I feel like I took an extra dose of Mom-Guilt this morning. It's making me grumpy and irritated and discontent and I don't like it.
We moms struggle with an unreasonable amount of guilt, don't we?
It's like for every one thing we're doing well for our children, we feel guilty about another ten things that we might not be doing as well. It seems like every woman I talk to deals with this, so I can assume safely that mom-guilt has been plaguing womanhood since Eve.
Today I feel guilty about the normal things: Not having an organized house, rushing my kids, not having everyone's laundry washed and put away, not having my kitchen clean, not spending enough time with each child. The other day I spent two wonderful hours doing a super cool craft project with my eldest daughter, and since then I've struggled with guilt because the next daughter also has a super cool craft project and I've been struggling to find another two hours to work on it with her.
Then I read Laura Ingalls Wilder books with my girls and I feel guilty because I'm not teaching my children to work hard and appreciate the simplicity of life the way the pioneers did. And I don't work nearly as hard as Laura's Ma worked every day, and then I feel guilty for not working hard enough. Her house was always tidy. Mine is not. Guilt.
But then today I feel like I have an extra dosage of mom-guilt. The icky-money-kind-of-mom-guilt. I was going to start our son in some 4-year-old gymnastics classes today. His high energy, intense personality would probably thrive in gymnastics. But Paul and I have come to the painful realization yet again that we need to seriously tighten the purse strings and get back on our feet financially after some financial surprises last month. Hence...cutting out all extras. So no gymnastics today. Or next week. Or the next week...
And at the same time my daughters were excitedly looking through the scholastic book order this morning, circling all the books they can't wait to order and read. I had to tell them, "No books this time, honey." Ouch.
Are they big deals? Nope. We can go to the library. And although it's remotely possible that my son's destiny is to be an Olympic gymnast, that's really not likely. So I'm probably not ruining his life by not putting him in four-year-old gymnastics. Life will go on just fine.
Oh, but the guilt.
I know you deal with it too. We compare ourselves to one another, and then we feel guilty for not measuring up to "all the other moms." We compare ourselves to our ideology of the perfect mom, and then we feel guilty for not being her. I compare myself to Ma Ingalls, which is completely ridiculous because we live in very different centuries.
Maybe you work full time, so rather than having financial-guilt you have time-guilt. Your guilt might be different than mine, but it's guilt nonetheless, and it plagues you too. I get it, sister. I am with you.
And then we try to talk to our husbands about mom-guilt, and sister, our husbands usually don't get it.
This guilt issue is a plague on womanhood far more than manhood. Have you noticed that your husband can relax and play video games for a whole 30 minutes without feeling guilty? Doesn't that seem impossible? But don't get mad at him for his lack of guilt...this balance is actually a gift to your marriage. Often these conversations just leave us both more frustrated in the end.
(So call a girlfriend...she's struggling too for sure, and she'll get it).
Sometimes I've thought it would be nice if my husband understood and experienced guilt like I do, but then I realized that's a hideous idea...how could it possibly be good for our children to have two guilt-ridden parents!? Thank goodness that rather than wallowing in his own guilt, my husband can be reasonable and rational and tell me "Shake it off Rebecca. You're doing the best you can."
So in the face of a "double-dose guilt" kind of day, I need to remind myself where this guilt comes from. Now, certainly sometimes we struggle with guilt because we're being rightly convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit....when I yell at my kids, when I foolishly overspend, when I ignore my kids, when I'm knowingly selfish with my time...In those times, the guilt is healthy and leads to repentance.
But often that's not the case. We need to think through our guilt issue and pray about where the guilt is coming from...is your guilt conviction or accusation? Are you being convicted by the Holy Spirit or are you being accused by the enemy of your soul?
This self-imposed-mom-guilt of "not measuring up" is not from our Savior but from our Enemy.
Accusation comes from Satan, not Jesus.
So, if you are being falsely accused and your motherhood is being attacked by your enemy, fight back, friends. Today, as I was feeling like a terrible mom and making a mental list of all the really great books and opportunities I have to say no to for the time being, God reminded me to also make a list of all the things I get to say yes to:
They probably won't get:
Disney Frozen on Ice Tickets
Books from every book order that comes our way
They WILL get:
My attention, love, and time
Lots of quality time with their siblings
Two married parents who love each other
Home cooked meals
Every need met
I could obviously add on to both lists. The list of things my kids won't get could be several miles long, I'm sure. But I don't need to add on to the lists. I have my answer. One list clearly matters more than the other list. I'm being falsely accused today.
I don't need the weight of this double-dose of mom-guilt.
Neither do you, friend. Shake it off. Throw it to the bottom of the deep blue sea, girl.
When the enemy of your soul starts to accuse you, just remember that the Savior or your soul has set you free, friend.
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
So if the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed.