Mom Guilt.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by “Mom Guilt?”

Oh, phew. I knew it couldn’t be just me.

For those of you mamas-to-be who’ve stumbled across my page, Mom Guilt is the irrational sense of not being able to give your baby everything they need and deserve for a healthy development. It’s root cause is a deep, sacred love for the children entrusted to you. It also stems from honoring the purpose of motherhood/longing to be intentional in the role. And its symptoms make up a long list of, well, crazy. I’ll go ahead and insert a few of my own here: waiting for a “Mom’s Day Out” all week and then rushing back home at the first picture Justin sends because I suddenly feel strange in this sense of freedom and insist a family day would have been more appropriate, denying myself straightened hair or some light make up because taking the time to get ready takes me away from Savannah so it’s better limited, buying the new squeezable guacamole because taking the time to slice a single fresh avocado would mean turning my back to her for far too long. Please don’t make me go on!

As much as we can laugh at our mom guilt as we explain it to others, it’s so real in the moment and often debilitating. And, though it comes from a good place, it’s depriving our sons and daughters of getting to observe and learn about real life experiences. Proverbs 22:6 is one of my favorite scriptures, and one I clung to years ago as I felt this same combination of love, urgency, and responsibility as a new teacher. It says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he’s old he will not depart from it.”

It’s not realistic to avoid our every day responsibilities as we raise children. Rather, I would argue we are doing them a disservice if we keep them from the realities of proper hygiene routines, healthy meal preparation, household chores, having an exercise regimen, even time alone in His presence. Instead of cutting these things out completely then, how can we be intentional as mothers to build them into our routine in a way that still realizes the weightiness of every moment these little eyes watch?

It’s a question only you can answer for your family. It takes prayer and the strong conviction that what’s right for other families may not match the needs of yours. It may come with some unseen frustrations and it may have to be adjusted season by season. But, from my own experience now, I can promise you it’s worth it.

Because for us-in just one small, specific way- it’s been breaking up with Mom Guilt by taking long early morning prayer walks. Getting my body moving in the morning glory. Savannah soaking up some Vitamin D and background knowledge about birds tweeting, and cranes building houses, and lawn crews with loud leaf blowers. Seeing her mama sweat. Hearing her mama intercede, ask, and praise. Knowing- when she turns around to peek through the tiny mesh window at just who I’m talking to- that God is never far. Teaching her there’s never room for guilt in the spaces God fills.

(Originally written April 2021)