Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

A lot of discussion percolates around mom guilt, and why moms just need to let it go. In most cases, this is completely true. In fact, I am the mom who can make most moms feel better about this type of guilt because I guarantee my house is dirtier and less organized than yours, my cooking scarce or bland and crispy, and I don’t even have a Pinterest account so my children’s birthday parties (if they are given) are near shameful in presentation.

Want to know a secret? I actually don’t feel that guilty about these potential shortcomings.

But there is another type of mom guilt that weighs me down immensely and stings my face with tears at night as I face the painful feeling that I was not good enough for my children that day. And the very hard truth, for me at least, is some days I really am not the mom my children deserve. Sometimes I can do better.

Because . . . 

Sometimes I act my children’s age and throw a tantrum right along with them.

Sometimes I let my impatience overtake me as I bark orders and snap at them.

Sometimes I let myself get angry and yell.

Sometimes I ignore them when they want a cuddle because I am too busy on my stupid phone.

Sometimes I drive too fast with them in the car because I am worried about being late to school.

Sometimes I write a blog only to look up and find my son doing something incredibly unsafe.

Sometimes I think more about myself than my children when they are sick and how it will affect my day.

Sometimes I really am not good enough for my kids. These are the times I SHOULD feel guilty for my behavior because I am behaving less than. I encourage my kids to feel all ranges of emotions, including guilt. My daughter often escalates and immediately retreats to “I’m sorry.” Likewise, when I am not the mom they deserve, I am truly so sorry and always tell them. As parents we must show the same humility to ourselves as we expect from our children. You see, real guilt is not a useless emotion. It is a rather important one in fact, and one that we must sit with and chew on for awhile. For, we can only experience raw growth when we allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable and exposed long enough to change.

Maybe you feel working mom guilt because you can’t be in two places at the same time, or maybe you feel stay at home mom guilt because you aspire to give more financial resources. Maybe your packed lunches are sloshed together with preservatives (gasp!), or you forgot your child’s school snack. Maybe you gave yourself respite instead of laundry duty. Maybe your child isn’t reading yet, and you are convinced it is because you only read two books, not ten, to him a day when he was still a baby. And maybe you feel guilty for these imperfections.

All that stuff? Let all that stuff go. Because that’s the stuff that you have nothing to be sorry for, and could potentially be concealing our true transgressions against our children.

So about that other stuff?

When we aren’t present like we know we should be, when we can be . . . 

When we let our tempers win . . . 

When we forget to use our kind words . . . 

When we become complacent . . . 

When we aren’t acting in loving ways towards our children . . . 

Let that stuff stick around, uncomfortable as it may be because that’s the gummy guilt you may need to chew on for a bit. You can understand why you acted the way you did, but it doesn’t make it right either. Just like when our children act out, we can see they are not mean hearted, but rather acting out an emotion from a depleted state.

We often say in our house, “You may feel angry, sad, tired, (fill in the blank). But it is still not OK to intentionally hurt another person with your words or actions.” I am convinced I should be held to AT LEAST the same standard I hold my children to, and even when acting out in a depleted state, though entirely understandable, it does not excuse my bad behavior as a mother.

So what do we do next? We chew on it, and then we spit it out. Because we are all a little broken regardless how we prefer to present to the world, and tomorrow is a new day. Grant yourself and others grace. Use yourself and your own shortcomings as teachable moments. They NEED to know that the best thing they can do with their own imperfections that cause pain to others, is to feel that guilt, then let forgiveness flow fluidly in and out.

So feel that guilt long enough to grow. There is nothing wrong with you. It is normal and human, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to do better when it comes to the REAL infractions of motherhood.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Krista Hager

A loving hotmess mom solely responsible for no less than one million motherhood blunders a week. Work from home writer in my "spare" time. Mother to two tiny and spicy tots, ages two and three, and one new furbaby-just as spicy and just as tiny. Wife to the most patient human on earth. 

Why Is It So Hard To Admit Our Own Postpartum Struggles?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn close up

I recently attended physical therapy in an attempt to put my parts back together after having my second child. My physical therapist was also a young mom so we began talking about the various stages our children have passed through. At one point, she asked me if I had experienced any postpartum depression or anxiety. Without hesitation, I said no and then quickly backtracked and said, “Well, some difficult thoughts so yeah, I guess that would be postpartum anxiety.” After fumbling through my explanation, I immediately felt slightly ashamed for dismissing the notion so quickly and also a sudden urge...

