Mom GuiltPosted: July 30, 2013
Mom guilt: you know that haunting feeling you get. To me it is “that darned if you do, darned if you don’t” feeling that never seems to leave. It comes after dinner because dinner included too many carbs and a processed box of mac & cheese (the horror!). It comes after you loose your temper and yell for the third time… today… It comes because you have to work to help make ends meet with your family’s budget. It’s there after you tell you daughter that you can’t read that book right now because you are busy (and you really are). It comes because you have to say “no” to doing that really cool thing because you don’t have the money. It’s present when your kid’s birthday party doesn’t turn out nearly as cute as you envisioned in your Pinterest-crazy mind. It is there when you finally get a break, get out of the house and do something for yourself.
Some of you mommas may have no idea what I’m talking about. You are blessed.
The rest of you needed no definition. You know “mom guilt”. You know no matter how hard you try to be a ‘good mom’, its there.
As my friends can tell you, I struggle with this area more than most. But, as God is good about doing, He got in my face on this issue the other day.
I was writing in my prayer journal. It was the middle of the day and my kids were playing outside. I rarely have “quiet time” in the afternoon but on this day it worked. I watched my kids play and as soon as my soul felt the slightest hinge of joy, guilt choked it out! I’ll let you into my crazy brain, “I should be outside playing with them. But I am so tired. Maybe if I didn’t work, I would have more energy. Maybe if I’d let the house go more… ugh I am a terrible mom.”
I started to write this out on paper. As I was writing, I realized the unrealistic picture I had in my brain. Smiling kids, skipping, butterflies, blue skies…. okay not exactly but you know that ‘perfect/peaceful’ picture whatever that might be, was going on in my head. And it hit me: its a LIE! They are KIDS!
Kids are unreasonable & irrational! They test me on purpose! They are loud. They are messy. They have melt downs and cry. They are kids!
My little perfect scenario in my head, is ridiculous. And constantly beating myself up for not having this “opening scene of Cinderella”, day to day motherhood is ridiculous too! Because I’m parenting kids… children…. who lack maturity, wisdom, discipline and reason.
So this realization opened the door of my heart… In Isaiah 44 there is a visual picture painted of an ignorant idol worshiper:
“No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make rest of it an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood! He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, Is this not a lie in my right hand?” – Isaiah 44:20
This “worshiper” looks like a fool and is doing these crazy things because his heart is deceived. He can hold this idol in his hand yet, this is what he choses to worship?!
This bolded part of this verse kept coming to my mind, through out the day. “…Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
See, you know what? I am not a perfect mom. The “best parent” boat has long since sailed for me and my oldest is only 5. Yet I have this fantasy in my head of the “perfect mom scenario”. It is partly composed of blog posts I have read over the years, a few facebook statuses and Instagram photos but it is mostly a fabricated from my own ridiculously high expectations of myself. But the bottom line is …. its a LIE. Like this ‘worshiper’ in Isaiah though, I hold it in my right hand. If I’m honest I worship this image. I make choices around it, think and dwell on it, and most of all allow the guilt of NOT being this ‘image’ destroy me!
In Kelly Minter’s devotional ‘No Other Gods’ (which is an awesome study! btw), she quotes Ken Sande saying this about idols, “Most of us think of an idol as statue or wood, stone or metal…. In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on that motivates us, that masters us and rules us, or that we trust, fear or serve.”
Ouch! We can make light of “mom guilt” thing, but if you are like me and have let it control you, it is serious stuff. My mom guilt has elevated to idol status. It steals my joy. It robs my peace. It demands action and perfection. None of these things are true of God.
The next verse in Isaiah 44 says,
Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. I have wiped out your transgression like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah 44:21-22
Practically for me, I think this means cutting out some facebook and Pinterest time and spending more time in the Word (predictable – yes, but necessary). I want to turn my attentions, heart and worship toward my Redeemer. If my motherhood flows through Him and to Him, there is not guilt. There is grace. And hopefully I can see the beauty in how He made me perfectly to be the mom of my two crazy kiddos.
What is in your right hand?