The Mom Guilt Reaction

There is something that’s really been bothering me. I see it everywhere. Every single time I get on Facebook (which I always ask myself why in the world I even did, because I inevitably sign off frustrated with someone or something) I see this trend. It’s the reaction, or in my opinion over reaction, to the mom pressure.

Every time I turn around someone is writing some message to moms of young kids about how tough it is and how much pressure there is and how no one should ever feel guilty about dirty floors and disposable diapers. And while I agree, those are silly things to feel guilty about, I disagree with the overall tone and message.

What I am hearing over and over and over are people saying, “Don’t worry, young mom, everybody gets on their iPhone and buys spaghetti o’s and yells at their kid sometimes. And do not tolerate anyone telling you to ‘cherish the moments, because it goes so fast,’ because you are in the trenches and the days are long!”

Ok. This is a complete swing in the other direction! I know that Pinterest and blogs and social media have successfully created a fake world. A world with the most gorgeous kitchens I’ve ever seen and moms crafting with their kids 24/7. But don’t we all know that’s not how it really is?

And while I am ALL FOR encouraging moms in a role that can be super tough, I am totally against the “it’s fine, you’re fine, don’t ever be hard on yourself” mentality. I recently yelled at my daughter, and my mind literally went to this message that it’s fine and everyone yells, and I shouldn’t feel guilty. That’s when I realized the disturbing-ness of this trend.

The answer is not, “The standard is too high, so don’t worry if you don’t meet it.” The answer is that the standard is actually very high: perfect, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And we can not meet that. We are totally broken, fallen, falling apart people.

But instead of making each other feel better by saying it’s fine, we all feel ya. Can we please, for the love, look to Jesus. The answer is grace. Grace that covers my sin and the sins of my children. Grace that I must turn to when I know I have failed my children. When I know I have failed at motherhood. When I know this job is just too tough for me.

I need Him. I need what He did for me. I need what we are celebrating this very week.

Motherhood puts me face to face with my ineptitude, and that’s ok. Depravity is the reality. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t strive for more. That actually, yeah, the goal is to not yell at your kids! And the working out of our salvation and sanctification should yield good works.

And as annoying as it can be, I need people telling me to savor the moments. That they go too fast. Because when I look back at pictures of my newborn girl, I wish desperately I had savored just a little bit more.

So here’s what I’m saying. The mom down the street, or in today’s case the mom on the internet, is not the standard. But that’s not the good news. God’s perfect love is. And that’s even more impossible. The good news is that He rescued us in our failure. He gave His Son for our failure, and He gives His Spirit to guide and govern in the daily muck and mire of mothering tiny people. So let’s look to His goodness, His grace, and His work of redemption to get us through the trenches.

11 thoughts on “The Mom Guilt Reaction

  1. love love love this!

    (I remember us talking about facebook back in august- I got off before S was born and I have loved not being on!!)

  2. I love this post and I am not even a mom! Such a good reminder in all areas of our lives just to remember the true standard and the reality of grace. Keep on keeping on!

    • Love that article! Isn’t it bizarre how it’s become cool now to be a total mess!!? At first, I felt like, yeah! I don’t need to have it all together! And then I’m like, Wait a minute… chore charts are helpful, a shower is a good idea, and life is a little less overwhelming when my floors are clean.

  3. Preach it, sister! You remind me of Dad when I read these words. He was always challenging people to reach for a higher plane. God gave you a gift with words, and I’m glad you are using it here. This is truth.

  4. So true! In my Christian walk, I have never experienced the DAILY NEED for God’s grace like I do in parenting (especially a 2 year old)!!!! Parenting has been the main tool God is using to show me I need Him everyday and that I am not enough. I can’t do this enormous job without his power. I am not enough. He is. I am learning this. It’s painful. This is my current Haran.

  5. To the girl of the gifted words—I can hardly wait for your first book. Wish I still had the bookstore so I could sell it by bunches & bunches! Like Mom, you remind me of your Dad (and your Mom) with your writing. I love to be blessed & challenged by your insights.

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