Combatting “Mom Guilt”

It happened. Jude had his first big “owie.” He’s semi-mobile now, so he rolls himself around. I made the foolish mistake of setting him on the ottoman in his room for 30 seconds while I hung up some clothes in his closet. And then I heard it. THUD. And I knew exactly what had happened before I even turned around, before the crying even began. I had unintentionally caused my child to tumble to the ground by setting him up on the ottoman, knowing darn well that he can roll over and could easily roll right off.

Panic rippled through by entire body as I nearly teleported myself over to him. I swept him off the floor and held him tight, trying to calm him down and somehow ease his pain. As a Mother, there are few things worse than seeing your child in pain, especially pain that was essentially your fault. Thankfully after about a minute, he stopped crying and seemed to be OK. I texted my husband, calling myself the “worst Mom ever” and asking him if he thought Jude would be ok. Being the amazing husband he is, he was able to help me ease my worries and assure me that Jude was going going to be just fine. He assured me that I was an awesome Mom and had no need to worry.

But of course, my thoughts had already gone to the worst case scenario. In my head, he was now going to have permanent brain damage from hitting his head on the ground. It would forever affect his ability to succeed in school and make friends. He’d be the kid that got made fun of. His entire life would be affected by this rookie Mom mistake. All my fault.

I often have these thoughts. You know, the “mom guilt” thoughts. I find myself overly obsessed with how I am doing as a parent. I don’t want to negatively affect Jude in any way during his childhood. I don’t want him to have any sort of “childhood trauma” that he will someday have to sit in a therapists office and talk about. The truth is, I don’t want him to have any problems. Zero. I want his life to be peaches and cream, a walk in the park, free from any sort of struggle.

But the truth of the matter is, he is going to have issues. I’m going to make mistakes as a Mom and he may sometimes have to pay the price for that. And he’s going to make mistakes, too (hello, teenage years).

If we’re constantly criticizing and critiquing ourselves and focusing on our short comings, we’re hindering our ability to be good parents. Every child that has ever been born was sent to earth by God himself. He trusts us completely to raise His most precious and innocent children. He knows we mess up, a lot. He knows we will never be perfect on this earth, and He knows the risks that come along with trusting us to be parents. That’s why He sent His own son, Jesus Christ, to earth. He gave us the atonement, so even though we are merely humans and make endless mistakes, everything will be ok. In fact, it will be more than ok. Everything will be perfect one day thanks to the great sacrifice made by our sweet brother, Jesus.

The atonement was made for us parents. It’s not just for the alcoholic who can’t stop drinking, for the beggar who can’t stop doing drugs, the felon who can’t seem to turn his life around. It’s also for the everyday parent who can never seem to get things just right. The parent who tries and tries and tries, but still manages to make endless “mom mistakes” and feel that endless “mom guilt.” 

So, Mama (or Dada), if you find yourself tormented by your shortcomings, thwarted by your inability to be the perfect parent, please find time to utilize the atonement of Jesus Christ! It exists for you. There was a moment, as Christ suffered in Gethsemane, that He felt all of your struggles and guilt. He suffered there, just for YOU. So wouldn’t it be silly for you to not utilize that amazing tool?! And always remember, God trusts you completely to raise His children. The birth of a child is not a mere coincidence; it’s the literal act of God sending you the little human you were always meant to raise, the child who WANTED to join your family despite knowing you would never be perfect.

More owie’s are definitely going to happen, and I will definitely continue to make mistakes daily. And maybe that mom guilt will never fully go away while I’m on this earth. But Jude, I promise to always keep TRYING and ENDURING. I promise to utilize the atonement daily, so I can be molded into the perfect Mama for YOU.

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