The Battle of Mom Guilt

It was the end of Hubs’ long work weekend and I had the kids to myself for three whole days.  I know, so many of you deal with MUCH worse and the thought of a long weekend shouldn’t make me want to breathe into a paper bag. But throw in a case of Autism Spectrum Disorder and a toddler that constantly tantrums, and by the end of the weekend, I was daydreaming of life on a Hawaiian Island, alone.

Do you feel guilty in motherhood?  When we long for a break, an easier load, time to ourselves, feelings of dread and shame may threaten our hearts.  Here's how to keep "Mom Guilt" at bay for good!

Within minutes of me imagining myself tan and snuggled on a warm beach, the “mom guilt” started. The shameful thoughts of self-loathing for imagining an extended vacation sans children.

 

I scolded myself for wanting a little freedom from the gifts that God hand-picked for me through the beauty of adoption.

If I REALLY loved my kids, I wouldn’t be looking for the nearest exit.

If I REALLY loved my kids I wouldn’t snap like a twig when the whining starts.

If I REALLY loved my kids, I would be content and satisfied in my role of motherhood, instead of worn out and weary.

That mom guilt was haunting me and making me feel like a failure.

I have a hunch that I am not the only mom who’s felt this way.  In fact, in looking back at some conversations I’ve had with friends, most moms experience guilt in some form or another.  They wonder…

Am I doing a good enough job raising my kids?

Am I preparing them enough for school?

Have I spent enough time with them one on one?

I long for some free time and need a break, but I feel SO bad about taking one.

While on a break from the kids, I feel guilty the entire time and wonder if they are alright.

I feel like I have lost myself somewhere along the way and would love something just for me.

I’m a working mom, and I feel guilty because I am away from my kids and have to be intentional about quality time.

I’m a SAHM and feel bad because our family had to cut back on expenses and I wonder if I should be doing more to contribute financially.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

While I can’t say there’s a cure for mom guilt or that I have it all figured out, I’ve had a breakthrough on this battle and finally know how to win the war.

Battle of Mom Guilt

Evaluate the situation

It can be hard to be honest and evaluate your reason for guilt.  Sometimes you may find that you are over reacting {I come from a long-line of over-reactors so I am with ya, mama!} and that you have no reason to fret. Pray that you’ll be able to focus on God’s truth, not the lies of the evil one meant to cause you to stumble. When I need to be surrounded by Truth, I love Colossians 3: 2, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things”.  When I focus on God’s Truth instead of my own warped version, He is faithful to reveal the reality of the situation.

But, sometimes that mom guilt is a conviction and pressing from the Holy Spirit, and when I evaluate my situation, I see that change is necessary. For example, if you’re wondering if you spend enough time with your kids, stop and do something about it.  Embrace the change that will help you let go of guilt.

Embrace who YOU are

We are all blessed with different talents and abilities.  Sometimes mom guilt gets the best of me when I compare our family to another, and question if what  I am doing is enough for my children.

Perfection is smoke and mirrors and you don’t have to be saddled with guilt because what another family does looks amazing on the outside.  Be proud of who God made YOU to be and relinquish the guilt back to the Lord. He will break those chains that bind.

Give yourself grace

Here’s a fact we tend to forget, we are all human. We will all mess up and there will be “bad mom days”.  There will be days we are thrilled when the littles are in bed and the house is quiet. There will be days when we’ve snapped and yelled more times than we can count.

Mama, it’s ok.

Forgive yourself and move on, knowing tomorrow is another day, and knowing that God has banished those bad mom days as far as the east is to the west. He is faithful to provide you with grace, so allow yourself to lay down the burden of guilt.

Remember you’re a person, too

As moms we put ourselves last, sometimes taking the crumbs of what our family leaves behind.

Do you have a tendency to forget you’re a person too, and put your self last until you’re so completely worn and frazzled there’s nothing left to give?

But it shouldn’t be that way.

Yes, we are called to serve our families and our spouses, it just doesn’t mean you have to lose YOU.

YOU are still a person that matters, with wants, needs and desires that don’t have to fall by the wayside when you raise children.

It’s ok to dream and want a life beyond the diapers and the dishes.

Motherhood is beautiful, but don’t lose yourself!

