Mom guilt is very good at stealing our joy.
Some days do not go as planned. Some days are filled with joy and success but as night falls, I find myself dwelling on my failure – big or small.
Failure to accomplish everything on my TO DO list
Failure to exercise and eat as healthy as I should
Failure to be patient with the kids or my husband
Failure to love and connect in a meaningful way with my husband
Failure to play and be the fun mom our kids needed
Failure to apologize for my failings
Oh, how the list could go on! I’m sure you get the point. Hopefully I don’t fail in ALL of these ways in one day, but some days it sure feels like it.
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.
Instead of focusing on big and small victories, we focus on big and small failures.
Instead of recognizing that we are GREAT moms, we focus on that weak moment when we lost our temper.
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.
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.
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.
Can we try together?
6 Ways To Reclaim JOY When Stuck In Mom Guilt
Adjust Your Focus
Focusing on failure alone creates a mindset that is all about me – and how I 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). 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 desire to learn our lesson. We replay failures, think of what we should have done, and it consumes 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 – we become our own accuser. Our guilt changes the way we parent and we aren’t giving our kids our best. Time to adjust our gaze. 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? That you are simply a failure He cannot love? When we can’t accept His 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. Even when you don’t have the words – He knows your heart. Lay it all out at His feet. Tell Him your doubt. Ask Him to show you His love and help you believe it.
As you recognize how God sees you, it is time to accept His grace and give it to yourself. Why is it so easy to tell other moms their failures and mistakes are no big deal? We encourage others to give themselves grace and then give ourselves NONE. 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.
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. We begin to see our successes and are grateful God gave us the patience, skills and ability to achieve them. WHEN we fail, we see with true perspective that we can do better, but are able to apologize, take action to not repeat the failure, and move forward without dwelling in guilt.
There is no place for perfection in parenting – there are no perfect moms.
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.
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 Him 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. And His faithfulness is greater than our failings.