How to Deal with Mom Guilt – 5 Effective Ways to Let it Go

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Mom guilt. If you are a mom and have not felt it, I would like to know your secret. Most likely though, you have felt the clenching power of mom guilt in some way or another. If you do a Google search on ‘how to deal with mom guilt’, you are going to get a flood of answers, help articles, and promising solutions.

Let me paint you a couple of word pictures and see if you have felt something similar over the course of your motherhood.

You arrive at preschool drop-off with your little one. Most of the moms are in workout gear or PJs. However, you are decked out in complete professional attire because you’ll be headed off to work as soon as you can get the little one-handed off to the teachers. The other moms talk about some of the local places where they like to take their kids after school to play. As they make plans to meet up that day, you start to feel a tight knot form in your stomach.

I wish I could join them. Their kids probably love having them pick them up after school. Am I ruining my kid by not being here?

Second scenario.

You are watching your kids play on the floor and suddenly without warning a wave of guilt washes over you. I’m not doing enough. They aren’t in enough activities. I’m messing them up forever.

Mom’s guilt does not have to be logical. It’s also not just a thing to ‘get over.’ Some fundamental things are going on that need to be addressed when you feel that guilt wash over you. Let’s talk about how to let go of mom’s guilt and know that there are times when the mom’s guilt is okay.

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What Exactly Is Mom Guilt

What exactly is mom guilt? It is an invasive feeling that you are never doing enough or doing things wrong as a mom or caregiver.

Think of it as the should, could of’s, and other people do… of motherhood.

It includes outside pressures and insecurities that may have existed before official motherhood began. Some people feel physical pressure and anxiety when the ‘mom guilt’ creeps in and an overwhelming desire to fix or rectify the situation right away.

You will find that mom guilt has a lot of facets and varies from person to person.

The Contradictions of Mom Guilt

Society puts a lot of pressure on moms. A brief scroll through almost any social media could start to make anyone feel inadequate. Countless contradictions face moms. Here are just a few classic examples.

Feel proud of your pregnant body, but after birth loses that weight.

Limit your kid’s screen time, but make sure they are also using educational apps.

Keep an immaculate house, but make sure to let your kids play outside and do lots of messy sensory activities too.

If you are a working mom, be proud of that and make sure you are spending enough time with your kids.

Why do moms Feel Guilty?

It’s amazingly simple. We feel guilty because the uniqueness of our motherhood journey has been taken away by one simple word. Sin.

Wait! Wait! Don’t leave yet, let me explain.

You see, there is something fundamentally wrong with this world and it goes back to the simple fact that we live in a fallen world.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Romans 5:12 ESV 

Why would we think our motherhood journey wouldn’t also be subject to the turmoil that sin and death have brought to this world? We are trying to be godly mothers in a very ungodly world. It is an impossible journey to walk without the power of God in our lives.

Why do moms feel guilty? Because we are not enough. Most of the articles that you read on this subject will scream at you ‘MOM, YOU ARE ENOUGH FOR YOUR KIDS.’

I’m here today to tell you that you are not enough. You are not enough without Christ. You are enough when you surrender your motherhood to Christ and allow His grace to redeem your motherhood journey.

How to Deal with Mom Guilt

You are not enough without Christ in your motherhood. God made us to be mothers. He made us to be nurturers. Therefore, he has given us everything we need to be successful in our mothering journey. We don’t have to feel that guilt anymore.

We also have to apply some logic to our motherhood journey and look at our mothering journey based on the season we are in.

Are you a working mom?

Are you a stay-at-home mom?

Are you a new mom?

Are you caring for an ailing spouse?

The list could go on. Our unique circumstances are going to impact the season of motherhood we are in. God has put you in that season for a reason. One of the top reasons we feel the mom’s guilt is because we have not embraced and surrendered our motherhood to Jesus.

How do we overcome mom guilt? We lay our burdens, our fears, our anxieties, and our struggles at the foot of the cross of Jesus and we learn to trust him with not just our lives, but our motherhood as well.

When Mom Guilt Reveals Sin

There is something important here that needs to be addressed, despite its uncomfortable conclusion. Sometimes mom guilt is a way that God is revealing something deeper in your life. It can be awkward and very humbling, but God can be using that guilt to reveal that something is very wrong in your life.

Spend time in prayer. Only you know if God is calling you to repent or make a change in your life.

my petitions prayer journal

How to Deal with Working Mom Guilt

Working moms, you certainly have a unique schedule, and that unique schedule is going to dictate a lot of your time. Why do you feel mom’s guilt?

