Everywhere I look, I see bloggers and speakers encouraging mamas to let go of so-called Mommy Guilt. And I'm glad...for the most part. As a mom myself, I know how easy it is to let negativity creep in. Satan has a heyday in my mind, trying to convince me that I'm not a good mom, that I will never succeed as a parent, and that I'll never measure up in society's eyes. The reminders not to succumb to that kind of negative thinking are good and Biblical.
But I've also begun to wonder if, perhaps, I've gotten a little too good at shelving Mommy Guilt. As I've thought through the concept of Mom Guilt, I've come to understand that there actually two different kinds. And if we ignore them both, we're making a big mistake.
The first kind of Mommy Guilt, and the kind that most people are referring to when they tell us to stop fretting, is the negative and unproductive kind of guilt that the devil uses to whisper lies into our minds and hearts. It's right and good to let go of this kind of guilt.
This is the kind of guilt that tries to shame us, that says we're not good enough, that claims we're terrible parents. It's also the type of guilt I want to address in today's post. (We'll save the second type of Mommy guilt for next week, so be sure to come back to read part 2!)
While it's good to let go of this negative guilt, the Bible is very clear on the steps we need to take when battling anything.
- First, we need to acknowledge it for what it is.
- Next, we need to put it off.
- Last, we need to put on the mind of Christ.
What troubles me most when I see posts about letting go of Mommy guilt is that they often unintentionally imply that it's an easy thing to do, that it's a simple choice we need to make, and once we've made the choice to do away with it, that's all there is to it. But it's so much more than that, isn't it? We need to start dealing Biblically with this kind of Mommy guilt.
Acknowledge ungodly Mommy guilt for what it is
Mamas, we need to get honest with ourselves. Let's call ungodly Mommy guilt what it is: SIN. It's sin because it's thinking too much about ourselves. It's sin because it's not what the Bible teaches. And it's sin because it gives the devil a foothold.
Until we recognize sin for what it is, we can't do anything about it. Until we realize that nay-saying Mommy guilt is a transgression, we'll never be able to overcome it. But once we call it out and admit that it's sin, we can move forward and begin the "put off, put on" process.
Put off unbiblical Mommy guilt
It's not enough just to shrug aside the sin of ungodly Mommy guilt. We need to take action. Even then, it won't be an easy battle, and for many of us, it will be an ongoing struggle. We need to take each and every one of these thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
Never forget that we have the help of the Holy Spirit in this. Praise the Lord that He has not left us to do this on our own, because we would be powerless without Him to put off ungodly Mommy guilt. But with God, all things are possible.
Put on the mind of Christ
In addition to putting of ungodly Mommy guilt, we need to put on the mind of Christ. How does He view us? What does He think of our parenting skills?
- He has told us that all things are possible with God (Matt. 19:26), and this includes parenting.
- He has promised to help us (John 14:26), so we can trust Him to help us in parenting, too.
- We are His chosen workmen and need not be ashamed (2 Tim. 2:15).
- We are His beloved creation (Eph. 2:10).
- He is giving us His strength, and it's also in this strength that we find our joy (Neh. 8:10).
These are the things we need to be thinking and meditating on. Only by putting on the mind of Christ can we also put off the negativity of ungodly Mommy guilt.
If, like me, you still need more help with this process, I highly recommend writing out verse cards specific to this struggle. Keep them in your purse, in prominent places around your home, and use them as bookmarks in your current reads. Not only will physically writing out verses help you commit them to memory, but seeing them frequently will also strengthen your ability to recall them when a moment of ungodly Mommy guilt attacks.
If you struggle with Mommy guilt like so many of us do, know that you're not alone. Also know that you can take these three steps - acknowledging it as sin, putting off these negative thoughts, and putting on the mind of Christ - to begin putting ungodly Mommy guilt in its place.
And join me next week for Part 2 of "Why I'm Taking A Second Look at Mommy Guilt"!