Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A to Z Blogging..."G" is for...

From "Lifehacks for Christian Moms"
By Shelly Burke, RN, Author, and Publisher of the "Nebraska Family Times" 

Mommy guilt. All the moms I know, including myself, have suffered from mommy guilt at one time or another (usually many times...sometimes many times daily). Moms have the ability to conjure up guilt about almost anything--what the kids ate today...and what they didn't eat. What they said, or what they didn't say, and how they said it...or didn't say it. If they hid in the bathroom (or closet) for just a few minutes of "alone time". The books the kids read...or the fact that they only read the cereal box. Did you save every single piece of artwork? 

Moms of older kids experience guilt too! Did we teach them enough...or did we expect too much? Was every birthday and holiday Pintrest-worthy?  Will not enrolling them in Advanced Haiku Writing or Baby Babbling classes hurt their chances of getting into college? Do all of the meals you cook contain at least one serving from each food group, no sugar, no processed foods, and at least one child's favorite food? 

The "experts" can be more "expert" at inducing more guilt, not relieving it OR even helping us be better moms. Our kids are supposed to "eat more vegetables" and "watch less TV" (I think the recommendations now are less than 8 seconds of TV a day). We're supposed to "plan stimulating activities" and "teach them to live in the real world...but not too quickly". Are you a "mean mom"? 

At the least, guilty feelings give us an uncomfortable twinge or the
nagging feeling that you "should" be doing more or something else. At their worst, feelings of guilt can cause undue anxiety and even the inability to make a decisions due to fear of making the wrong one. As these guilt-inducers build up you might feel as David did when he wrote, "My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear." (Psalm 38:4)

How can you deal with these usually unproductive feelings of guilt?
  • First, determine whether you're feeling "good" guilt--the kind that is an appropriate action to something inappropriate you did--maybe blaming a child for something you later find he didn't do. "Good" guilt can motivate you to change your behavior for the better. For example, if you can't remember the last time your kids played outside (putting in a DVD is easier) or you can't remember the last time you actually sat down and talked to your teenager (it's easier not to deal with the moodiness and sullenness), or the last time you went to church was...well, you can't even remember (due to any number of excuses), the guilty feelings are a sign that something in your life should change.
  • If you are feeling guilty for something you were in the wrong for, ask God for forgiveness and remember that when you are truly repentant, He always forgives, through His grace and the death of His Son. Ephesians 1:7 reassures us that "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us." 
  • Guilty feelings are not all bad--they are a reminder not to repeat the action. Acknowledge your guilt, rethink your priorities, and make goals and plans for changes. 
  • Remember that some potentially guilt-producing feelings are beyond your control. You can't protect your child from every single owie or not-so-nice remark a classmate makes. Sometimes a family is broken by divorce due to another person's choices. Do the best you can to protect your child from injury, comfort him when his feelings are hurt, and deal with feelings about unavoidable events. 
  • One thing I've realized as my kids got to be older teenagers and are now into their early 20's is that they are responsible for the choices them make, good and bad. I can offer advice and prayers, but they are going to make their own choices--and when they make the not-so-good decisions, it is not a reflection on me and not a reason to feel guilt. Of course I will continue to pray for them and offer advice (if it's an important issue, I gently offer advice even when I'm not asked--and then back off!), but I need not feel guilty for their decisions and choices.
  • Ask yourself if your guilt is a result of unrealistic expectations.
    If you expect your house to be perfectly clean every day, or decide that every meal will be homemade, delicious and adhere to the recommended daily allowance of all vitamins and minerals, as well as appeal to all family members, you are probably expecting too much of yourself. Look at your life objectively and see if you are expecting too much of yourself. Pray for God to guide you and show you what you should be doing. 
What are your hints for dealing with guilt? 

This post is an excerpt from the book 
“Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family and Her Home” by Shelly Burke. 
This post is part of “Lifehacks for Christian Moms”, 
available for download May 1st.

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at The Nebraska Family Times, with the theme, “Words Matter.” 


  1. Hi, I'm popping in from the A-Z! Guilt is something that plagues so many moms. No matter how much I do with my husband and kids, my ministry, church or with my friends/family I still feel like I could and should do more. Never easy battling with mom guilt.

    1. Thank you for commenting! You're right that it is never easy battling mommy guilt...I still have it and my kids are in their early 20's! I'm so thankful for God's forgiveness...and theirs too.

  2. Man could I tell you some stories on mom guilt! As an in home child care provider I see it written all over faces of mothers frequently. This is a one-of-these-days project on my mind's shelf. Thanks for sharing this!
    My hint: Look into those adoring eyes every day you pick up your child from daycare. You are always their first love!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I bet you have seen a lot of mommy guilt...and I think you are right--mommy is their first love no matter what.

  3. When I first decided to do this A-Z challenge, I knew I wanted to write about guilt, but then when I sat down to write it, I couldn't. I kept sounding very cold in the way I was handling it. I'm glad I didn't. You said everything I wanted to say, but you said it better.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. (and PS--I've done the same thing--wanted to write about something but it just wouldn't come out right...and then I read someone else's post that was much better than I could have written.)


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