You don’t have to be a slave to mom guilt.  When those feelings tug at your heart, may you remember these hints for wrestling with this demon so you can move and experience peace once again!

If you identify with this, you may need to Create a Mom Sanity Plan to help you schedule time for yourself in the hustle and bustle of life.

How do you battle mom guilt when it rears its ugly head?

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About Sarah Ann

Welcome to Faith Along the Way! I am a redeemed child of God and perfectly imperfect in every area of my life. Wife to Hubs, we've battled the storms of Cancer, infertility, adoption & Autism together the past 10 years and praise God for his continued guidance. I hope you'll join us on this journey through life as we trust God with faith along the way.

41 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Deb Wolf January 12, 2015 (12:46 pm)

    Great reminder Sarah Ann. Our kids are grown and I still have “mom guilt” at times. Rev says I’ve perfected it as a fine art. 🙂 I wonder if it’s part of the job description. Thank you for reminding us that it doesn’t have to be. Blessings!
    Deb Wolf recently posted…How’s Your Marriage? Here’s Help and HopeMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 13, 2015 (1:00 pm)

      It’s so amazing how moms everywhere understand mom guilt and how no matter what age your kids are, it can creep up without warning. May we all learn to lay that guilt at the feet of Jesus!

  • comment-avatar
    Deborah January 12, 2015 (10:50 pm)

    My heart breaks for you Friend. Mark 6:30-32 comes to mind as I read this. You are in ministry– your children may be your biggest ministry assignment ever (as I am sure you are well aware). Jesus tells us ministry leaders need breaks. Hawaii sounds like a good break 🙂 . Wanting a break is different than wanting to be DONE. When I hear you say you want out, and to just be done, THEN I will worry about you.

    Listening to the Holy Spirit’s pull on our soul is excellent advice. When Satan attempts to shame us with lies, the Spirit is there ever so gently to lead us back toward a winning walk.

    Will be praying for you this week.

    #NoMoreShame

    Blessings,
    Deborah recently posted…Dating Your Husband When You Don’t Have A BabysitterMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 13, 2015 (12:58 pm)

      Thank you, friend! I am so grateful for your prayers. 🙂 It’s so freeing to know that God is in control and He provides peace in the midst of chaos.

  • comment-avatar
    Brandi Clevinger January 14, 2015 (2:01 pm)

    THank you for sharing your post at this week’s Mom’s Morning Coffee linkup!

    I admit that I became a little choked up with emotions when I read this post. I, too, feel the guilt at times.

    BUT, each of us with kids does not need to minimize our situation or compare them with others. They matter to us in our own way. Also, it’s okay to get overwhlemed or want some time away from our kids. At some point, sooner or later, the kids get tired of us, too. They want a change of scenery, too.

    This may sound easy for me to say now, but it took me several years and four kids to realize this. haha

    Have a terrific Wednesday!
    Brandi Clevinger recently posted…Muscle KnotsMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 14, 2015 (8:49 pm)

      Absolutely! That’s a great point that the kids need a break from us too! Ha! I’ve never thought of it that way. It’s a blessing to connect with another mom who feels guilty at times, too. It’s nice to know we’re not alone in the fight and can pray and encourage each other!

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  • comment-avatar
    Mariah Lynn January 16, 2015 (9:24 am)

    I know exactly how you feel with “mom guilt”. My husband is in the Army and there are times when he is gone for weeks or months at a time. I left my family and friends behind when I married my husband and moved with the Army. During those long times he’s away and I’m dealing with the children Nap time and bed time have become my “sanity times”. You really do need to give yourself permission to refill your cup for time to time.
    Love your blog and post and I look forward to following you.
    Mariah Lynn recently posted…This Is UsMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 16, 2015 (9:43 am)

      Oh I thank you so much for your service and sacrifice for our country! I can only imagine how daunting it must be knowing that your husband could be gone for long periods of time. Thank you so much for your kindness and I look forward to connecting with you!

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  • comment-avatar
    normaleverydaylife January 17, 2015 (9:09 am)

    Great thoughts! Mom guilt can seriously drive you nuts and I struggle with it too. Thanks for being honest!
    normaleverydaylife recently posted…January…Why Can’t We Be Friends?My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 17, 2015 (10:38 am)

      It’s such a blessing to know I am not the only one who struggles with this!

