Sunday, March 31, 2019

To the Death of Mom Guilt

I might just lose my temper here. This topic gets me so fired up, I have a hard time controlling my tone when I talk about it and even when I think about it, I feel my blood start to boil.

Mom Guilt.

Our society is a perfect storm for mothers. And I mean the literal definition, "a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse....factors".

Now, I believe that all mothers have struggled with different issues over the course of humanity, but our current society has a rare combination of adverse factors, which work against motherhood, to make it seem impossible to be a 'good' mother.

It makes me furious. The number of good, caring, loving women who constantly ask themselves, "Am I enough?", only to answer themselves 'No....' I just can't handle it. Too many good women have guilted and shamed themselves into a corner of frustration where they feel there is no way out.

And if you're a mother? I don't have to tell you this. You already know it. You've felt it. Your kids had too much screen time yesterday.... You shouted at your kids for not listening..... You slept in..... Breakfast was a handful of sugary cereal and a donut.... Just examples, here. What causes shame is different for each mother. Whatever it was that that made you feel guilty, as if you had somehow wronged your child(ren), you've felt the shame and unavoidable guilt after any of these scenarios or others like them.

But.

It doesn't have to be unavoidable.

Let me talk to you a bit about Satan.

Satan, the great deceiver, WANTS you to fail in your pursuits in motherhood. Wants, so badly, for you to hate yourself for your weaknesses. So, he takes a very crucial part of personal improvement and twists it.

That improvement?

Contrition.

Contrition is when you've done wrong, feel badly, and want to change for the better. It's motivating. It can be hurtful, but it results in positive changes in your life.

Guilt is when you've done wrong and feel badly. The end.

God wants you to feel contrition. To feel badly about something but also uplifted to improve. Not to do impossible things. Just a few, small things.

Satan's twist, guilt, is where you feel sick and awful and terrible and there are a million things you've done wrong and you'll never be enough.

So, let's talk about how to make that unavoidable guilt actually AVOIDABLE.

When you start to feel badly about something as a mother, stop and ask yourself:

Is this contrition? Or guilt?

If it's contrition, you still have a bad feeling about what you've done, but along with it comes a motivating desire to change. And you'll feel it sometimes. Not every day. About manageable things. That you CAN change and control. God doesn't ask any of us to change 3,495 things in our lives at once. Just one or two.

And if it's guilt? You'll feel awful. Which will lead to feeling worse. And somehow, you'll remember 3,495 other things that you are somehow failing at and want to curl up in a ball and give up.

God can still use imperfect tools to be wonderful mothers. He only asks that we be willing.

Slow improvements. That's where contrition leads.

This is very different from guilt, where we somehow expect perfection of ourselves.

I get it. I understand. Our children are wonderful, good, perfectly innocent (at times!) babes that we love so dearly that we don't want to short-change them in any way. But guilt will never lead me to be the mom I dream of being and it won't lead you there, either.

The bottom line?

If your children are safe, if they know they are loved, and if you are working to improve in those one or two areas where you have felt contrition....

That's it. You're a good mom. You don't need to feel guilt. I'll repeat. That's IT. You are a good mom.

So, please, for my own blood pressure's sake. Take a DEEEEEEEEEEP breath, tell yourself that you ARE a good mother, your children ARE lucky to have you and you will just so NO to mom guilt!

Please. Don't suffer for the sake of suffering. See mom guilt for what it is- a counterfeit from Satan- and see yourself for who you really are, not the warped sense you'll get from Satan's tricks.





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