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Answering Your Questions: Dealing With Mommy Guilt

August 9, 2013

Q. We have received this question several different ways and places lately–in person, via email and on FB.  The gist is: Can you write about young mothers feeling guilty and stressed about dividing time between kids, husband, house, etc.  OR put another way:  HOW DO YOU DO THIS? I thought I would be able to do it all, but I can’t!

A. Before I got married I imagined myself being the perfect wife, housekeeper, and mother.  Lovely meals, all served on time.  House tidy, children happy.  I would be Mrs. Cleaver!  And I’d still find time to serve the church and maintain my friendships and extended family commitments.  And then I got married and within a year we had our first child. And I found that there wasn’t time in the day to take a shower or get dressed.  All I could do was nurse and change diapers and throw together something semi-edible for dinner, but even that was always a bit late.  And we ended up eating a lot of eggs and pancakes.

Striking A Balance

We have this long-running myth in our society that we can have it all–the house, the car, the kids, the career, the gourmet meals, the vibrant social life, the active charity work and our sanity.  Well, actually no.  You can’t.  At least not all at the same time.  There are SEASONS to life.  In your marriage and family, there are seasons when you have a brand new nursing baby and you count yourself extremely blessed with a shower and a home cooked meal.  There are seasons when the kids get a little older and you have time for going out with girlfriends and on dates with your husband.  There are seasons when the children are still a bit older and you rediscover this person you married and have all sorts of romantic fun you hadn’t had since the first year of your marriage.

In your home there are times when the best you can hope for is everything tidy and please-dear-Lord, let me find some clean socks.  But, if we are diligent, we don’t stay there.  We move onto eventually doing a few pinterest projects and use chalkboard paint to make all things new and crafty.

In your outside activities there are times we you drag your children to church, spend the whole service trying to make them sit still and quiet and praying the sermon is short as you bribe them with goldfish crackers and threaten them with the world’s longest nap if they don’t straighten up.  In fact, if you’re in that season you might not have heard a whole sermon in months or maybe years. But, stick with it, Mommy.  There will come a day when your children will be sitting there in service, taking notes, and participating in greeting others, receiving communion, praying for the one sitting next to them.  And you’ll think, “Wow.  When did that happen.”

choose two

Seasons.  The great thing about seasons is that they change.  If you’re stuck in a ridiculously difficult season, hang on.  It will not last forever.

Right now, I’m a a season where my older children could probably run this house without me.  If I fall sick or have a super busy day or there is an emergency, I don’t have to worry that I’ll have to resort to take out pizza.  My daughter’s got this.  She can whip up something with the best of them.  And my son can get all the little kids down for their naps like a pro and then tackle some household repairs.  How we got to this place, I can’t say, except it was one day at a time.

Our advice, in a nutshell:

Do not try to do it all.

Do what is essential.  

Then do what is important.  

Then go one extra mile.  

And then close your ears to the Mommy-Wars and stay away from places and people (especially online) who will only make you feel inferior.  (Sometimes Pinterest is not your happy place!)

Refuse to foster discontent.  Refuse to entertain guilt.

Enjoy what is directly in front of you.  Enjoy the season you are in.

Another season is coming and there is no sense in looking back with regret.

(Linked to Manic Monday and Motivation Monday)

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 19, 2013 7:05 am

    You have linked up some fabulous posts this week. I think I like this one the best because I know I’m not alone in feeling guilt about various things as the kids go back to school. I am working on it, and my attitude. Thank you for sharing this at Motivation Monday!

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