“The dishes can wait.” “This time is precious.” “Hold on to them for as long as you can.” If you are a stressed-out mom, you have probably heard these words. You follow this advice, knowing that housework and cleanliness are not what life is all about. You don’t remind your children to pick up their toys, either because you aren’t in the mood for a struggle, or because you’re trying not to come off as an obsessive clean freak. Some experts say you should let them have their fun. This is all good advice and we follow it every chance we get, but what happens when the anxiety can pile on us anyway?
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
You scoured Pinterest for activities to build up your baby’s sensory skills. You found a recipe for moon sand that is only 2 ingredients. Baby oil? Check! Flour? Check! How easy? How perfect?! My baby will have so much fun and I am helping her development. Go me! And then…you spend the rest of the morning trying to keep her from fisting the moon sand into her mouth (or your mouth), and Clorox wiping the kitchen table and vacuuming up soggy blobs. Then you think to yourself, “A smart mom would have done this outside.
You Need More Information, Y’know. So You Can Feel More Guilt
When parenting gets tough, you look for help. After multiple online searches and discussions with friends and family, you feel encouraged and decide to make peace with not having all the answers. And then…your search history learns all about you, commits it to memory and in it’s own helpful little pop-up way, you see the headline: By the Way, You Know Those Bath Toys that Your Kids Have Been Playing with this Whole Time? They Are All Filled with Mold. Congrats on Worst Housekeeper of the Year!
How Could You?!
On a lazy Saturday morning, everything is perfect. Your kids are nestled into your arms while you read them a stack of their favorite books. You think to yourself, “This is how it’s supposed to be. I’m everything to them right now. I’m spending time with them. I’m not looking at my phone or trying to sleep in. I am invested in my children. I’m doing it right.” And then…as you shift your legs to keep them from falling asleep, you unwittingly elbow your son in the forehead. His screams crumble your soul and you feel like the worst mother in the world.
Seriously? How Could You?
You wake up with amazing energy. You say to yourself, “Today is going to be different! My kids are just kids. They are still learning. I. will. NOT. yell at them. Only smiles today. Whoo! I got the power!” And then…your daughter is sitting on the cat, your son is taking an eternity to put on his shoes, you are hurrying to clean up your spilled coffee, because there is no way to keep your baby from crawling over to the puddle and creating a new and improved bath time. It’s too much, and even though you have counted to 10, nothing can keep your frustration silent. You sigh and hear the inner whisper. “Nice parenting. A perfect mom would never yell at their kids.”
I have learned that sometimes my children hesitate to communicate with me, because they automatically think that they are in trouble. When they have a potty accident or if they borrowed something without asking, they try to cover it up. I assure them that they are not in trouble and all they really need to do is tell me and then it will be over, but instead the result is a long drawn-out series of blubbering mixed with talking back or denial. Of course, the mom guilt sets in and I wrack my brain of what I did to make them feel this way. “It’s all your fault! You’re failing. They are scared of you. You should be ashamed of yourself,” are a few common phrases that travel through my mind.
You are NOT in Trouble
If you can relate to any of the above scenarios, believe me that you have nobody to answer to. You are doing an amazing job. God sees you. He sees you prioritizing your family. He sees you learning. He sees your unselfish and nurturing constitution day after day. Talk to Him and allow Him to comfort you. Then reach out to your other mom friends. 9 times out of 10, there is a mom who can relate and can share in your journey. Sometimes it helps to just let people know that they aren’t the only ones going through parenting struggles. If someone judges you, that is on them and not you! If these things cause you anxiety, don’t try to cover it up or try to convince yourself that there are consequences that you will face. You are not in trouble. You are a mom who loves her kids. You are a mom who is loved by God.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, ‘Weep not.’
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
-Romans 8: 1-2
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him