I spent a lot of time being guilty for a lot of years; for a lot of stupid reasons. I've been a working mom, a stay at home mom, and I've worked part-time. No matter which work structure I chose, I always seemed to find a way to beat myself up.
I know a lot of moms that suffer from mommy guilt. I did too, for many years. A few years ago, I gave up this insane way of thinking.
It's like we feel obligated to take on guilt when we become mothers. I don't know why. Guilt is unhealthy and it causes strain in a marriage. For years, I never understood how Mark could just ease his way down to the mancave and relax so easily while I was drowning in guilt. Don't get me wrong, he's pretty darn incredible. It's not like he had anything to be guilty about. He's always helped out around the house, spent time with the girls, and worked hard at his job. Yet, he's always found time to rest. And he's never, ever felt guilty about it. Secretly, I resented his ability to put the world away for a minute and focus on his outlets (sports, always sports). When I became grumpy, he begged me to slip away and relax.
The problem was I didn't know how to let go. The only thing I did consistently well was feel guilty. Guilty that the house wasn't clean enough, guilty that I wasn't spending enough time with the girls, guilty that I wasn't feeding them enough vegetables, guilty that I was edgy, guilty that my car was a mess, guilty over whatever I could come up with at the time. I remember one specific incident when I taught the girls Religious Education class at church. One of the moms made goodie bags for all of her students before Christmas. I made nothing. I felt guilty over that. You know, guilty over not being perfect.
Being guilty leads to a lot of inefficiency. Your mind becomes plagued with emotions that rob you of joy. Furthermore, living with a guilty mindset often means you are way too focused on your self image; worrying way too much about what other people think. All of the guilt is about pleasing the world instead of accepting God's grace. The scripture that reminds me of the importance of grace is from 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Let me repeat this scripture because it is so important: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. Did you read that? Boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses? Does the bible really teach that? Oh my gosh...such freedom.
I learned to become more vulnerable and laugh at myself. I started to tell other moms about my "failures." I opened up about my weaknesses instead of feeling guilty. I made fun of myself a little more. I stopped being so serious about everything. Other moms starting doing this back. And if they didn't I dropped them like a hot potato. One time I told a mom that I hadn't changed our bed-sheets in over a month and she replied back that she changes hers every week. I never opened up to her again. :)
Instead of having it all together, I became more comfortable talking about my weaknesses and asking for God's grace instead of trying to be the perfect mom.
Today, I am on a mission to help other mom's throw guilt away. Guilt robs us of joy. I also decided it was time to do more of what I wanted. If I wanted to ease my way down to the "woman"cave I would; although that's not how I like to spend my time. I learned that I like to write, I like to drink coffee by myself, I like to listen to podcasts while I workout (simple workouts; let's be honest I am no Jullian Michaels), and I like to read. I really like to be alone, even though I am very outgoing, so I make time for that now and I don't apologize for it.
The end result? I am calmer. I am more comfortable in my own skin. I am comfortable being a bit of a hot mess in front of others. I don't have it all together. I just don't. I never will, but I like myself better because I am living for God instead of living for the world. Guilt is overrated. You won't get rewarded for being the most guilty, so let it go and start doing more of what you want. You will be a better mom for it!
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