Hello mama friends and beautiful readers! I want to spend today concluding my series on mom guilt. It’s the day after Easter, and many of us celebrated the risen Savior yesterday with our church families. Today I share a little of why I think Satan wants to keep us in a cycle of mom guilt. Let’s get started!
You want the best for your child, and you likely do your research and make decisions after careful thought. You may request advice from family and friends and take that to heart before you choose a path. Mama, you are doing just fine. I hope you know that your love and care for your child is more important than making all the right and perfect decisions.
My prayer is that you don’t let mom guilt get you down. When something goes wrong, try to take it in stride, and when you hear that voice that wants to condemn you, remember who’s talking. God doesn’t condemn you. He gives you strength, peace, and comfort to get through the struggles.
When you hear the voice condemning you for your decisions, you need to know that’s Satan. If there’s anything he wants, it’s to tear you down, make you question yourself, and get you stuck in a cycle of questionable decisions and guilt trips. He wants you to believe the worst in yourself because when you stay in a guilt trip cycle, your focus is solely on you. You aren’t focused on your child. You spend your time thinking about yourself, and it distracts you from your relationship with God, too.
But why does Satan really want us locked into a cycle of mom guilt? I believe it’s because his aim is to destroy the family. He uses the mom guilt cycle to break down mothers so that we become crippled with fear, self-condemnation, and unnecessary guilt.
What Does The Mom Guilt Cycle Look Like?
You face a problem and make a decision.
Like any other day, you start off making decisions for you and your child(ren). That might be deciding something as simple as what your schedule for the day is or as serious as deciding whether or not to go forward with a medical procedure for your child’s health. We make thousands of decisions daily, so it should come as no surprise that mom guilt starts with a decision.
You or others second-guess your decision.
You might consult with your mom, your best friend, or even your social media friends on the decision you had to make. If people you care about second guess your decision, you might feel pressure about the outcome. When you put your decision on social media and open yourself to others’ opinions, you can really feel the heat of opinions from people who don’t even know you! Even without consulting others, you might still question your own decisions because you already lack confidence in yourself. I promise you, mama, you are not alone in this. I have done this a thousand times, and my son is only ten months old!
You determine the decision might not be the right one.
You choose a way to go. You head that direction, but just like being in rush hour traffic, you find yourself stuck in something that you didn’t plan. Maybe you didn’t put yourself into a position to have trouble, but trouble found you anyway. Whatever happened, whether through conscious choice or unfortunate circumstance, you now find yourself struggling with the decision that you made.
You condemn yourself when something goes wrong.
I’ll be honest, I’ve condemned myself even when nothing has gone wrong. Simply having others tell me the many, myriad ways my parenting decisions are all wrong can sometimes be enough to send me on a tailspin of guilt and fear. If you’re like me, you put so much stock in others’ opinions that you might not even give yourself the credit of being able to make a decision without having to consult someone else first. (I realize that’s a bit extreme, but I know I was there not long ago when my son was sick.)
You might only feel guilt if your child has a problem that you can link back to your own decision making. Either way, the guilt comes on strong. You call yourself all kinds of horrible names and put your head down when people talk to you about your child.
Then you have a new decision to make.
It starts all over again. This time you feel less confident because you know you’ve already failed before. You let the voice of fear and condemnation run rampant in your mind and wonder if you are qualified to make choices for your child.
Mama, let me tell you something: you are qualified to make parenting decisions. By virtue of being a mother, you qualify yourself to make decisions for your child.
I realize not everyone will agree with that last statement. That’s fine. But if you are reading this, you likely are similar to me: just a mom who wants to live freely and parent wisely. I think that qualifies you to make decisions for your child without second guessing yourself.
So how do you do that? How do you stop the cycle of guilt that seems so quick to grab hold? I think this is hard because it’s a little bit of an individualized process.
How Do You Stop The Mom Guilt Cycle?
