Have you ever experienced mom guilt? I would be shocked if you haven’t. As moms, we usually do something at some point in time that causes us to feel that we’ve really messed up. Perhaps it’s a silly mistake, but other times it’s deeply rooted in feelings of guilt, negative thoughts, and inadequacy.
While mom guilt may be common, oftentimes you end up having unrealistic expectations due to social media or believing lies that aren’t really true. Take a deep breath, because today I want to explore some examples of mom guilt as well as lies that you should never believe about it. I’ll be sure to share my top tips for overcoming mom guilt as well. Are you ready?
- Mom Guilt Meaning
- Mom Guilt Examples
- Lies You Should Never Believe about Mom Guilt
- How to Overcome Mom Guilt
- Say Goodbye to Mom Guilt
Mom Guilt Meaning
What is mom guilt? Mommy guilt refers to those negative feelings of failure, inadequacy, or even regret that some moms experience when they feel they have messed up in some way. It could result from something they did or even something they didn’t do that they feel they should have done in order to be a “good” mom. Other causes of mom guilt could be societal pressures, personal insecurities, and parenting challenges. It’s usually more than just having a bad day.
Mom Guilt Examples
There are some common mom guilt examples that rear their head often. Many experiences of feeling that guilt will fall into one of these categories. If I’ve missed something, be sure to let me know.
Working mom guilt
Working mom guilt can be common among the working mother who works a full-time job or even part-time, whether in the home or outside the home. You may feel that you aren’t spending much time with your children on a daily basis. Perhaps you have guilty feelings that your children are only getting your exhausted leftovers and that’s not fair to them. Maybe you feel that you’re missing many milestones and important events because you’re working.
Mom guilt for getting frustrated
It’s also common for moms to feel mom guilt over getting frustrated or even yelling at their children. Frustration and loss of patience are issues I hear from moms over and over again. In fact, patience has been a battle for me as well, and when I would lose my cool I would feel so bad!
Many times our reactions are over the top for what our child has actually done. The internal pressures and negative emotions build up and we just react versus respond to our child’s behavior. We want them to control their emotions, but we can’t seem to control ours.
Not spending enough time with your children
Mom guilt about not spending enough time with your children can be for many reasons, even if you’re a stay-at-home mom. This could be from letting them have too much screen time, not wanting to play with them, or even wanting to get away from them when you have a rough day. You may just want some time to yourself to take care of your own needs or a break from their needs. However, then you feel bad about it.
I’m certainly not saying you have to spend every second with your children in order to the perfect mom. These are just some of the reasons moms feel guilty about not spending quality time with their children.
Comparison mom guilt
Next, there’s the comparison trap! I know I’ve mentioned this many times, but comparison is huge among women, moms in particular. You may feel that mom guilt creep in when you notice your friend’s kids always look like they stepped out of a magazine, or when another friend is feeding her children ultra-healthy. You feel guilty because you’re struggling to leave the house with your kids in shoes!
Comparison has such a negative impact on us in many ways. One of the best ways to combat comparison is spending time each day with God in His Word and in prayer. Who does HE say you are?
Guilt about asking for help
Perhaps you’re feeling guilty that you can’t do everything by yourself, and you need to ask for help. You have the impression that you must be a bad mom since you are having trouble, especially if you’re not a new mom. You don’t why you can’t just figure it out.
If you are struggling with mom guilt in any of these areas, be sure to read the lies you should never believe next, and also how you can let go of guilt. The next time those feelings of guilt start to creep in, you’ll be able to identify the lie and replace it with truth.
Lies You Should Never Believe about Mom Guilt
While sometimes when we feel bad about things that we’re doing we truly do need to make some changes, but other times our mom guilt really is unfounded. Our minds are powerful, and sometimes tell us things that aren’t true. It’s important to recognize these lies so we can replace them with God’s truth. Below are some lies you shouldn’t believe about mom guilt.
1. There must be something wrong with me
I would say in nearly all circumstances, there is nothing wrong with you . . . unless perhaps you are dealing with a mental health crisis, postpartum depression, or the like. God made each of us amazingly unique, and you are no exception. You have your strengths and weaknesses just as we all do. The good thing is that God can work in and through us despite our own weaknesses!
