We have to talk about it.
Every single one of you mothers out there probably knows exactly what I am talking about. That’s because the “Mom Guilt” started before your little one even arrived. Maybe you went to a whiskey tasting right before taking a positive pregnancy test, or maybe you ate a Jimmy John’s sub even after they said they wouldn’t microwave it for you, or maybe you didn’t take your prenatals as often as you should have because they made you sick. (All me, by the way, in case you were wondering.)
And all of that was before your little one even made their grand arrival. Don’t even get me started on the drama that’s about to unfold. My daughter was less than one month old when her little, swaddled, baby-burrito self rolled off my lap, down my legs, and halfway across her nursery floor. From there, it has been a litany of chipped teeth, bruises, stitches, and near-death experiences. (My husband says I’m exaggerating, but I beg to differ.)
And in my mind, every single one of those “accidents” was one-hundred percent my fault. Let me tell you guys, this Mom Guilt thing is crippling. I usually end up crying on the phone with my mom or dad or to my husband. They tell me it’s not my fault and I say I know, even while I keep thinking, but it really was my fault. The what-have-I-dones and the what-if-it-had-been-worses were tearing at my self-esteem and had me seriously questioning my capabilities as a parent.
And the Mom Guilt is not limited to accidents and almost fatalities… oh, no, no, no… that is just the tip of the iceberg, my friend. There is Mom Guilt because your child is subsisting off of quesadillas and goldfish. There is Mom Guilt because you are still nursing or because you are not nursing. There is Mom Guilt because you are working or because you are not working, because you spend too much time with your kid or because you are neglecting them by having career goals or relationships. There is Mom Guilt because you over-reacted and Mom Guilt because you let them cry in their crib for 2.2 seconds. There is Mom Guilt because you use sunscreen but its not the right kind, because you gave them non-organic milk, or because you forgot to wash a strawberry. There is no limit to Mom Guilt.
Maybe I am alone in this, but my guess is that a lot of you feel the same way.
You love these little humans with a fierceness that can make you actually nauseous. Your love for them can make you roar or seeth or cry or laugh. You love them with a fierceness that is all-consuming. And that, my friend, is exactly why Mom Guilt is such a thing. Because you just love them so much.
Well here is the reality that has recently been laid on me: God loves them more.
Let me say it one more time for effect: GOD LOVES THEM MORE THAN YOU DO.
In fact, God loves YOU with that exact same fierceness. Whether you’ve known it or not, He has been a shelter in the storm of your life and He will do the same for your precious baby.
It doesn’t mean that your life (or your child’s life) will be without suffering. It means that He will be with you and see you through the suffering until the day He brings you home. He will be there to forgive you when you mess up and will love you despite ANY mistake or oversight you make. He doesn’t blame you for not shutting the front door and letting your toddler nearly walk right off the front porch. He isn’t angry that you used a Rock N Play before it was recalled, or that you depended on a swing, or that you co-sleep. And He isn’t bitter that you gave your child candy before dinner.
He only sees that you left the door open because your arms were full of the groceries you bought to feed your family. He sees that you did what you thought was best in the moment to give your child some much needed rest. He sees that you wanted your child to have a moment of joy at their first taste of chocolate.
He is understanding. He is forgiving. He is loving. In fact, God is love. That unending, overwhelming love that you feel for your baby is not just of God, it is God. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Mom Guilt is not of God. Mom Guilt is a tool of evil that is being used to separate you from the unending grace that is found in Christ.
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. It is done. He has covered all of our sins and oversights and accidents and shortcomings through His fierce and unrelenting love.
Accidents happen. And sometimes they might even be your fault. But that is okay. Try to see yourself through the lens of the fierce, all-consuming, gracious love that you have for your children because it is only a fraction of how God loves us. We are His creation. His children. His babies.
And His love for us is even more unconditional than the love we have for our own kids. You don’t stop loving them when they throw tantrums or try to run into the road or hit you or tell you how mean you are. And how much greater is the power of His forgiveness than that of our own?
What you want for your children is to see them happy and healthy. And that’s what God wants for us. He doesn’t want to see you live your life plagued by Mom Guilt. So make the decision to leave it behind. Simply be the parent that God called you to be and He will equip you every day for that calling.
So bye-bye, Mom Guilt. See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.