  • comment-avatar
    Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) January 17, 2015 (9:19 am)

    Thank you for what you have shared here. <3
    Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) recently posted…Is It Crazy To Think An Online Community Can Succeed?My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 17, 2015 (10:37 am)

      Thanks, Paula! Mom guilt can sneak and tamper with the thoughts of the best of us!

  • comment-avatar
    Aimee @ Captivating Corner Blog January 18, 2015 (5:10 pm)

    Good reminders. Wishing the best for you on the parenting journey.

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 18, 2015 (9:13 pm)

      Thank you, Aimee! I’m wishing you the best as well! May we both learn to let the guilt go. 🙂

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    Kristy January 19, 2015 (8:09 am)

    Thank you for this. I work full time out of the home and there are often times I feel guilty about all that I miss with my daughter. We’re miraculously expecting number 2 and I already struggle with the guilt. I know I’m called to be a teacher and love my job but I’m also a mom and it’s hard to find the balance sometimes. Thanks for this 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 19, 2015 (8:43 pm)

      Kristy,

      I so understand! I worked full-time for awhile and it can be so difficult to juggle it all! I’m sure you are doing an amazing job. Congrats on baby #2 and best wishes to you!

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    Jessa (educated momma) February 16, 2015 (4:32 pm)

    Feel as if you wrote this just for me 🙂 Thank you

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  • comment-avatar
    Starla J February 19, 2015 (7:30 am)

    Great encouragement! We all have these thoughts and it’s good to remind each other of these steps!
    Starla J recently posted…10 Ways to Save Money.My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann February 19, 2015 (10:45 am)

      Us moms have to stick together and learn to embrace who we are, all sinners, yet children of God!

  • comment-avatar
    Clare Speer February 19, 2015 (9:32 am)

    Love this post – It’s been many years since I’ve had young kids… but I STILL remember that feeling – you have captured how many young mothers feel!

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann February 19, 2015 (10:44 am)

      Oh I think that memory will be with me for the rest of my life! Ha!

  • comment-avatar
    Laurie Messer February 19, 2015 (11:04 am)

    Hey, Sarah Ann! You’ve spoken to my heart once again! Thanks for sharing the 4 ways to find relief from the mom guilt! Sharing this!
    Laurie Messer recently posted…Pleading for God’s Presence (Blogging Through the Bible)My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann February 19, 2015 (9:09 pm)

      Thanks for sharing, Laurie! I always love it when you stop by!

  • comment-avatar
    Amanda February 19, 2015 (11:52 am)

    I think all moms, whether SAHM or otherwise, deal with mommy guilt. This is a great article to remind us that we are all doing an awesome job. Pinning!
    Amanda recently posted…The Water Park Capital of THE WORLDMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann February 19, 2015 (9:08 pm)

      I think so, too. As moms we seem to think we need to have it all together at all times. It’s so refreshing when we realize others aren’t perfect, too!

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  • comment-avatar
    Jenn November 24, 2015 (1:15 pm)

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m glad I’m not alone in my mom guilt 🙂 I know it in my head, but I can feel so alone with it in my heart. It’s easy no matter what situation you’re in, as you pointed out – whether you’re a working or stay-at-home mom. I have a hard time forgiving myself in general, and doubly so when it comes to my little one, but I’m so grateful for the reminder. A friend gave me this advice, too, which has helped me when I feel the guilt: God picked you to be his mom, and him to be your child 🙂
    Jenn recently posted…what makes a successful lifestyle blogMy Profile

  • comment-avatar
    Terri August 30, 2016 (11:40 am)

    I’ve only been a mom for two months, but I wish I figured out how to manage the mom guilt because it’s definitely been taking over. Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty for my inability to contribute financially since being on maternity leave while my husband works all day. Even though I love being mom, I feel guilty for missing the life I used to have before having my son. I wish I figured out how to deal with this guilt, but I’m only two months in so maybe I should stop being so hard on myself.

  • comment-avatar
    Becki Svare October 14, 2016 (10:22 am)

    A great reminder! I find it easier to show others grace and forget it’s ok (and necessary) to show myself that same grace! thanks

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann October 14, 2016 (12:52 pm)

      I also struggle to show myself grace, but there is so much freedom when we learn to let go of the bondage of guilt! May we truly embrace this concept!