~ The look on my daughter’s face tells me I’ve just crushed her spirit by saying “no” to another sleepover.
~ The tears that spill out of my kid’s eyes say I’m heartless for asking them to clean their room after a long day at school.
~ The demonstrative “sigh” from my son sends a clear signal that the rule of homework before television is unfathomable… and unfair.
And even though I know it’s silly, I start to second guess myself.
Do I expect more than I should of my kids? Am I really heartless? Am I insensitive and ask too much?
Am I a horrible mom?
Yep, I go there. Chances are… you do too.
And based on the guilt-producing reactions we get from our kids almost every day, we’re sometimes left feeling like we’re failing as a mom.
But it’s important to remember that guilt isn’t from God.
He doesn’t speak that language. And so when we let guilt take us out or make us give in, it’s because of a tangle that the enemy is tightening. Again.
Mommy-guilt is as old as dirt. Your mom felt it, and her mom felt it too. And because our kids have a tight grip on our heartstrings, the tendency to get tangled in guilt won’t easily go away.
But we can take baby-steps towards untangling, right?
So in that spirit, here are 5 knots of guilt we need to loosen:
1) Giving kids formula – Standing in the checkout line, I always felt like the loser mom with the proverbial spotlight of shame shining on the formula in my cart. For many moms, breastfeeding is a wonderful experience. But for me and many others, it was anything but. And I always felt inferior because of it. Well girls, my kids are healthy and well-adjusted (although questionable at times) and I’m dumpin’ the guilt for that one. You should, too.
2) Bribing my kids – Sometimes we’re desperate for peace and quiet. Maybe there’s a certain chore we want to pawn off on the kids. Or perhaps we called our husband a jerk-wad under our breath — but in earshot of the kids — and we’d rather our man not learn of that unfortunate (but sometimes appropriate) comment. And so we bribe. I used to feel guilty for trying to manipulate the situation, but no more. If my enticement is harmless and legal, I’m not sweatin’ it anymore.
3) Not being class mom – I’ll be honest, kids make me sweat. I don’t know what it is, but they just make me nervous. I can speak in auditoriums full of women, but a classroom of kids unnerves me. Sometimes I feel I’ve let my kids down for not being more involved, but I’m letting that guilt go. They’ve never held it against me, so why should I? I may not walk the halls at school, but my kids get plenty of lovin’ when they get home. And they always will.
4) Throwing away artwork – I have Tupperware full of pine-cone snowmen and glitter-cottonball manger scenes and hand-print turkey placemats. I might even qualify as a hoarder. But these days, I keep the best and toss the rest. I’m tired of feeling like their childhood memories will be erased if I throw something away. And if they can’t find that prized piece of artwork… I’ll blame it on dad.
5) Saying “because I said so…” – This statement is a generation blessing for moms. While it was annoying to hear as we grew up — and even through we vowed to never utter those words to our kids — we do. Sometimes, it’s the best answer we’ve got! And I’m no longer going to feel guilt for not having a better one. As a matter of fact, I’ll giggle the first time I hear my kids use it on theirs.
Sister, parenting doesn’t have to knot you up in insecurity. It doesn’t have to tangle you in guilt. You’re not perfect, and never will be.
But as long as you love your kids, pray for God to help you parent well, remind your kids they hold immeasurable value, and spend quality time with them… they will be blessed.
Read 2 FREE chapters of Untangled HERE!
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