6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom-Guilt

Faith, Family / Friday, June 30th, 2017

Why do we carry mom-guilt? Fixating on sharp words and mistakes steals our joy. We can kick mom-guilt to the curb to reclaim joy. Will you join me?

The Day Didn’t Go As Planned

Some days do not go as planned.

Most days, despite challenges, are filled with joy and success. Yet, as night falls, I find myself dwelling on failure – big or small. Can you relate?

  • Failure to accomplish everything on my TO DO list
  • Inability to exercise and eat as healthy as I should
  • Repeatedly impatient with the kids or my husbandry
  • Neglecting to love and connect in a meaningful way with my husband
  • Didn’t play or be the fun mom our kids needed
  • Failure to apologize for my failing

Oh, how the list could go on. I’m sure you get the point, and suspect many of you can relate. 

Hopefully I did not fail in ALL of these ways in one day. Some days, it sure feels like it.

A Focus On Failure

Why IS it so easy for moms to focus on failure instead of success?

Perhaps it is because we just love our kids so much, and we see the effects of our failings in their hurt and in their behavior.

It is good to hold ourselves to a high standard, but we often go too far.

When we focus on just failures, we lose important perspective about what really was accomplished that day – the kids felt loved, fun happened, chores were completed, and relationships were tended to.

The truth is, even the worst parenting day is filled with mostly success.

However, instead of focusing on big and small victories, we get wrapped up on our big and small failures.

Instead of recognizing that we are GREAT moms, we focus on that weak moment when we lost our temper.

Bad Math

You guys, that weak moment probably lasted about 5 minutes. In 12 awake hours (we likely have more), that is just 0.69% of the time spent with our kids.

Less than 1%, but we’re fixated on it.
As we reflect on the day, failing areas stick out like a sore thumb while successes are minimized or ignored completely. If this kind of self-critical thinking isn’t actively battled, it can become a painful, self-defeating habit.

While honest self-reflection and evaluation is helpful and necessary for growth and healthy relationships, over-critical thinking benefits no one.

While honest self-reflection and evaluation is helpful and necessary for growth and healthy relationships, over-critical thinking benefits no one. #momguilt #thisgratefulmama #momlife Share on X

Did you hear me? Mom-guilt benefits no one and it steals your JOY.

Instead of motivating us to do better or to grow, mom-guilt leaves us discouraged and defeated.

Instead of motivating us to do better, or to grow, mom-guilt leaves us discouraged and defeated. #thisgratefulmama #momguilt #defeated #reclaimjoy Share on X

What if we chose to move past mom-guilt and self-judgement and actively sought out a true and right perspective of our days? I believe we’d find motivation and encouragement to do our job better tomorrow. And our families would benefit from a JOYFUL mom.

Reclaiming JOY when stuck in mom guilt takes concerted effort. Will you join me?

6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom Guilt | thisgratefulmama.com #grace #guilt #mom #mama #momguilt #faith #gratitude #grateful #thisgratefulmama #forgive #mercy #parent #kids #children #mistakes #christian #mommyguilt #joy #reclaimjoy

6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom-Guilt

Adjust Your Focus

Focusing on failure alone creates an ‘all about me’ mindset. We get stuck on how we can’t do anything rightThat is exactly what the enemy wants. Satan is the accuser (Rev 12:10) and right now he is prowling around like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8).

When we carry mom-guilt, Satan is the only one who wins. 

When we allow it, failures can consume our thoughts. We go way past honest reflection and the desire to learn a lesson. As we replay failures, we fixate on what we should have done, and all those shoulda, coulda ideas consume our thoughts.

When we continue to beat ourselves up, dredging up past failings to build a case to prove we are failing as moms, we are much too focused on ourselves. Worse, we become our own accuser. 

The guilt trap changes the way we parent and we can’t give our kids our best. It’s time to adjust our gaze.

If you’re reading this, stuck in a pattern of mom-guilt, you’re in the right place.

Jesus has already died for our failure AND our mom-guilt. 

Turn your eyes upon His face and recognize how He sees you

Beloved. Worthy. Forgiven. And exactly the mom your children need.

Battle In Prayer

Do you ever think God’s view of you is wrong? Maybe you secretly think you really are a failure He cannot love. Honey, I’ve been there! Those thoughts aren’t true, but doesn’t mean those thoughts don’t wreak havoc on our hearts.

When we can’t accept God’s TRUE assessment of us, our pride says His sacrifice isn’t enough for us. Believing we’re just too far beyond His reach is the worst kind of lie we can carry in our souls.

This is a spiritual battle that needs to be fought with spiritual words. Not fancy, well spoken words, but honest, raw words spoken from a heart desperate for God’s love and peace. 

Pray when mom-guilt rises. Lament. Pour out your heart. God can take it, and He won’t turn you away.

