how to experience freedom.
Guilt, condemnation, and shame are not from God. All of our situations are different. We have to do the best we can, pray for the fruits of the spirit, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us parent them. It is healthy to feel convicted to strive to work towards progress, but it is not healthy to wallow in guilt and condemnation. If we make a mistake, we can come to God and ask for forgiveness. He is just to forgive and has already extended us grace.
God has given me grace, therefore I should extend myself grace. Sometimes, I am stressed out and I lose my patience. Other times, I may be tired and then I don’t cook, so I allow my son to eat something unhealthy. I try my best, but sometimes I fail. You may mess up some days, but what matters is you are trying.
I don’t know about you, but I have gotten so upset at my son. My 9-year-old has such great leadership qualities wanting to do everything on his own and is not afraid to share his opinion and disagree. I love that he is strong-willed. The difficult part of having a strong-willed child is sometimes he will lose his temper and talk back. He might even slam his door and walk away from me.
A few years ago, I ran into an interesting image on the internet. Have you ever seen the image of a parent calling their child all kinds of names such as brat and stupid, etc? It showed the words coming from the yelling parent and the words floating around the child’s brain. I thought to myself how I never wanted to do that to my child and have been conscious about what I say since I saw that image. However, I became that mom by accident one day.
I Made a Mom Mistake
My son had a friend over and he was having a lot of fun. However, several times he talked back to me. I warned him and gave him several chances. A couple of times, I had him go to his room for a few minutes to think about what he said (the version of time out for 9-year-olds). I was sooo upset with him inside.
In as calm tone as possible for being angry, I said, “You are not a brat, but you are acting like one (conscious of that internet image in my head).” He was saddened and said, “Mommy don’t call me a brat.” I told him that I did not. I made sure to say what a good boy he always is, how I didn’t say he was a brat, but he was acting like one. To a 9-year-old, I called him a brat. I hurt his feelings, and let anger get the best of me. I became that mom on the picture that I always kept in my head to not become.
For the rest of the day, I had mom guilt. Sure, he was misbehaving and needed correction, but I was beating myself up all afternoon for not handling it the right way.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
That night my husband and I tucked him into bed as usual and I stayed behind to talk to our son one on one. I apologized to him that I wasn’t trying to call him a brat. We talked about how he was not behaving. I edified him with all the good qualities about him. Praying replacing lies with the truth is a great thing to do. I prayed for God to forgive me for saying he was acting like a brat, and replaced it with the truth of what a good kid he was and I listed them off. He then prayed for forgiveness for being disrespectful, and prayed for me to still love him. I made sure to tell him that I love him always even when he misbehaves and we all make mistakes.
It was a beautiful moment. I could’ve walked around feeling guilty all week, but instead I extended myself grace and made sure to use this moment as a teaching moment and spend time with him in prayer.
Maybe you are the mom that loses your patience more often than the other mom next to you. You might be the mom that works a lot and cannot take and pick your child up from school. That’s okay, Momma. We must change our perspective and focus trying to make progress, even if it small. One day we will look back and see how much we’ve grown as mothers. This can apply in all areas of our lives.
I recognize that I am a better mom than I was 3 years ago, and I celebrate that progress. Being the best example of what a godly woman is like is what I strive to do for my son, so when he one day seeks to find a wife, he finds a good one.
Seek the Holy Spirit
Friends, we may fail and make mistakes. We can seek the Holy Spirit for guidance, and be strong enough to admit when we were wrong and apologize. Teach your children that we are all imperfect, but we have a perfect God. No more beating yourself up, okay? God LOVES you! He sees you are trying your best. He is there to help us parent and give us patience and the wisdom to guide them.