Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mommy Guilt

A couple of weeks ago I was sharing in a women's group about Jay's parent/teacher conference and how I was crying afterwards in the hall of the school.  Another mom in the group said, "Why? Do you have bad kids?". Picture me now flying out of my chair cartoon style and  demolishing her, because in my head that is what happened.  But in my real life I took a deep breath and said, "I have a son who struggles but I wouldn't call him a bad kid."

A bad kid?  Are you kidding me?  Who says that to another mom? I was beyond angry.  But as I slowed down and discussed the issue with a trusted friend, I could look at it from another angle.  I could forgive this mom and not have a resentment. I do not believe she meant me any harm and her children are small so maybe she hasn't come across any struggle yet.  But the main thing I learned was that she hit my biggest fear button with a big ole' hammer.  Do I have bad kids?  And if I do then am I a bad mom?

Let's talk about Mommy Guilt.  It's straight from hell.  Is that strong enough for you?  I believe this whole heartedly.  Satan uses MG to try and break us down.  It makes us doubt everything we are doing with our children and if we can even do it all.   We somehow use our role as a mother to measure our performance in life.  I have tried to explain to Jason that since I don't work outside of the home, the home is the only thing I have to get my yearly performance appraisal.  If the people I am in charge of aren't performing well then I must be failing at my job.  Now, I know this is not my head.  Sometimes, in my heart, I see it differently.  So how do we combat this Mommy Guilt?
1.  Recognize it for what it is, an attempt by the devil to use your own children to make you have feelings of unworthiness.  I try to think about how big the God I serve is.  (Isaiah 40:12-18)  Then I try to think about how this God loves me.  Sitting on my computer in Macon, me.  (This is where my brain starts to hurt.)
2.Pray-  I try to thank God that he blessed me with the opportunity and privilege to raise eternal beings.  I ask him for the power that I need to get through each day. He promises to give us strength (Isaiah 40:29).  I pray for my children, especially that they would walk with the Lord at an early age.  I ask for forgiveness when I know I haven't been kind or loving to my children (this prayer is prayed a lot).
3.  Talking about it helps.  Jason can give me a pep talk on mothering even after he has just witnessed me screaming at the top of my lungs at someone.  It happens.  I can only do the best I can do and sometimes I screw up.  I now talk to the kids after a screw up and let them know I am sorry.  It helps for them to see me sorry for my sin. 
4. Remembering that I am a child of God and that so are my children.  They are not grandchildren of God.  He doesn't see them through me.  I have the responsibility to nurture, love, and teach them but ultimately their lives are between them and God.  As one who has struggled for a long time I can only imagine my parents frustration at a child who constantly made the wrong decision.  God uses what he needs for each person and we can't design a path for our kids and expect them to follow it.  My uncle had two sons who took different paths during high-school and college.  He always said, "I take no credit for one, and no blame for the other." 

So Mommy Guilt comes in so many forms that I can't start listing them all. You know the ones that get to you and how they are used to undermine God's plan in your life. Today, trust that Jesus is all you need.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5


HJW said...

I feel a book coming...

love this and love you.

Andrea said...

hear hear.
grace, girl, grace.

Catherine and Brooke said...

Thanks, Payton! I have some major MG right now thinking about returning to work from maternity leave. I'm in shambles, but I know I'll make it through and she'll be none the wiser! I so enjoy your blog!