Even when you don’t have the words, God knows your heart. Lay it all out at His feet. Tell Him your doubtAsk God to show you His love and help you believe it. You can expect Him to follow through.

Ask God to show you His love and help you believe it. You can expect Him to follow through. #thisgratefulmama #Godisfaithful #momguilt #believeit Share on X
6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom Guilt | thisgratefulmama.com #grace #guilt #mom #mama #momguilt #faith #gratitude #grateful #thisgratefulmama #forgive #mercy #parent #kids #children #mistakes #christian #mommyguilt #joy #reclaimjoy

Accept Grace

As you begin to recognize how God sees you, it is time to accept His grace and give it to yourself.

Ladies, why is it so easy to tell other moms their failures and mistakes are no big deal, while still beating ourselves up over the same stuff?

We encourage others to give themselves grace and then give ourselves NONE. It’s a big problem, and one most of us haven’t overcome.

Jesus didn’t die so we could live in bondage in our minds. There is NO life in mom-guilt. We need to do the work of forgiving ourselves and then move on.

Practice Gratitude

When we live in the light of forgiveness, we have so much to be thankful for! 

We see our children as precious gifts, and our motherhood as a calling.

Grace allows us to see our successes as gifts from God. We see how He equips and works through us. Then we recognize and give thanks because God gave us the patience, skills and ability to achieve all He calls us to do.

Gratitude changes the way we see ourselves and God.

WHEN we fail, we see with true perspective that we can do better. But we are able to apologize, take action to not repeat the failure, and move forward without dwelling in guilt.

Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom Guilt | thisgratefulmama.com #joy #guilt #momguilt #mom #parent #parenting #gratitude #grateful #thisgratefulmama #reclaim #renew #grace #faith #christian #mommy #mama #mercy

Model Authenticity

There is no place for perfection in parenting – there are no perfect moms.

There is no place for perfection in parenting. There are no perfect moms. #parenting #thisgratefulmama #momguilt Share on X

Did you get that? None.

We will continue to grow and learn from our mistakes, but we will never, ever be perfect. And it is OK.

Showing our kids we are not perfect gives them room to not be perfect too. Kids learn by example – if we beat ourselves up for imperfection, they will have a false and unattainable expectation that they be perfect too.

Demonstrating how to handle our own failure starts with forgiving ourselves. Then, and only then, can we help them learn the same lesson when they stand in the shadow of their own failures. 

6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom Guilt | thisgratefulmama.com #grace #guilt #mom #mama #momguilt #faith #gratitude #grateful #thisgratefulmama #forgive #mercy #parent #kids #children #mistakes #christian #mommyguilt #joy #reclaimjoy


What if we viewed our failings as a chance to grow and for our kids to see the transforming power of Jesus in our lives?

What if we thanked God for letting us fail so we could learn and help our kids learn lessons of eternal value? 

We can trust God to be faithful to use our failings for His glory and to plant truth in the hearts of our kids. Start and end this day holding tight to the promise that His mercy is new every morning.

We can rest in the truth that God’s faithfulness is greater than our greatest failings.

Additional Resources

The Battle of Mom Guilt, Faith Along the Way

The Problem With Mommy Guilt – Why Moms Should Be Free in Christ, Christ-Centered Mama

Jesus Cancelled your Mommy Guilt Trip, The Gospel Coalition

6 Ways To Reclaim Joy When Stuck in Mom Guilt | thisgratefulmama #momguilt #mommyguilt #joy #parenting #momlife #guilt

29 Replies to “6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom-Guilt”

  1. I absolutely loved this and needed it! I have had a ton of mom guilt lately and it is time I changed my perspective! Thank you for such beautiful and honest words!

      1. It absolutely helps! I have been pretty hard on myself lately, for no other reason than I have become too lax since summer has started and it is starting to show in my boys behavior. But I have turned it into so much more than that. You helped me to put it into perspective and change my thinking, which I am sure will take a couple of days to sink in, but still. Thank you!

        1. Summer is a hard time for moms. The extra free time is tricky – we want them to have fun and have room to do things without constant correction. I find it really hard to balance too much freedom/to little freedom (aka nagging). I am so happy this helped you and pray you find peace and the right balance for the kids.

          1. Ugh yes, I am the worst nagger. I truly just want them to have fun. But they have been working my nerves and pushing boundaries lately, so I know it’s time to rein them back in before it goes to far.

          2. Me too! I’m sure we will settle in together soon…hope to hit our stride soon where everyone knows what is expected and we can relax a bit but not go off the deep end.

    1. Thank you so much! So fun to read your post. The beginning of your blog sounds a lot like mine! I love how these awards let us get to know each other better. Thanks so much!

  2. One of the most difficult lessons for me has been accepting grace! I’m reading Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley, and it is amazing to me how often we show grace to others and not so much to ourselves. Great post!