Keep Reading

There’s No Such Thing As a Good or Bad Body

In: Living, Motherhood
Little girl sticking her tongue out with her brother and parents, color photo

Maybe it was the ’80s or just my situation, but growing up, I noticed a lot of body talk among adults. Mostly by the women, but sometimes by the men.  My gorgeous grandma always dressed up and was always on a diet. I remember a babysitter who was supermodel gorgeous not eating this or that because she didn’t want to get “fat.” Once, during my freshman year of college, my grandpa commented that I “had gained some weight.” As an adult, a compliment I often heard if my weight fluctuated slightly was, “You look great, you’re so thin.”  Or the...

Keep Reading

There’s So Much I Didn’t Know About Having a Daughter

In: Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

I started my motherhood journey as a boy mom. I knew the names of all the construction trucks, I could build a LEGO set in record time, and nothing said about a penis could ever shock me. I could play in the dirt, tie on a Superman cape, and have a lightsaber fight all before naptime. But when I was expecting again, I saw that sweet little face on the ultrasound, and I knew—even before the ultrasound tech made the announcement—that my days as solely a boy mom were about to come to an end. I was so excited to...

Keep Reading

Exclusively Pumping Makes You One Strong Mother

In: Motherhood
Breast pump with bottles, black-and-white photo

Dear exclusively pumping mama,  Oh, how I see you, sweet mama. (I’ve been you—twice now, as a matter of fact.)  I see you frustrated with your body and feeling like it’s failed you because you’re not able to nurse your baby. Maybe your baby is in the NICU and you feel robbed of this experience. Or maybe, due to other circumstances, you haven’t been able to make it work.  RELATED: I Exclusively Pumped for a Year—And My Baby and I Thrived I see you tirelessly getting up before the baby does in the middle of the night so you can...

Keep Reading

Yes, We Wanted a Big Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Big family silhouette

Baby number WHAT?!?! Okay, okay, I know having FIVE children in the modern world is a bit of an anomaly, but the responses we have gotten from sharing our joyful (to us!) news has been a bit over-the-top. You see, my husband and I always dreamt of a big family, verbally expressing four to five children as our ultimate number. After having three, I must say I had to do some convincing to keep going, as my husband felt our hands were pretty full. I do agree our hands were pretty full, but I still felt our hearts could handle...

Keep Reading

The Quiet Work You’re Doing Matters, Mama

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two girls playing on bed

Mid-morning light spills through the kitchen window as I stand at the sink washing dishes.  “Mom, Caleb just punched me!” 3-year-old Aiden calls from the living room. “He took the remote right out of my hands!” Caleb contends. “I saw the whole thing happen,” their big sister interjects. “It was totally Caleb’s fault.  He started the whole thing.” “Mind your own business!” Caleb barks as he charges toward his sister with his fist in the air. It takes every ounce of restraint I can muster, but I manage not to get sucked into the yelling match happening in front of...

Keep Reading

How Much Longer Will I Watch Them Play?

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Two boys at indoor playground, color photo

As I sit here watching my two boys running around on the bright-colored foam mats, sliding down the bright red and green slides that end up in a ball pit full of giggles, I can’t help but wonder how much longer I will enjoy this sight. They’re both growing up so fast—T-shirts with their favorite characters have been replaced by plain colors.  Curtains with Paw Patrol now invite an “Eww, cringe!” reaction. Slowly their boy bedroom decor has been updated to reflect the cool gamers they so want to be. RELATED: He’s a Boy For Just a Little While Longer No...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Belong In the Baby Section Anymore

In: Motherhood

I don’t belong here anymore. The thought crept into my mind today as I stood in the baby section. I was there to grab a gift for an expecting friend, but as I looked around at the old familiar shelves, I was hit with a wave of emotion.  Because it’s true—I don’t belong here anymore. There was a time when this aisle was my most frequented on trips to Target. As a pregnant twentysomething with a growing belly, I would hold up outfit after outfit and wonder what our baby would look like. Who would he or she be? As...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Raising My Child’s Future Spouse

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy lying on car seat with puppy, color photo

Oh, hey there friend, you don’t know me yet or maybe you do, but at least for now neither of us know that our children will one day commit their lives to each other and by doing so forever knit our families together. One day, we will all sit in the front aisles of a church filled with scores of people who have influenced our babies, but none like us. No one else in that church will know the intentionality, love, and grace of God that it took to reach that day, but we will. The work you are doing...

Keep Reading

Loving Mom (Thanks, Amazon)

In: Grief, Living, Motherhood
Woman and mother smiling, color photo

I was online, searching old Amazon orders for a part we’d bought for our 1998 Buick Regal. The car was Mom’s. She’d given it up at 86 after I said her grandsons would be grateful to use it. She’d laughed with delight as Gabe, newly licensed, pulled away from her place in her Buick, heading home to California. It was a good car, but the original parts were wearing out. That’s why I scrolled through my orders, to see which window pulley assembly we’d purchased last time. As I scrolled, I was struck by all the gifts I’d ordered for...

Keep Reading