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Breaking Free From Mom Guilt

This past week, I’ve had a number of conversations with Moms who’ve shared with me about their struggle with “Mom Guilt.” This refers to the feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and anxiety that many mothers experience in response to various expressions of parenting.

I’m finding this to be a common emotional experience where mothers feel that they are not doing enough, not being a good enough parent, or not meeting the perceived societal or personal expectations of motherhood.

Mom Guilt can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Work-life Balance
    Mothers may feel guilty about spending time at work and not being able to be with their children as much as they’d like.
  • Self-care
    Moms might feel guilty about taking time for themselves, pursuing personal interests, or prioritizing their own well-being. They may feel like they should always be focused on their children’s needs.
  • Parenting Decisions
    Moms can experience guilt over decisions they make for their children. They question whether they’re making the right choices.
  • Comparisons
    This happens a lot, especially with social media. Social media can lead to comparisons with other seemingly “perfect” moms, which intensifies feelings of inadequacy and guilt.
  • Parenting Challenges
    Struggles with the child’s challenging behavior, health issues, or other difficulties in raising children can imply guilt, as moms may blame themselves for their children’s problems.
  • Perceived Expectations
    Societal and cultural expectations of what a “good mother” should be like can contribute to feelings of guilt if a mother feels she isn’t living up to these standards.

Does any of this sound familiar? By the way, Dads deal with this, too. Parenting is complex, and no one is perfect. Mom Guilt is a normal part of the emotional journey of being a parent.

I know that dealing with Mom Guilt can be really tough, but it’s absolutely okay to feel this way sometimes. Taking care of yourself and finding ways to get rid of that guilt is not just important for you, but it’s also a way to create a happier home for your family.

Here are some approaches that might help you navigate through these feelings and overcome Mom Guilt:

  1. Extend God’s Compassion
    Embrace the compassionate nature of our Heavenly Father. Just as He forgives us, learn to forgive yourself for any perceived shortcomings or mistakes. Offer yourself the same kindness you would extend to any mom you know.
  2. Challenge Negative Thoughts
    When guilt tries to overwhelm you, counter it with your faith. Remind yourself of God’s promises and trust that He works all things for good. Reflect on whether your guilt aligns with God’s truth or if it’s driven by the world’s expectations.
  3. Align with God’s Expectations
    Understand that God doesn’t expect perfection from us as parents. He values our efforts and intentions. Lean on His guidance and know that even on tough days, His grace is abundant.
  4. Prioritize God-Centered Self-Care
    Different from escaping by binge-watching on your favorite streaming platform, taking care of yourself is about rest and rejuvenation. Schedule time for prayer, meditating on His Word, and engaging in activities that revive your body, mind, and spirit.
  5. Seek Support and Accept Help
    Remember that it’s okay to seek help and support. Allow others, including your spouse, family, friends, and therapist, to assist you.
  6. Celebrate Even the Smallest of Victories
    Acknowledge and give thanks for the progress you make as a parent, no matter how small. Parenting is full of challenges, and each step forward is an achievement. Give yourself credit for all your efforts, no matter how minor they seem.
  7. Use Social Media Wisely
    Be cautious of the potentially negative impact of social media. It can sometimes trigger feelings of “not being “enough.” If that’s the case, consider cutting down on your social media time to reduce negative emotions. Seek ideas, inspiration, and connection, but avoid comparing yourself to others.
  8. Embrace Your Identity in Christ
    Remember that your identity is rooted in Christ, not solely in your role as a parent. God values you as His child, and your worth is defined by His love.
  9. Thank God for His Blessings
    Take time to thank God for the joys and privilege of parenting. Cultivating a heart of gratitude can help shift your focus from guilt to appreciation. One of my favorite Scriptures is found in Philippians 4:6-7…

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Embracing these perspectives and approaches can help you navigate through Mom Guilt. If your guilt becomes overwhelming, seek guidance from a professional Christian Therapist who can provide you with spiritual and emotional support. I just prayed for everyone reading this post (including Dads). May our all-loving Heavenly Father’s grace and wisdom guide you and strengthen you on your parenting journey.

Author

  • Chris Reed | Pastor to Parents | Saddleback Church

    Chris married his beautiful bride, Tina, in 1990. They have three wonderful adult children, Jacob, Kaylee, and Macie Joy. Chris began pastoring at a church in Los Angeles in 1995 where he was the Children’s and Student Pastor. He was the Executive Pastor of Student Ministries at John Maxwell's church in South Florida before he came to Saddleback in 2008 as our Pastor to 20s/30s. He has since served as Pastor to Singles and Pastor to Marriages. He is currently our Pastor to Parents leading the charge for all things Parents Ministry at Saddleback. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

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