  1. Your ability to be with your kids?
  2. Lack of time?
  3. Relationship issues with your children or spouse?
  4. Unmet expectations?
  5. Feeling overwhelmed?
  6. Comparisons to other moms?

This list certainly could go on. Back in 2020 I had an infant and started to work more hours at work due to the pandemic. My milk supply tanked. The guilt was overwhelming. I decided that I was going to create my own formula using this recipe. I did my research, I read all the articles, I was scared that I was going to poison my baby.

And then there was the time it took each week to make all that homemade formula. In addition, we were still in the transition of moving and adjusting to having two children.

You know what, I barely remember those months of my life. I look back and between working extra hours, dealing with that postpartum season, making formula, the added pressures to moving to a new house, and adjusting to a new child in the house, and I lost my memories of those newborn moments. I have the pictures, but I don’t have particularly good memories. Stretching my motherhood abilities decreased the memories I have of my little baby. What a tragedy.

How to Deal with Stay-at-Home Mom Guilt

Are you a stay-at-home mom? Oh mama, you are a jewel. Why do you feel guilty? Do any of this sound familiar to you?

  1. Lack of time?
  2. Unmet expectations?
  3. Relationship issues with your children or spouse?
  4. Your ability to be with your kids?
  5. Feeling overwhelmed?
  6. Comparisons to other moms?

Look! That list is the exact same as for working moms, it’s just adjusted around a little bit. You see, we are all dealing with the same issues, they just manifest in separate ways based on the circumstances of our season of life.

5 Effective Ways to Let go of Mom Guilt

We are covering a lot of ground here today. Do you want to overcome the ‘mom guilt’ that you face? Try using these 5 effective ways to let it go forever.

Know the Truth

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32 ESV

Mom guilt can take on many different shapes and sizes. What one mom might feel could be remarkably similar or different from another mom. Knowing the truth about mom guilt, who you are in Christ, and practical steps to overcome it, can truly set you free from its clenching power.

Know your Season

Each of us is in different seasons of our life and motherhood. Are you a stay-at-home mom? Working mom? Empty nester? New mom? Know your season of life because when the comparison game starts to creep in you will be able to look at the other mom across from you and know that your season may be different.

When your season of life is different your reactions, ability, time, and expectations will all be different.

Know the truth and know your season of life.

Know your Time

Related to ‘known your season’ is ‘know your time.’ No matter what season of life we are in, we are constantly assaulted with the mindset that we don’t have enough time. The reality is that we do have enough time. God has given us the perfect amount of time. The problem is that we stretch our time out to the point of imbalance. You don’t have time problems; you have priority problems.

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV

One of the things working moms especially often feel guilty about is having enough time with their kids. One trick to give you enough time is to make sure you are setting a time each day for an intentional time. It does not have to be fancy, it just has to be intentional.

  1. Read books to your kids at a consistent time each day.
  2. Have conversations with them at dinner about their day.
  3. Do a drive-time prayer/devotional with them when driving to school/work.

Know what sets you off

Do you ever explode at your kids in frustration? Why? What triggers it?

When you feel anger, frustration, anxiety, or guilt, it’s time to take an inward evaluation of where you are at. Here are a few tricks to prevent or deal with when these negative emotions come up.

  1. Get a consistent time of prayer/daily devotional time with God.
  2. Set aside time to take care of yourself – Read this article about Christian Self-Care
  3. Walk away if you need to. Sometimes the best thing we can do is walk away from a situation and take some time to prayer and mentally regroup. Know where that place is for you. For me it’s my closet. I hide in there and take some deep breaths and ask God to refocus my heart.

Know your Creator

This is the most important part. Your creator has made you a mother, he has given you your children to raise. He did not make a mistake.

The Proverbs 31 woman, sometimes gets a bad reputation because it seems like it would be impossible to live up to those expectations. Yet she is one of the best examples that we have in scripture of what a biblical wife and mother looks like. No one ever said we have to be all these things at once. They are attributes we are striving towards by God’s grace.

  1. She is trustworthy (verse 11)
  2. She willingly is a hard worker (verse 12)
  3. She is capable and resourceful (verses 13 and 14)
  4. She plans effectively (verse 15)
  5. She is smart (verse 18)
  6. She is an entrepreneur (verse 18)
  7. She works hard (verse 17)
  8. She is creative (verse 19)
  9. She is a nurturer (verse 20)
  10. She is prepared (verse 21)
  11. She is kind to everyone (verse 26)
  12. She is loved (verse 28)

The Takeaway – Balancing Motherhood and Life

We are blessed to be mothers. You are doing a great job mom. God has given you all you need to be a successful wife, mother, homemaker, and worker for the kingdom. Surrender your motherhood to Him and watch all that he will do.

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