    1. Grace is hard! And hard especially when we hold ourselves to a high standard, like when parenting. I’ve never heard of this book before but after looking it up I will definitely add it to my reading list! Thanks for sharing it! Sounds like something I will benefit from and enjoy reading. Thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by!

  3. A great reminder that we all make mistakes. Our son is grown and married and I still can think of situations I could have handled differently. Lessons learned give great blessings. 🙂

  4. I missed picking up my grandson today. I felt so guilty. But the most important moment was when I apologized to him and asked for his forgiveness and he gave it. I felt as I had failed correctly. Much less guilt in that.

    1. Oh Nancy, I can relate! I’ve been late or forgotten before too. It feels awful! I’m so thankful our kids (or grandkids) are gracious and know our love for them. Forgiveness and grace are wonderful things.

  5. “Focusing on failure alone creates an ‘all about me’ mindset.” What an amazing point. That and the point you made about the fact that we always encourage other mamas to give themselves grace but we never give ourselves grace. This is such a freeing post! Thank you.

    1. Isn’t it funny how we give grace to others but are hard on ourselves? Accepting God’s grace towards our failures is so freeing! He is so good to us. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Suffering from mom guilt is a real struggle for me and many moms. We want to do well when it comes to raising our kids, and one mistake seems to wash out all the good we do.

    You make some great points here; the one that really stood out to me is “Adjust Your Focus.” You write, “Focusing on failure alone creates an ‘all about me’ mindset. We get stuck on how we can’t do anything right. That is exactly what the enemy wants. Satan is the accuser (Rev 12:10) and right now he is prowling around like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8).”

    I couldn’t agree more. Satan wants to crush and depress moms to the point they give up. They isolate themselves, and berate themselves so much they can’t move forward. Moms who live in guilt are not kind to their kids. They are harsh, and it seems that mistakes made and felt guilty over beget more mistakes and more guilt. It is best to forgive and move on.

    When making a mistake, I have to ask myself, “Did I learn anything?’ If yes, then the next step is to move on.

    Great post for all moms of all ages. 🙂

    1. Marcie, I am right there with you in struggling with mom guilt. I love this question, “Did I learn anything”! Certainly, there is room for improvement when mistakes are made, and it’s ok to acknowledge we can do better. Identifying a lesson helps us have a tangible way to pray, and possibly change our habits and responses. But, also points us to the ONE who can help us do it better next time. Appreciate your encouragement! Thank you.

  7. While being a parent is one of the most incredibly rewarding thing we will ever do, it is also one of the toughest and most sanctifying tasks we will ever assume. It challenges us, stretches us, and if we let it it will transform us. We can be certain that as we walk through the challenges of being a parent – we will fall short, because we are all sinful people. But if we can own where we fall short and learn from each experience, we will grow and will gradually produce more fruits of the spirit – self-control, grace, kindness, gentleness, generosity, patience, forgiveness and grace. Both for ourselves, our partners and other parents. And what wonderful lessons for our children to watch and learn from us as we deal in a healthy way with our mis-steps! To observe us showing forgiveness and grace, and confessing and asking for it, is a major way they will learn how to implement this in their own lives.

    1. Oh Anne, I agree that parenting is a sanctifying task! It sure is! I love your encouraging point that as we are stretched, we will be transformed and God equips us to produce fruit. I am so thankful that God uses my failures to teach our children how to turn to Him and do the next right thing. They are surely getting examples of the need for confession from this mama! He never wastes an opportunity to point our kids to Him or reveal my and their need for Him. His grace is so lavish, and kindness so great towards us, especially as moms. Thanks for your thoughts!

  8. Great ideas for dealing with mom-guilt. It is amazing how the enemy uses our moments of frustration to cause us to dwell on them over and over again. God loves us even when we are not at our best.

    1. Yvonne, you are so right! And He has ALWAYS loved us when we weren’t our best, He won’t stop now. Thank you for sharing such a hopeful and encouraging thought here today.

  9. The perfect mom simply doesn’t exist and neither does the perfect mom-child relationship. All your points are spot on and resonate with me. But I think giving ourselves grace really stood out.

    And this thought and tweet, “When we can’t accept God’s TRUE assessment of us, our pride says His sacrifice isn’t enough for us. Believing we’re just too far beyond His reach is the worst kind of lie we can carry in our souls.” We are holding ourselves to a higher standard than God Almighty holds us to. Think about how messed up that thinking is!

    Adjusting our focus to God’s perspective is key to overcoming the guilt part.

    Thanks for the reminders!

    1. The amount of times God has to correct my thinking and redirect my mind towards how He thinks about me cannot be counted. It is so hard to give ourselves grace, and yet, God has given us a perfect example of grace, and we just need to accept it and follow His lead. All of our failings are against God and His creation, if He can extend grace, we surely can accept it and practice extending it to ourselves. It’s a process, and I’m thankful for each time God steps in and shows me a better way. Appreciate your thoughts and time spent here. Thank you!

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