You’re Incredibly supple.
You stretch your budget, your schedule, your patience and your caffeine threshold in superhero ways. Your heart is stretched so thin in places that heart-goo seeps through all your inside spaces and sometimes leaks embarrassingly from your eyes.
You bend every which way to please and placate and catch whoever’s falling. You love with a fierceness and a tender flexibility that scares and surprises you. It also scares and surprises your kids.
And your psyche has plasticised so impressively that you’re able to accommodate vast mental tracts of mom guilt.
Here’s the thing, sweet you:
Moms aren’t superheroes. They’re actual, human sinners. Guilty as charged. Desperate for grace.
But unless there’s a restraining order against you or you’re given to burning your kids with cigarettes, that’s about as far as mom guilt goes.
So, stop already.
‘But how?’ you ask, ‘And why? Isn’t mom guilt my holy martyrdom?’
Actually, God covered the how.
‘He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.’ (Colossians 2:14)
He dealt with your guilt. He carried your shame. And as Louie Giglio points out, why would you ask to carry something unbearably, impossibly heavy – something human arms can’t ever stretch around – when Someone else has offered to carry it for you? Why would you – ever – ask for your sin, back again? You don’t get to beat yourself up with long Elastigirl arms. You don’t get to punish yourself because your punishment has already been endured.
On the days when you are guilty of sinning against your kids – for real – like, losing your temper, or saying unkind, unnecessary things – ask their forgiveness. Thrash it out if you must. Restore the relationship. Find each other again in the soft, strong circles of mercy. And move on, guilt gone.
Mom guilt tortures you with accusations that you’re always behind on doing and being all you want to do and be for your kids. It nags that there’s never enough time, never enough money, never enough you to go around.
Your kids are part of your story, and there’s enough time for the story you’re living. But the chapter you’re in is part of a much longer plot that climaxes in eternity. Don’t feel guilty for determinedly starting something you definitely can’t finish (i.e. a family). Enjoy the truth that we’re all somebody’s previous generation. It’s a beautiful, humbling thing to build something that will outlast you – something others will finish, to God’s glory.
Mom guilt has you believing that you’re supposed to stretch your stressed out self over every gaping hole. That doesn’t model dependency on God. It models delusional self-sufficiency.
‘I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!’ (Isaiah 65:24)
Your Heavenly Father hasn’t given up on parenting you. He still makes sure there’s fresh mercy on every breakfast table in every kitchen every morning. That means, it may feel like there’s not enough you, but for sure there’s enough grace for you not to give up on those who call you mom.
Stop with the mom guilt, because while guilt and conviction feel exactly the same, guilt paralyses but conviction mobilises.
Kids don’t need an incapacitated mom; they need a convicted mom. They need a mom who is brave enough and humble enough to carry the consequences of her mistakes and misdemeanours. They need a mobilised, energised mom who will keep learning, keep loving, keep leaning in.
Sure, they could do with a good, organised, got-my-[stuff]-together mom. And a flexible mom is a total bonus.
Mostly? They just need a happy mom, who knows that she’s not loved because she’s Incredible. She’s Incredible, because she is loved.
. . .
Please share this with a mom you love. Paying it forward changes the world.
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Here’s to a happy, uncomplicated, guilt-free week. Sending you much love.
PS: It’s still February, which means you can still pick up Dragons and Dirt on Kindle for the super low price of just $3. Half my royalties go to training preschool teachers in an under-resourced community.
Images © Disney / Pixar