Do you know the feeling? It’s that shame-filled sensation of your innermost being telling you that you’re not being the mom you should be. It’s the feeling that dampens your heart when you can’t give your kids the attention they deserve or when work pulls you away mentally (not to mention physically!) even when you’re at home, or when you want to teach your little ones a new skill but don’t feel adequate to do so. Or… this list goes on.
Have you been there? I sure have. Guilt seems to creep in and plague us. But how do we deal with it? How do we strive to be the best moms that we can be, knowing that we are not perfect?
1). Accept that we are not perfect.
Well, that’s a downer, but it’s true. In order to face guilt and deal with it, we need to realize why it’s there in the first place. Mamas, we are all sinful. None of us is perfect. And because we live in a broken, messy world, guilt is going to be a part of life, no matter what. So, the first step is to accept that (miserable) fact, as nasty as it is. None of us will ever be a perfect mother.
2). Communicate with your husband and family.
This is a crucial step, but it’s not always easy to do. Whatever part of your motherhood that is getting you down, let others know about it, most importantly your husband. He is your partner and your helper. Be clear, and calm. Then, work together to determine a plan of action.
For example, let’s say that you’re feeling guilty about how much time you have to spend away from your kids due to your job. And then when you are at home, there is still housework and chores that take away even more time from being with your kids, and this really bothers you. You are feeling very guilty about not having more time to devote to your children. After communicating your concern with your husband, work together and talk through some options to help change the current situation. Maybe your husband could take on some of the housework chores or maybe you could look into working from home or even changing jobs. Brainstorm lots of options.
So, communicate very clearly with your family and then come up with some ideas to make a change, even if it’s just a small one. Work together to put your plan into action.
3). Pour out your soul to God.
This is the most important step! If you are feeling guilty, then you are already sorry. And even if you have told your husband about how you feel and are actually able to make some kind of a change, it still may not solve the entire issue or completely erase your guilt. When you have done all you can do, let God take care of the rest. Give all your grief to him. Pray earnestly and sincerely, and let God know how sorry and guilty you feel. He loves you so much, and likes it when we communicate with Him.
When we pray, God knows what we need, even before we ask him! (Matthew 6:8). He has a plan for your family, and will take care of you.
When the guilt is so heavy that nothing seems to help, know this: that a sincere and humble heart is pleasing to God. Psalm 51 was written by King David after he had committed an act of adultery. He had murdered a women’s husband and then taken her to satisfy his own selfish desires. When called out on his hideous act, David was completely guilt stricken and mortified. He asked God for forgiveness. Verses 16 and 17 say: “You (God) do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
What these verses are saying is that God is way more pleased when we come to Him with an overwhelmed heart than if we come to Him with gifts or offerings (as a way to try and make up for something). When we are truly sorry and feeling down, God always forgives us!
When we are suffering through a season of the mom-guilt blues and we pour out our woes to God, he is so pleased, not to mention compassionate and full of forgiveness and grace. The best thing we can do is deliver our guilt to God.
The Best Way to Deal with Mom-Guilt
So if you’re feeling like you’re not being the best mom you could be, know that those feelings are an unfortunate reality. But also know, Mama, that you are doing the best that you can in a broken and imperfect world. Speak with your husband and family, and work together to try and make some changes. Most importantly, cry out to God. Go to Him in prayer. Tell Him everything; be raw. He knows you are down; that you are feeling sorry. He offers unending forgiveness. He alone can lift you up!
Dear Mama, if you’re like me and you deal with mom-guilt, know that Jesus can wipe it away. Life is tough. Being a mama isn’t easy, and there is no perfect scenario. But when your guilt is overtaking you, give it all over to Jesus. He can take it! And he buries it in the grave, so that you are free. Praise God!
Keep up the great work, Mom!