2. There’s nothing I can do about mom guilt
This is another lie you will need to combat. Pray about whether your guilt is for a legitimate reason or not. If you are feeling guilty for something that you really think should change, then the right thing to do would be identify what needs to change and make it happen. If you realize the guilt is unfounded, then you can work instead to replace that guilt with God’s truth.
3. I am responsible for my family’s happiness
You do not need to feel responsible for your family’s happiness. Yes, you do need to love and care for your family and make sure their needs are met. Yes, sometimes your mood can set the stage for how your children feel. However, you may do everything right and still have a miserable child.
Each person in your family is responsible for their own response to being content. Also, someone may be unhappy as a result of bad choices they have made. That’s not your responsibility.
4. I’m going to mess up my kids
The great news about grace is that there’s forgiveness each time you fail . . . and you will. We all do. Also, young children seem to be overly forgiving and adaptable despite us messing up. If you ask for forgiveness and keep striving to love and train them, you won’t mess them up. Besides, thankfully God can still work in them despite our failures!
5. Once I am a better mom, it will go away
Hmmm . . . maybe? Since you will never be the perfect parent, unless you get to the root of why you’re feeling mom guilt, I’m not sure it will totally go away. It may get better, but you will certainly mess up more than once. Definitely check out the tips below for how to overcome mom guilt.
6. Mom guilt will make me change
I will say that there could be some element of truth to this one. I don’t believe it’s the mom guilt that will make you change, but the conviction of some sin in your life that you desire to change. The feeling of guilt can indeed be the catalyst you need to make some changes in your life, but please recognize the difference between guilt and conviction. Guilt makes you feel bad and pushes you down, but conviction is meant to lead to repentance and a right relationship with God! The good news is that we have the help of the Holy Spirit to change.
7. I shouldn’t feel this way
No, you shouldn’t be sunk into the depths of despair over what you may have done or allowed to happen. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over it and continue to feel like a failure. As I mentioned in the last point, let the conviction pull you toward Christ.
What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.
How to Overcome Mom Guilt
Now that I’ve covered some common lies moms feel when it comes to mom guilt, let’s instead look at these tips for how you can overcome it. This will not be an overnight fix, but will definitely get your mind in a better place to recognize wrong thinking. Be willing to put in the hard work necessary to make these changes.
1. Identify the source
Often mom guilt is a result of some type of expectation we have for ourselves or from others. Comparison can play largely into this. We see what others are doing and it doesn’t line up with our own lives. We feel like our children are missing out or we’re failing them in some way.
It’s important for you to figure out the source of your guilt so you can focus on that problem. For example, if you often find yourself feeling guilty about yelling at your child . . . again. Rather than telling yourself the lie of “I’m going to mess up my child,” instead you can look for ways to be more patient.
2. Take your thoughts captive
If you find that you’re telling yourself one of the lies or even feeling mom guilt over a certain issue. Take that thought captive. In fact, 2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us to do just that. Now, let’s look at the next step for what to do next.
3. Replace the lies with God’s truth
After you have taken those lies or thoughts captive, you will need to replace them with God’s truth. Going back to our example, what does God have to say about patience? What does He say about the type of words we are to use? Perhaps you can write down a verse that combats that lie. Place it where you will see it often.
4. Take care of yourself
You will be more present, joyful, and proactive when you are feeling good. You won’t feel good if you’re in survival mode and not taking care of yourself. Do what you can to improve your physical health. You can eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise. Also, really shoot for a bit of time in the afternoon to mentally recharge. By taking care of yourself, you will be a much better mom for your children.
4. Get support
If you need it, get support. Confide in your husband or a friend. Ask them to help you identify the source of your mom guilt and take steps toward overcoming it. Maybe get a little tangible help as well (think cleaning, babysitting, etc) until you can get back on track.
6. Practice gratitude
Lastly, try practicing gratitude. There are many benefits of practicing gratitude, including helping you change your mindset. You will begin to see the good in things instead of focusing on where you went wrong. You will be more thankful and therefore look for opportunities to grow in your relationships with your children.
Say Goodbye to Mom Guilt
So, Mama, it’s time to say goodbye to mom guilt. It’s time to say no to the lies and combat them with truth. It’s time to let conviction lead you toward Christ and become the best mom you can be!
What have you been feeling guilty about? What first step are you going to take to change that? I’d love to hear your comments below!