I hear it from moms everywhere I go, I’m just not a good mom. No matter how hard I try, I am not the mom I want to be. I messed up again, today.
I know how you feel. There were many days, especially when my children were toddlers and teens, that I felt like I had missed the mark. But as my children have gotten older — I’ve gained perspective. I have learned from hindsight and I want to impart an important truth–mom guilt has come to steal, kill, and destroy your joy.
Fight it. Fight the mom guilt with everything you have. Looking back I realize I wasted a lot of time and energy on guilt. I am hoping you won’t waste a second on it. Here is what I learned late in the game — 3 ways to fight mom guilt:
Connect…touch, talk, play.
At the end of every day, without my permission, my mind takes an inventory of the day, things like, “Dishes/laundry/house–check. Homework/lunches/uniforms–check. Work/emails/bills–check. Etc/etc/etc–check.” I usually check out ok and then my mind would light on the faces of my kids.
Hmm, I would pause and rerun the day. With five kids the rerun could take a few minutes. Invariably my heart would sink as the replay would show excellent execution on tasks for my kids, but not much connection with my kids. I realized that without some kind of connect I could not make a heartfelt check. And the dreaded mom guilt would fall upon me.
When you focus on your kids more than your to-d0 list — when you touch (a kiss, a hug, a snuggle before bed), talk (about the day, their thoughts, dreams) or just play (a game, a hobby, or on a playground) you are making a connection. I’m not saying you ignore the to-do list because a lot of the things on it are probably for your kids, but the part of being a mom that feeds my soul is the connection that comes from spending time together.
Expect…to get off track.
I wrote this a few years ago: At any given moment a mom can be derailed. What amazes me is this: we can take comfort in the sheer numbers of moms who have been derailed and got back on track, or at least kept the train moving even off the track! Do not feel guilty about it!
We will get off track; it’s the nature of life and of motherhood. But the beauty of raising kids is that we get a new chance with them every day, sometimes every hour! So please don’t be too hard on yourself. Just because you get off track doesn’t mean the track isn’t there. Just make your way back to it and try again.
Accept…the mom you are.
My friend Jan is in touch with everyone. My friend Gretchen is so organized. And Laura is so nurturing. Comparing myself to other moms often left me guilt-ridden. I just didn’t measure up. Until one day I was asked to give a speech about it. God has a way of gently letting me know I am not thinking His way. I was convinced I was not the right mom for my kids. I would be a better mom if I was like Jan, Gretchen or Laura.
It is very easy to compare ourselves to other moms. But try to remember that God gave you your children. I want you to celebrate who you are as a mom. This Mom I Am material helped me realize that there is no one kind of “perfect” mom.We are all the perfect mom for our children.
I wish I could be that small voice in your head telling you how awesome you are as a mom. I would fight and defeat the voice that says otherwise and you would be free of all mom guilt. Then all that evil mom guilt would be replaced with joy!