First, I think we all need to recognize that Satan wants to guilt trip us about our decisions as parents. This is true for dads as well as moms, and he wants us to question ourselves every time we are faced with a choice. Why? Because it puts the focus on us rather than on God. We spend our time talking to ourselves and focusing on what we did last time, how it turned out, what kind of parent we are, and whether we have what it takes to be a parent.
Satan will always find a way to condemn us. Period. As long as we are trying to live for Jesus, Satan wants to condemn us. You need to remember this because he will come at you again and again. You may not find complete freedom from his attacks, but you can take some steps to move forward and claim victories.
What Are Some Practical Steps You Can Take?
Be in the Word. I don’t care if you have to leave your Bible in the bathroom to get a few minutes in Scripture, you need this. You need to be renewed by studying Scripture. This should be a priority, period. I know it’s hard, and I know you’re tired, but you must make time for the Word of God in your life or you’ll be an easy target.
Pray. I struggle with this so much. Paul reminds Christians to pray continuously, unceasingly, always. His letters to all the churches are littered with the encouragement to just pray. When we pray, we open up communication with God and allow the Holy Spirit to communicate our hearts to Him. But we also open ourselves to allow truth into our hearts when we pray, and I think that’s a huge part of breaking the guilt cycle.
Surround yourself with positive influences. I think as moms we can easily become isolated regardless of whether we work or stay home. What we need to do is surround ourselves with people and resources that move us toward God instead of steering us away from Him. You can do this by getting involved in your local church, attending a small group of fellow believers, joining Christian groups both online and in person, and reading books and blogs by believers who speak truth.
Remove yourself from negative influences. I struggled with this one for a while. Sometimes it’s legitimately difficult to get out of a negative situation. You might be around family that tend to bring your down, question your choices, and disagree with your parenting. That can be difficult, and you might not be able to remove yourself from that kind of situation. However, you might find ways to limit your exposure.
Get off of social media. I don’t mean you need to stop going to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. What I mean is you should seriously consider whether you are influenced by people and groups you’re a part of online. I know I am, and I found myself doubting decisions constantly when I went to certain groups with my questions. Peer groups are wonderful and can be so helpful. However when you get caught up in negative conversations that offer less advice and more judgment, you can get sucked into a guilt trip fast. You don’t have to leave or unfollow groups and people, but consider limiting your interactions with those groups and people online. I tend to follow conversations on some groups I’m in but make it a point not to comment unless there’s no fighting and judging already going on. This approach really freed me from the doubt and questioning I was doing and let me breathe a little.
Remember that you do not have to give strangers on the internet, friends, or family the power to condemn you. Only God has the power to judge, and you are already free!
So, mama, you can break the cycle of guilt trips. Recognize the voice of condemnation for whose it is. Take the time to pray about what you’re experiencing and whether you truly need to repent for anything. And if you come away from your time alone with God and know you haven’t sinned in a decision you’ve made, then tell the Liar to leave you alone.
Speak Truth Over Your Family
These are powerful words, but they need to be spoken over our lives, my friend. We must cast Satan out of our minds when he tries to distract us from our relationship with God. If you remember, Ephesians talks about clothing ourselves for battle. I firmly believe that the family is one of the biggest battlefields today. Mom guilt is one of Satan’s tactics to keep us focused on self rather than fighting for the integrity of the home.
I hear the term “speak truth over” or “speak life over” things. I recently read a book that focused on business building. One of the writer’s big points was to “speak life over your business.” She mentioned that we can speak life or death over our businesses. This applies to our home life as well.
Hear me when I say that I need to be doing this myself. I know I need to be speaking life and truth over my family and over myself. As a wife and mother, my responsibility is to speak truth and life into my family because Jesus has given me life. I want to speak abundant life into my husband, my son, and myself. Rather than letting my mom guilt speak death and lies over me and my family, I need to recognize the lies for what they are, remove them from my heart and vocabulary, and speak the truth instead.
Can you relate to this? How do you speak life and truth into your family? Let me know in the comments. I’m interested to know if this resonates with you and you feel the same challenge in it that I do.