Deep(ish) Thoughts From For the Love: On Mom Guilt

Sometimes a book shows up on your doorstep that you pre-ordered like a million years ago....and it's exactly what you need TODAY(see my post from this morning. Yea. Pretty cool). So ready to dive in. Thx @jenhatmaker ......you rock my socks off. #forthelove #grace #giveit

Fair warning….this is NOT a running or fitness post.  Ya’ll know I love to just write sometimes and take a break from fitness stuff and chat about real life.  It’s like a safe place to come when I need to talk things out.  I’m reading For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.  It’s just too good not to talk about.  So, while I’m reading I thought I’d do a post once a week on some of my thoughts from something that sticks out…..or the entire book.  Every human on the planet should read this book.  She touches on so many things I have no doubt I’ll be starting over as soon as I finish to re-read and soak more in.  So, this may be a total flop and may take my daily page views even lower than they have been these past few week’s as I’ve put blogging on the back burner.  But it’s worth a shot.   And for those of you still hanging around, bless you.  So, here we go.  Mom guilt.

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I have this constant banter back and forth with myself:

“You totally and completely stink.  Well, maybe you don’t.  Stop yelling.  But they sort of deserve it.  Get control of your emotions, the kids don’t always need to see them on display.  You are 33, stop acting like the 3 year old.  But they need to see real and this is real dangit.  You’re a bad mom.  Maybe not as bad as you could be. Oh, that was a sweet moment.  At least I have one to show for my day.  At least I kept them fed and alive today.  Today is good.  Can we just stay in today?”  And on and on it goes.  Back and forth we go with feelings of victory and success followed by sure feelings of defeat.

We feel as though we have permanently scarred our kids with our humanness a good part of the time. Or is it just me?  I know when we had Jake, our oldest, I decided I wanted my kids to see the real me.   Not the fake put on a front and never let my kids see any emotion mom.  A real life human mom with feelings and failures and a personality.  To joke and be sarcastic and blast some tunes in the car and admit when I’m wrong.

Then, these babies we birthed started growing up.  They got a personality, a WILL(which is there from the get go I might add), an ATTITUDE(thank you 4th grade), interests, and opinions.  They tell me how to drive, when not to text, how many time’s I’ve peed in the last 20 minutes(seriously, have a few babies and let me know how that works for you), how to wear my hair, not to touch them if I’m sweaty, and to sign their planner’s at night because they don’t trust me to do it in the wee crazy morning hours.  And they still have the nerve to talk to me before I’ve had my coffee.  Have they not learned?  It’s awesome.

It also brings up loads of insecurities.  They are no longer 2 and able to block out all my mistakes.  They will remember these days.  Oh. Holy. Crap.

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So, when mom guilt starts to creep in, I get a little anxious.  All the I don’ts and I’m not’s and I cants settle into the recesses of our mom brains and we begin to believe them.  We only see our faults.  In For the Love Ch. 8….CHAPTER 8!!!!!!!!!!! Jen points out the fact that we don’t see all the little faults in other mom’s.  We often point out the best in an effort to encourage and lift each other up.  So, why don’t we give ourselves the same courtesy?

“Why do we exaggerate our failures and ignore our successes? I would never overvalue another mother’s lows and neglect her triumphs, so why would I do that to myself?  Why do any of us?  We observe other parent’s strengths with 20/20 vision while our strengths are blurred.  I declare your goodness as easily as I affirm my wretchedness; they are inversely proportional.  I am conditioned to minimize your humanity and overemphasize mine.”

A to the men.

I’m the mom that turns in all the paperwork after it’s due.

Every. Year.

I’m the mom that forgets to pay for year books.

Every. Year.

I’m the mom that forgets to put money on their lunch account for pizza day, so they get little notes sent home reminding the 8-year-old to remind his 33-year-old mother to give him money. For crying out loud.  And if that 33-year-old mom forgets enough they give him a pity lunch of sunbutter and jelly(whatever the heck that is) sandwiches and water.  Poor kid.

I’m the mom that forgets her snack night at baseball.

Every. Season.

But guess what.  It doesn’t matter.  That stuff doesn’t define my reign as Jake, Josh and Lila’s mom.  It goes way beyond that and for me to live riddled with guilt is a shame.  These years are short.  They are precious.  And yes, there may be some damage caused by my many failures, but as one imperfect human raising 3 other imperfect humans, what should I expect? Imperfections. Grace.  Humor.  Love.  More grace.  Acceptance.  Fun.  Grace upon grace. An ability to shake it off(thanks Taylor) and have fun and live life and enjoy my kids without the dark and shameful cloud of guilt hovering overhead.  That’s not what God desires for my time on this earth as a mother.  It’s just not.

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We live in a #momfail world.  So what if I counted swimming as bath time 5 days in a row this summer?  So what if I took 8 kids to the playground one day and let every last one of them pee in the bushes?  It’s not a #momfail.  We’re not failures momma’s.  We’re human and we’re doing our best with what God has equipped us with. And He HAS equipped us.  So let’s stop the mom guilt and the #momfails.  Let’s thank God for these treasures that we sometimes scream at and live a life of grace and gratitude instead of one of guilt and shame.  Here’s to you mom’s.

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8 comments on “Deep(ish) Thoughts From For the Love: On Mom Guilt

  1. Karen..girl I adore you!!! you are always so quick to encourage ME and I so appreciate you reading and staying faithful to this crazy hobby of mine. And I agree, I’m drawn towards the ones who aren’t afraid to show the messy. It’s so much more freeing than feeling as though we have to hide it all the time. And getting in gear…hmmmmm I’m trying to do that myself!!!!! Hard finding a new groove but you will get there!!

  2. I love this post. I often tell myself that I am doing my kids a favor by showing them a very imperfect mom- it gives them the freedom to be imperfect themselves… Can you imagine the stress that would come trying to live up to a perfect mom? Luckily my children will never know that stress 🙂
    I also think the moms that worry/think about what they are doing wrong are often the best moms bc they are so self reflective! I have realized that I gravitate towards other imperfect moms for support and friendship (all moms are flawed of course, I mean the ones who show their flaws instead of hiding them) – they are so much more refreshing and real. I just love you and your blog- often it is exactly what I need to hear… Can you next blog be about how to get my tail back in gear with almost two weeks left until my kids start school (and almost FOUR) weeks until my son starts preschool… For the love…

  3. thank you April!!!! Seriously that is such a sweet thing to say. And yes girl, swimming replaces baths every time. It’s a definite perk to Summer!=)

  4. Love love love this!! You are so perfect in Gods eyes and I see you as a beautiful person who loves with her whole heart!! Ps I thought swimming replaced baths! Bahaha

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