As a Mom I have struggled with guilt countless times.
Did I say “no” too much today?
Did I discipline my child enough? too much?
Why was my child being so rude just now, was it something I taught them?
Did I snuggle my child enough today?
How many books did I read them?
Everyone struggles with guilt as a parent. It comes with the territory. No one is perfect. Even Mom’s and Dad’s. It is easy to allow the “what-ifs” and the “should-haves” control our minds when it comes to our children. We desire to be perfect for them. For some reason, we Mom’s have convinced ourselves that we need to do it all and be it all in order for our children to have a happy childhood. We need to stop living in this lie.
There are two types of guilt, in my opinion.
There is the small guilt that eats us up everyday if we allow it. The guilt that tells us we should have cooked a healthier meal for our kids. It is this guilt that tells us we should get a job outside the home, so that our children can “have” more. Or that we should have tried a little harder to breastfeed. Maybe the guilt is telling you that you are not that great of a parent. If that is you, I want you to be encouraged today. God doesn’t call us to live in our guilt as Mommy’s. He chose YOU to be the Mommy to your child. God knows your circumstances, he knows your desires, your heart. The children God gave you have the exact Mommy they need. I have to remind myself of this constantly.
God says before I formed you in your Mother’s womb I knew you. He knew you before he formed you in your mother’s womb. God also knew your child before he formed them inside of you! How awesome is that? He knew that you would be the perfect Mommy for that child. If you have adopted children, I believe that God hand-picked you to be that child’s parent as well.
Do not allow the small guilt of the everyday eat you up.
Sometimes I feel as though I am the most unorganized person. I used to let it get to me. Every day I would try to try harder, never really getting more organized. Instead, I would just get more frustrated with myself. I had a picture in my head of what type of Mommy my children needed. The one that had everything put away in its own place, with cute check lists on the wall. A place for everything and everything in its place, I would repeat to myself. A Mommy who had the day planned out to a T. That simply is not me. It is not in my personality. Almost 30 years on this earth and I am finally coming to terms with it. Lately, I have been telling myself “What I lack in organization, I make up for in creativity.”
No, maybe I don’t have everything exactly in the same place everyday. But I have no problem getting the glitter and markers out and making a beautiful picture with my children. I may not have the dishes done at all times, but I can build you a really cool play doh sculpture. Maybe I do not have cute lists hanging on the wall of all that needs to be done. However, I have (messy) bookshelves full of really good books, that we use daily as we snuggle on the couch.
Those are the things my children needs from me. Not the version of myself that I have conjured up in my mind. They need me.
If you struggle with “who you should be” for your children, do two things for me. Write down your qualities, the positives that make you a wonderful mother. Next, ask your children what they love about you. You may be surprised at how clearly your children see you. Most children do not have a “my mommy should be” thinking. They love you for exactly who you are.
The second type of guilt that I have experienced is the big guilt. The guilt that hits you like a big brick wall.
Often times out of no where. Not everyone experiences this kind of guilt. However, I think more Mommy’s may than people realize. Let me elaborate. I have experienced this type of guilt exactly two times in my life.
The first time was when I was diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia with my son.
He came early at 27 weeks, he lived for six days and then passed away. The guilt I felt from his early birth and death would eat me up. I felt like my body had failed me and I had failed him. I was his Mother and I couldn’t even bring him into this world safely and keep him here.
The second time was several months ago.
I was sitting in B’s Occupational Therapy evaluation. Months of meltdowns. Hours spent trying to get her to get dressed. Several dollars spent trying to find the right clothes that will feel right on her. All were weighing down on me. I felt like I could burst into tears at any given moment almost everyday. I felt as though I had failed her.
Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory integration, Vestibular, Sensory Seeking, Tactile Sensitivity, Nervous System, Proprioceptive senses, Occupational Therapy. All these words were being used during the appointment.
Some of them I knew, others were unfamiliar. Her Therapist was kind, explaining everything to me as gently as she could. That didn’t stop me from feeling overwhelmed. I felt as though I had a major weight on my shoulder that I couldn’t shake. I had already known there was a possibility that B would have SPD. Her Doctor had prepared me at birth. She had explained to me that preemies often times will have SPD. This is because their nervous system are underdeveloped at birth. Being poked and prodded as much as they are when they are babies, and the loud noises in the NICU.
I kept replaying the last several months in my head during her appointment. I felt helpless, as though I couldn’t help her. Then I replayed her birth over and over. I teared up during the whole appointment. When I finally got home I broke. “This is all my fault” I said. “I am the reason David died, I am the reasoning B has SPD. My Body failed me. and I failed them.” My Mom was flabbergasted of course. “That is not true one bit” she reassured me. It took a couple of months but I have come to terms with that fact that neither event was my fault. The guilt will sometimes try to come to the forefront of my mind.
I then have to remind myself of God’s love for me. For my children. When this happens,I need to remind myself that God does not condemn any of his children so I should not condemn myself either. I am enough for Him. I am enough for my children.
God’s love for us and His promises are plenty.
We need to only look in His word to see how real and true they are. He does not desire for us to live in our guilt. Whether it is the small guilt or the big guilt. Living in guilt is not good for us or our children. He desires for us to live life to the fullest, in His love. Be encouraged today, if you struggle with guilt, remind yourself how loved you are. How you are the right Mommy for your children and that sometimes there are circumstances out of your control. You can overcome the guilt though, live everyday as though it is a gift. Love your children, despite the flaws you see in yourself. Because, honestly, the flaws you may see aren’t really even flaws to begin with.
You are beautiful Momma. You are the perfect Mom for your children.