By Nancy Virden (c)2020
Introduction to mommy-guilt
I didn’t like being told recently that by letting my sons pick out a Hot Wheels car on most shopping trips when they were young, I had raised them with a sense of entitlement.
Mommy-guilt is a real experience. Most mothers likely attest to it. I think it began with me during my first pregnancy. To sum it up, mommy-guilt comes from the internal doubt should I, could I have done better?
It was not fun hearing the accusation that my adult sons may have been harmed by Hot Wheels purchases ages ago. Evidence doesn’t point to that being true as neither of them is materialistic. Mommy-guilt showed up anyway, and it took me some time to consider and then choose to ignore the familiar pang, should I have done it better?
All the ways mothers can feel guilty are as varied as the mothers! Levels of mommy-guilt can range from a passing thought to years of regret. Society blames everything that has to do with our children’s immature or disagreeable judgment calls on mothers. Accusations fly, “Their mother is not raising them right!” No wonder our natural instinct to protect our young morphs into false guilt.
(Most) Moms do not deserve the shaming
Let me be clear about shame. It is a healthy response to shameful acts. Shame is appropriate for selfish, criminal, and evil behaviors. Without shame, no one would ever be sorry. Mothers do not own a free pass. For example, if one has abused her child or is concerned she may, then taking the child to safety and asking for help is warranted. Hiding it is as shameful as the behavior. The good news is, no one has to live in shame indefinitely. By becoming a better person shame is knocked off its pedestal.
When my firstborn was new, a woman with grandchildren scolded me, saying I was holding him too much. She added defensively that she had raised her children on a strict schedule, allowing them to cry in their cribs until it was time to pick them up. I realized she had done her best as a mom and perhaps the differences in our parenting unearthed in her mind a withering leftover strand of classic mommy-guilt.
Of course, I do not know. Nonetheless, she, nor any of us, deserve to carry false guilt for being a different kind of mom than the woman down the street or than one from another generation. Naturally, we excel in different areas.
You are the mother your child needs and wants
Mom, if you are struggling in this quarantine period, take a few deep breaths and try your best. You and your child can laugh at mistakes together. Sons and daughters respond to love and respect as do we all. As adults, they will remember your positive presence.
Be the best mom you are.
Today’s Helpful Word
Proverbs 17:6b (NIV)
…parents are the pride of their children.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved
Moms must own up to personal shame