“My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (TPT )
Overcoming Mommy Guilt
We live in the digital age of information overload, which has brought with it a sweeping epidemic of overwhelmed millennial mamas—myself included. It’s nothing new that when a woman gets pregnant, she receives a lot of advice. This truth has been magnified for the first generation of mothers to be connected by the internet. A whole world of “commenters” can now chime in on the often already opposing opinions of parents and peers on the virtues of motherhood. It’s scary as a first-time mom to think that motherhood is such a moving target; how will we ever know if we’re doing it right?
So we try and do it all. Sayings like, “This mama runs on coffee and wine,” or “Don’t talk to me, I’m potty training,” are memes commonly found on social media and graphic T’s sold at Target or Etsy. While these shirts are hilarious (and I want one), I believe they expose a broader issue: we as mothers need support more than instruction, and an injection of grace.
As strong women determined to do what it takes to be the best moms for our kids, it’s easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism. We burn the candle at both ends trying to do it all, losing our individualized identity and sleep, and inevitably we burn out. So, what’s the answer?
Jesus. The answer is always Jesus.
The good news of the Gospel is that it offers the grace injection we need to relieve the pressure to perform as mothers. Our key verse today shows that Jesus takes it one step further, saying that we need to embrace our weaknesses. What a perspective shift!
I want to share with you how that truth moved from my head to my heart. After 18 months of spending every waking moment trying to preserve my firstborn daughter from any form of toxin, non-organic food, interrupted sleep, or emotional discomfort, a horrible thing happened: she burned her hand on our fireplace cover. I was a mess, and I couldn’t forgive myself for not running fast enough to grab her before she severely burned her hands. How could I let this happen? As her mother, I was supposed to meet her every need and protect her from any harm.
God spoke to my heart through 1 John 3:20, “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” He was not condemning my error. He also reminded me that, during premarital counseling, I had learned that my husband and I were not created to meet each other’s every need, because some needs would only be able to be met by God. Likewise, I realized that I was not created to meet all of my child’s needs, but that there needed to be room for her to need Jesus.
I pulled my sweet bandaged baby close and whispered to her, “Mama loves you, but she will make mistakes and let you down, and as much as she will try not to, but God is always here for you, and He will never let you down.” She couldn’t understand me, but speaking that over her lifted the heavy weight of perfectionism off my shoulders. God showed me that my shortcomings were an opportunity for me to model dependency on Christ, not a cause for self-condemnation.
We aren’t meant to be perfect for our kids, but rather to point them toward a perfect God who is willing and able to give them all the desires of their heart.
Our relationship with Jesus gives us the power to say NO to shame, and YES to the abundant life He promised in the book of John 10:10b, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I pray this helps you feel empowered to fully live.
Blessings and Love,
Did this devotional resonate with your heart? How? What do you feel the Holy Spirit speaking to you in response to what you just read?
Look at your calendar, and prioritize some time alone. As busy moms, it won’t happen if we don’t plan it ahead of time!
This may expose some mommy-guilt, but press on—you cannot overcome shame without grace, and the giver of grace is Jesus himself. I pray that as you steal away for some time with Him, that you will be filled with the fullness of his UNCONDITIONAL love for you.