Today’s guest blogger is mother-of-two Samantha Freestone, who writes an honest story of an attack of the “mum guilts”. And what she does to stop feeling guilty.
Samantha finds mum guilt a never-ending battle. But she has learnt some great strategies to combat those sinking feelings. In today’s post, she explains how to get your head around those “Oh no!” moments.
Samantha runs Some Answers, an Australian Christian podcast where she encourages Christians to talk about their everyday life, their struggles and their faith.
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What to do to Banish Mum Guilt
I had just finished recording a podcast interview. Usually when I record these, I turn my phone on to aeroplane mode. I had been uncontactable for over an hour. When I finally switched my phone off aeroplane mode, it lit up like a Christmas tree. I had missed several calls, texts and emails.
My daughter had broken her arm at preschool and needed to go to the hospital to have surgery. My husband, who was at a conference, had just finished a session on “de-stressing” where they encouraged everyone attending to turn off their phones. So the school were unable to contact him as well.
Our daughter had to ride in an ambulance without us and had to wait at hospital with our emergency contacts, while we frantically made our way to the hospital.
As I was driving to the hospital, tears flowed down my face. Here I was recording a podcast, which doesn’t provide or help our family in any way, and my only daughter had broken her arm and I was uncontactable?! A dark wave came over me, it was mum guilt.
Parental guilt tugs at your core self-beliefs
Who here hasn’t struggled with mum guilt, or even dad guilt? (Yes, my husband says that he struggles with dad guilt often).
“Am I doing enough?”
“I should be doing this.”
“I’m not enough.”
If you are feeling guilty, these are just some of the phrases that might go through your head on a daily basis. Over time though, I’ve learnt little ways to combat, or perhaps tame, parental guilt a little.
4 Strategies to End Mum Guilt
1. To End Mum Guilt: Tell yourself “Truths”
In our family dynamic, I have to work part-time as my husband works part-time in ministry. I remember once, picking my child up at after school care after a long day at work, looking at his tired face and feeling that wave of guilt wash over me. Yet over time, I knew our family HAD to make this decision [for me to work] for the betterment of our children.
Yes, I could have stopped working, but then we would be in an even more stressful situation because we would not have managed to pay the bills. I was not neglecting my child but providing for my child’s needs by working part-time.
I must remind myself of this whenever the mum guilt washes over me.
Arm yourself with “truths”, so that when parental guilt rears its ugly head, you can battle it with what you know is true.
2. To End Mum Guilt: Stop comparing yourself to others
Social media is both a wonderful, and an awful tool. I remember looking at what other parents are doing with their children on Instagram and realizing that I wasn’t. I was feeling so guilty!
What I’ve come to realize is that I have my own capacities and limitations. And that’s okay. Am I mum who is going to set up my two-year-old with paints? Probably not, because I hate the stress and clean up and that’s okay. So I stop feeling guilty by doing other things with my kids I know I can do. And I don’t beat myself up because I don’t make “Playschool” crafts.
I also remind myself that Instagram only shows the highlights and rarely shows the realities of placing a paintbrush in the hands of an enthusiastic two-year-old.
Comparisons do not help you with your own daily reality.
3. To End Mum Guilt: Recall God’s words about you:
Years ago, I read “Victory Over the Darkness: Realise the Power of Your Identity in Christ” by Neil T Anderson.
In it, there’s a helpful section which I believe helps with parental guilt and affirms how God sees you.
WHO I AM IN CHRIST
I Am Accepted:
- I am God’s child. (John 1:12)
- I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:15)
- I have been justified. (Romans 5:1)
- I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
- I have been bought with a price. I belong to God. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
- I am a member of Christ’s Body. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
- I am a saint. (Ephesians 1:1)
- I have been adopted as God’s child. (Ephesians 1:5)
- I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
- I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. (Colossians 1:14)
- I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
I am Secure:
- I am free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1, 2)
- I am assured that all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)
- I am free from any condemning charges against me. (Romans 8:31-34)
- I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39)
- I have been established, anointed and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22)
- I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
- I am hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
- I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- I can find grace and mercy in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
- I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18)
I Am Significant
- Stop feeling guilty! You are God’s workmanship Ephesians 2:10
- I am the salt and light of the earth. (Mathew 5:13, 14)
- I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life. (John 15:1, 5)
- I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
- I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
- I am God’s temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- I am a minister of reconciliation for God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
- I am God’s co-worker (2 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 3:9).
- I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6)
- I am God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
- I may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
4. To End Mum Guilt: Be kind to yourself
None of us are experts, and all of us are flawed individuals. Keep working toward being a healthy and good parent. But when you fail and start feeling guilty, allow yourself some grace to know you’re on a journey and are still learning.
Say sorry when you need to say sorry, take responsibility when you need to take responsibility.
So what do you do to stave off an attack of the “mum guilts”? Care to share?