Mom guilt. All moms seem to struggle with it – at least all the good ones do. We want the best for our children. Yet, we can’t always give it to them.
We sacrifice sleep, luxuries, time, comfort – all for the sake of making a better life for our children. We try out best, but sometimes we don’t even know what exactly is best. What is behind mom guilt and how can we tackle it from a Christian perspective?
What is Mom Guilt?
So, exactly what is mom guilt? The definitions of mom guilt all echo the feeling one has after having committed a crime or having done wrong against someone. Big stuff. Mom guilt is far more pervasive than that definition would indicate.
As moms, we feel responsible for it ALL. We have a picture of everything that we are supposed to do and all that our families are supposed to be like. When our reality falls short of that idolized image ….we have mom guilt.
Examples of Mom Guilt
Mom guilt comes in many forms. We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Even if we work, we feel like we are in charge of making sure all the dishes are done, the clothes are folded, and the house is clean. We feel like the burden for raising our children ultimately is on our shoulders, even if we have a spouse to share that load.
We feel Mom Guilt for ….
- Mom Guilt for not being patient enough.
- Mom Guilt for not listening enough to our kids.
- Mom Guilt for not being firm enough with them and giving in when we are tired.
- Mom Guilt for not being calm enough and occasionally losing our temper or raising our voice.
- Mom Guilt for not volunteering enough with our kids’ activities.
- Mom Guilt for not being healthy enough and looking like those “other” moms.
- Mom Guilt for not cleaning the house enough or often enough.
- Mom Guilt for not being organized enough and feeling as if you were your life would be so much easier.
- Mom Guilt for not being smart enough and better able to help your kids get good grades.
- Mom Guilt for not being pretty enough and as popular as the other moms.
- Mom Guilt for not being Pinteresty enough. (Totally made up that word – but you know what I am talking about!)
- Mom Guilt for not having more money so we can provide for opportunities for our kids.
- Mom Guilt for not being spiritual enough and wondering if our kids won’t believe in Jesus because our sin will be a stumbling block for them.
- Mom Guilt for not being faithful enough as a mom and that God will be disappointed in us.
Related Reading: 5 Lessons for Moms: God’s Kids Complained About His Cooking Too
What Does the Bible Say About Guilt?
To understand what the Bible has to say about guilt, we have to back up and look at what the Bible has to say about sin. Real guilt should be in response to sin not to trying to keep up with everyone else’s expectations other than God’s expectations.
What is Sin?
“Sin is any transgression of the law of God.” Sorry, it just blurts out. That is the power of catechism. (We use the “Truth and Grace Memory Books” with our children.)
Sin is the breaking of God’s law. When we act in disobedience to God’s laws, we are sinning. The translated word for sin in the New Testament means to have missed the mark.
If you are a type A mom, like me, you never feel like you are making the mark. You feel like there is always room for improvement. You believe that there is always some way that you could have done more or done better.
In our quest to always make the mark, we fall victim to the trap of perfectionism. Being perfect becomes our idol. The trap of struggling to earn my salvation and prove my faith threaten to overwhelm.
Am I doing enough? Am I a good enough mother? Am I faithful enough?
The Worst Guilt for a Christian Mom?
Here is the biggest worry…will my children don’t be the vibrant believers they are called to be, because I wasn’t enough?
This is mom guilt at its worst. Will the salvation of my children be at risk because I wasn’t enough?
I wasn’t patient enough. I wasn’t Christian enough. I wasn’t faithful enough.
The worry that my children see my broken sinfulness and it turns them away from God instead of drawing them to God.
How to Beat Mom Guilt
Truth #1 – God Can Use Guilt for Good
Guilt is the natural Biblical response to sin. It is the heart call that recognizes that we have a breach in a relationship that we need to restore.
Guilt can be a good thing. Guilt is a gift to alert us to a sin problem that needs to be addressed.
Unfortunately, the Devil uses guilt to his advantage. The Deceiver tells us that we are guilty when we are not. He paints a picture of an unachievable image of motherhood, and the uses are guilt at not achieving it to paralyze and overwhelm us.
Truth #2 – All Moms are Sinners
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”Romans 8:28
All means all. All mothers have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It isn’t just you or me – it is all mothers.
We will not be perfect. We will be selfish. We will be tired and cranky. We won’t always make the best decision.
Guess what when our kids grow up, they won’t be perfect parents either. Instead, we can model for them how to confess their sins and reconcile to their children. By the grace of God, we have a model for restoring relationships.
Truth #3 – You Will Never Be Perfect
You will never be good enough. Let me repeat that for the hard-headed. You will never be a perfect mom.
The only perfect person who walked on the earth was Jesus. Just the one.
Christians talk about the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 – but she wasn’t perfect either. Some Bible scholars wonder if she was even real – just the description of an ideal woman who never really existed.
Truth #4 – Beat Guilt with Confession
Do you want to know how to overcome mom guilt? Confession is always the right response when we feel guilty. Don’t take this amazing gift for granted!
This is what makes our God so awesome. We can confess our sins and be forgiven of them. Our slate is wiped clean if we just ask!
This is what makes our God so unique. We don’t have to carry a burden of guilt around with us, weighing us down.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9
Truth #5 – An Authentic, Humble Mom is Better Than a Perfect Mom
We are moms, but we are still sinners. We are leaders in our homes, but we aren’t always perfect.
I had this flawed understanding before I was baptized about sin. I thought that the waters of baptism magically cured you of making sinful choices. Boy, was I disappointed!
Our children NEED us to model vulnerability, confession, and forgiveness. I would contend this is one of the best gifts that you can give to your children!
Being an imperfect mother can be a better faith lesson for your children, than trying to pretend to be a perfect mother.
Do we need to work on our patience, our diligence, our attitude, and our faithfulness? Yes, we always need to press on and run the race as we try to be more like Christ.
The Blessing of Mom Guilt
The practice of motherhood and the blessing of our children is that our flaws are laid bare before us. Instead of being overwhelmed with mom guilt, we should embrace the opportunity for kingdom growth.
Our children have a front row seat to watch us work out our salvation. If we are transparent, they will see our struggles and how we go to God to overcome them. Then when the struggles come into their lives, and we know that they will, they will have had a mentor that showed them how to respond.
As mothers, we are engaged in the task of discipleship. It is messy, and it is glorious. Be the humble lead learner that you are called to be and ditch the mom guilt. Love, confess, repent, and love more.
The voice behind FaithfulMotherhood.com is Jyn. She is a veteran homeschool mom of three. More than just a pastor’s wife, she holds a Master of Divinity degree and has served in church leadership for over 20 years. Her passion is equipping parents to live out their calling as the number one faith influencer for their children. She longs to see moms empowered by God’s Word and transferring that love to their children through daily Bible study and family devotions.