Mommy Guilt

Mommy Guilt: (noun, informal, 2014)

the guilt and responsibility that a mommy often feels, battles, and even places upon her weary, insecure shoulders about how she is or is not raising her littles, which is often absolutely ridiculous, unfounded, and only intensified by the uber-put-together mommies in magazines, the super-chill mommies on Facebook, the incredibly-loving mommies in books, the trendy-hipster mommies on Instagram, the ever-crafty mommies on Pinterest, and all the other mommies at parks, on television, and in restaurants who seemingly wear halos and are raising chubby cherubs who wear adorable clothes and always obey.     -Jessica Buczek’s Pocket-Sized Mommy Dictionary

And just in case that super-long, newly-branded definition has left you confused, let me give you some examples of what Jessica Buczek’s mommy guilt sounds like…

Have I been reading to her enough? 

She can probably count on one hand how many books I’ve read to her…wait, she can’t even count yet…ugh…I’m so behind! 

Should I be doing more pre-school activities with him? 

He can’t really even sing his ABC song; he calls every unknown letter, A; and he calls learning, “boring time!!” This kid will never make it out of pre-school, let alone high school at this rate! 

Am I snuggling her enough? 

Does she even know what my arms feel like!?!? Is that why she tries to wiggle from my arms when I do hold her? Is she confused by my affection!?!

Does he need more time with other kids?

That’s it…I knew it! I’m depriving him of social interaction, which is exactly why he hates to go to bed, takes forever to eat his food, and talks incessantly about Batman! 

Should I be expecting more of him?

I know it will be at least another year until he’s keeping a day planner and making his own grilled cheese, but shouldn’t he already be able to put his own shoes on without acting like it’s the world’s toughest job!?! 

Do they eat a balanced enough diet?

Does cheesy cornbread not count as a veggie? Oh no! Hurry…throw some avocado on top! VOILA! 

Am I spending more time with her than with him?

Has he felt displaced, forgotten, and lonely since her debut in February? No wonder he doesn’t want to learn! 

Am I spending enough time fostering their sibling relationship?

Ugh…just look at the way she looks at him! She acts as if she doesn’t understand his affirming words and affectionate hugs (see…proof again…she doesn’t understand affection)! 

Should we have more of a schedule?

For goodness sake, it’s 9:15 PM, and I’m still wrangling a Super Hero into bed. I’m sure that all the other children of the Midwest have probably been nestled in their beds and fast asleep for the last two hours, which is exactly why they know their ABC’s and enjoy learning! 

Is he watching more television than he should?

Wait a minute…watching more than he should!? My word…he shouldn’t be watching at all! GRAB THAT REMOTE BEFORE HIS EYES GLAZE OVER AND HIS MIND TURNS TO MUSH! 

Do they…? Are they…? Have they…? Should they…? Could they…? Will they…?

For crying out loud…am I screwing them up?

Giggles aside…

What about the BIG things…the things that REALLY matter…the things that will last for ETERNITY…am I even close to measuring up in those areas of “mommy-ing?”

By my actions and words…

Do they see the significance of prayer in my life?

Do they see the importance of grace and serving in my life?

Do they see the value of Church and community in my life?

Do they see the immensity of God’s mercy and love in my life?

Do they see the vastness of God’s mission in my life?

Do they see the relevance of God’s Word in my life?

For goodness sake…Do they see more of Jesus in me than ME in me?

I wish I could tell you that these fears don’t exist within my heart, but I can’t.

I wish I could tell you that I never second-guess myself, but I can’t.

I wish I could tell you that I was confident in my parenting skills, but I can’t.

I wish I could tell you that I never look to the left, the right, and then compare, but I can’t.

I wish I could tell you that I was the one mom who escaped mommy guilt, but I can’t.

For crying out loud…I wish I could tell you that I’m not screwing up my kids, but I can’t. 

But here’s what I can tell you…

I have an enemy who thrives on mommy guilt and condemning lies. 

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8

I am forgiven for the times when I should be doing more and have not done enough. 

“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

I have been made new and am not defined by my perceived and/or legitimate failures.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17

I do not have to be controlled by my mommy fears and honest shortcomings.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” -Galatians 5:1

I am a continual work in progress, as a mommy and as a believer. 

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:6

I am not alone when I struggle with mommy guilt. 

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13

I have hope for today’s insecurities, tomorrow’s fears, and yesterday’s failures.  

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

I was never intended to meet all the needs of my children. 

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:19 

I was never supposed to be the Savior, Healer, Filler, or Redeemer of my children. 

“I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no Savior besides Me.” -Isaiah 43:11

Oh, Lord…help me cling to your Truths as I raise these blessings and fight the mommy guilt that works hard to capture my thoughts, consume my emotions, control my behavior, and create my identity.

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5 thoughts on “Mommy Guilt

  1. Wonderful thoughts here! For some reason, the story of Moses has really been an inspiration of truth to me when it comes to this subject, coupled with standing on the promise that God is the author of Brody’s life, though I have been entrusted with the great responsibility to be his facilitator, teacher, caregiver, etc. as his mommy. I have also had to train my mind to hook onto the fact that each child has his/her own unique purpose God would like them to fulfill. I caught myself getting angry in the FB threads just last night because a SAH friend posted some thoughts related to an Obama speech on national policy re: families (decisions to stay home or work, etc.). And the ensuing comments from others under the post were very critical and defensive relating to the SAH v Working Mom (Mommy Wars). Rather than talk about their own choices to stay home because that is what was best for them, they instead chose to add comments that implied harsh (and all be them false) assumptions and judgements to those who are working (For example, mommies who work must be doing that because they a.) have to b.) are preferring the financial benefit over relationship with their child c.) having someone else raise their kids). I had to stop myself from writing back! God has taught me to be silent to the chaos of others, especially when I am trusting His unique path for me. It is _NOT_easy to be silent, especially when you just want to SCREAM “That is NOT true! You DON’T EVEN KNOW what you are talking about!” 🙂 It’s as you say, to give in to the temptation to question and to compare. I just loved this post Jess. *Hugs*

    • Michelle, thank you SO much for sharing pieces of your heart here and what God is teaching you!! I LOVE what you said: “God has taught me to be silent to the chaos of others, especially when I am trusting His unique path for me.” SO true! Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did when He was put on trial by chaotic, sinful people…He shut His mouth and trusted God’s eternal plan for Him and His death on the cross. Thanks, dear soul!

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