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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mommy Guilt...or Not

I hear about this concept of Mommy guilt.  Here's a guilty confession for you:  I rarely - and I mean very RARELY ever feel guilt.  Now that I have alienated my audience thoroughly, let me clarify.

When I feel guilt - a healthy, 'I should do better, be better, change in this area...' type of guilt - I feel great joy and hope abounds in my soul.  I thank the Lord that I am alive and well and that there is some sense within me of a common bond with all mankind.  It happens so rarely that I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't feel more of it.  But I so very much want any guilt I feel to be rooted in a true sense of God's ideal for me as His child.  Don't get me wrong - there is probably so much more guilt I should feel (relatives: no need to chime in here with all the things you'd like me to feel guilty for!)  I just rejoice when God reveals to me clearly how He wants me to change and gives me hope and courage to take steps in the right direction.

So I hear about Mommy guilt and I think, 'Oh no, I won't take that on!'  Unless the voice of God's Holy Spirit whispers, full of grace and truth, 'You should sense some guilt and seek to change in this area...' then I am not about to take the bait.  Guilt is just a waste of time, unless it is Spirit-driven.  I'm sure God wants us to feel guilt when we sin.  And that should drive us all the more to Him to seek His grace and mercy to help in our time of need.  But Mommy-guilt?

Usually Mommy-guilt is laden with fear, worry and comparing.  None of these are things Scripture seems to condone for us as a moral compass.  Usually it is a waste of time and energy because (and hear me now!)

BECAUSE...

IT DISTRACTS US FROM OUR TRUE CALLING.

If I can spend hours, moments, and emotional energies worrying if I gave my kid enough organic baby-food or saved the planet from too many synthetic materials, or fear for my child's safety because of the mysterious microscopic elements trace-laden in our foods, or compare my child's progress endlessly to the Tiger-Mom's super-kid who is a piano virtuoso by the age of 3, I can while away my days accomplishing nothing more than engendering a snobby, 'I-have-the-world-handed-to-me', fear/worry laden attitude in my child.  Does my child hear me say, 'If only...' or 'I hope we don't get cancer from that...' or 'So-and-so has the new organic non-plastic, non-hazardous toothbrush - maybe we should get one?'?  Now, am I beginning to impose Mommy-guilt here?!  NO!!! Nooooooooooooo.....


God gave your children to you and in His wisdom He wants you to nurture and raise them according to His wisdom and truth.  This will look different because He uniquely created you with your personality and style and amazingly, kids seem to do okay with a great variety of parenting styles.  Kids who eat non-organic tend to do fine!  (The vast majority of the world's kids do!)  Kids who skip the music lessons still have soul, gift, and beautiful personhood to contribute to the world!

My style just happens to be a no-guilt style.  I cherish guilt.  The right kind.  I easily and quickly discard lame, others-inspired, comparison, imposed guilt.

Now, that said, you're welcome to hang onto your Mommy-guilt if it really makes you feel better.  I just have enough to do with the day-to-day than to take on an added burden of worry and fear.  Be my guest in that department.  Just don't invite me to join your party.



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