Many of us throw this term around. And of course we would – it’s something we experience firsthand or witness others struggling with on a daily basis. My mom struggles with it still, even though she has entered her wise 70s. Now she has the added benefit of “grandmother guilt!”
So what is this mom guilt thing anyway?
I suppose it has always been present in some form. It likely originated in the early history of human existence, being reserved for such events as the inability to keep your children alive, not having adequate food or clothes, or being unable to protect your family from deadly diseases like malaria and the bubonic plague.
Contemporary mom guilt is almost unrecognizable in comparison to its predecessor. Now mom guilt extends to include such grave events as —
- handing out store-bought rather than homemade party favors at your kid’s birthday party
- not meeting your child’s demands for attention (whether realistic or not)
- working out of the home or staying home and not working.
- being unable (or uninterested) in breastfeeding your baby
- giving your child conventionally grown produce and meats rather than organics
- not providing your child with pinterest-worthy entertainment
- failing to simultaneously keep: a job, clean home, fresh meals, fun plans and “happy” children
Who is to blame for this unnecessary and (ill-placed) guilt?
Social media and its relentlessly unrealistic messaging? It’s certainly enough to drive a mother bonkers if she is not careful. But can I place the sole blame there?
What about our own pride? What if the message of guilt is more from within than without?
After reflecting on myself, I realized that what we label as mom guilt is not always an altruistic concern for our children. Instead it is sometimes simple pride in what we do for and give our kids (especially those things that others see).
A fews years back I put this blog in hibernation. At that time I had only one child and was able to craft a pretty idealized childhood experience for him. Now I have 3 month old twin boys and if you have any sense of that, you can guess what happened to my oldest’s near perfect life! But it turns out this is actually a good thing! And he will be (I hope) a more well adjusted, well-rounded and flexible person because of it.
But if it’s good, then why do I feel so bad?
I’ve decided it’s my own damn pride.
Unfortunately pride isn’t as pretty or maternal as I would prefer.
What a dangerous game we play. Though it appears relatively benign now – what will happen when my boys are older and my pride extends to their achievement and performance too?
It’s time to reign in the mom guilt.
But is there an alternative to pride-induced mom guilt? Maybe I just need to accept it, repress it, hide it as best I can?
I asked this very question in a Facebook group recently. And one mom proclaimed her mantra – love.
At the end of the day what is really needed most? Not stimulation, opportunity, educational programming, organic food, perfect discipline or Pinterest crafts.
It’s love. Soft, warm, tough, hard love.
Love covers a multitude of sins. That includes my own pride.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8