Mommy guilt is just about the worst guilt there is. It lurks, victimizing innocent moms day-in and day-out, and often through the night. Mommy guilt is very real, and it doesn’t matter if you are at home full time with your little ones, or dropping them off at preschool before your full time career. The universal guilt sneaks in, piles up, and eventually suffocates.
There’s currently a lot of buzz about “Mommy Wars,” and writers are offering encouragement to stop the madness of comparing ourselves to other moms. And while I’m certain there’s an aspect of mommy guilt that stems from “Mommy Wars,” I’m more certain that the ultimate battle is raging not among moms, but in moms–the battle is really against ourselves.
I see it all day long in my own life. The guilt ranges from how much television I allow my kids to watch to how much fast food we indulge in. I routinely go through a silent monologue, reassuring myself that the cartoons I choose for them are safe and educational, and we choose a fruit cup over fries 50 percent of the time. The case against myself is settled when I conclude it’s for sanity’s sake I allow these things anyway, and a sane mother is a good mother!
Mental images of a “better” mom feeding her kids organic finger foods while teaching them guitar lessons (on the instrument they made from recycled materials) do pop up and add to the guilt. But it’s the internal battle that wages the toughest fight. So while outside influences can shape our expectations I don’t think we are giving enough credit to the real source of mommy guilt: a mommy’s vulnerable, EXHAUSTED, wavering, insecure heart.
Just today I battled thoughts of what things a “good mom” would be doing versus what I was doing. The “good mom” isn’t anyone else, it’s the perfect “me” I think I could be if I’d just put my back into it. It’s the me who wouldn’t be sitting here writing about her feelings, while her son watches Sprout. It’s the me who wouldn’t make a separate dinner for her kids, because her kids eat stuffed bell peppers like good miniature adults. It’s the me who instead of bouncing from chore to chore bounces from toy to toy with her toddler. This is the mom that haunts me, pressures me, and lures me into the dangerous territory of continual guilt over my performance as a mom.
I’ve often been told, “Don’t worry, God has equipped you to give your child exactly what he/she needs.” Although true, even that’s of little comfort because the burden still falls on the mother. Something I truly feel God spoke to me this week–while I was going over all the reasons I should be guilty–stopped me in my tracks.
Yes, you were tailor-made to be your children’s mommy. But consider this: God also designed them to need exactly what you have to offer. In other words, your children are tailor-made for you. Chances are, your kid was never going to like stuffed peppers anyway, and adores the creative way you turned the dish quickly into burritos just for them.
So, let’s stop comparing ourselves to a perfect specimen of a mother and get comfortable in our perfectly imperfect reality. It should ease some of the frustration to remind yourself not only do you have just what they need, they need just what you have. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
5 responses to “Mommy Madness”
Thanks Macie!! Satan sure knows how to trick us weary moms with false guilt and stir up all sorts of mommy wars amongst us! You’re a rock star mommy!!
I love this and it made me think back to all of the “guilt” i felt along the way while raising our children. Always looking at the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. Although it wasn’t always like a scene from Better Homes and Garden, it was our scene and it worked some days and some days it didn’t. I can see now being on the other side that “hey….we did a pretty darn good job.”!!! They’re well adjusted, have jobs and families, are pursuing their dreams…..and are just nice people that we enjoy being around!!! I sometimes think we read too much, listen too much and watch too much about “perfect parenting”. You are right about how God created them to need exactly what we have to offer. His plan works!! Your world is your world and what works in yours may not work in someone else’s. So, just pat yourself on the back and think that someone may be looking at you thinking “she’s really good at this”!! Food for thought!! Oh and by the way…your kids are great!!!!
I agree, Beverly, flooding our minds with “perfect parenting” just steals away the joy found in “our scene” (I love that!). Miss you! xo
Once again you writing is so on point! I have been really struggling with this!
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Good stuff Momma Mia. “They need exactly what we have to give” ❤ I do thank God for this because I am as scattered as one Momma can possibly be! So, today I choose to be happy with my imperfect little self 😉