Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mommy Guilt - and why you need to get over it!

Mommy Guilt. You know what it is.

The feelings of inadequacy and failure when your behavior toward your children isn't perfect. The inability to protect your child from every hurt and danger that lies in wait. The mistaken belief that every waking minute must be spent doing something with or for your children.

Mommy guilt can be crippling. It can bring us to our knees. It can rob us of our joy and hope. It can lead us to overcompensate by letting our children get away with their own bad behavior. It can push us over the edge and make us give up trying altogether. Do you know that really our children suffer the most from our mommy guilt?

I know some moms who seem to wallow in their guilt, agonizing over every single mistake. They call themselves bad mothers, often in front of their children, when in reality they're simply human like the rest of us! Their children now seem to think that their moms aren't to be obeyed or respected. If Mom thinks she's a bad mother and says so all the time, why would the child feel differently?

Friends, it doesn't have to be this way!

First, let's think about the purpose of guilt. To me, it's two-fold. The first "job" of guilt is to bring us to repentance. If we've truly done something wrong, we need to seek forgiveness. And asking our own children to forgive is the hardest of all. It's humbling to acknowledge to your children that you're not perfect. Guess what? They already know!

The second job of guilt is to get us to change our behavior. It's not enough that we acknowledge we've done wrong. We must turn from what we're doing wrong and seek to do right. Ask for God's help and strength so you don't repeat the same mistakes over and over. If you don't want to feel badly about yelling at your kids, stop yelling. Retrain yourself how to react to stressful situations so you don't automatically start raising your voice.

Recognize that you are not going to do everything right in regards to your children. Sometimes you're going to lose your temper. There may come a time when you unknowingly punish the wrong child for breaking your vase. You might forget to write down the next dentist appointment and miss a teeth cleaning. Do you know why those things happen? Because you're human!

Correct your mistakes. Apologize for losing your temper. And then LET IT GO! If God forgives you for your imperfection, why don't you forgive yourself? Are your feelings about it more important than God's?

God gave your children to you because in His wisdom, He knew you were the best person for the job. He also knew you were going to make mistakes in your parenting and interactions with your kids. He has already provided the tools of grace and forgiveness you need to admit those mistakes and try harder the next time.

Please, let go of the past. Be the best mom you can be TODAY!

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