The Guilt Monster

Good morning, Mama. Did you know that there’s an invisible monster sitting next to you while you drink your morning joe? He’s called the Guilt Monster. He’s a first cousin of the control monster (we can talk about him later, he’s a bad dude). And we need to fight him.

So here’s what happened. Before baby, we were flitting through life, drinking our Happy Hour Sonic drinks at pools with our pals, having a good ole time. Saturdays were spent eating bagels and watching back-to-back episodes of fluff TV. Life was good. Life was carefree. We decorated with stuff we found at TJ Maxx and called it a day.

Then we got pregnant, and all of that guilt free business came to a screeching halt.

Suddenly the urge to be perfect in every possible way began to plague many of us. This is when the Guilt Monster makes his move.guilt monster

I asked my friends, what they’ve felt guilty about this week, and here are some of their answers:

  • A toddler out of control at Target.
  • Losing your temper at your out of control toddler at Target.
  • Being a stay at home mom (feeling lazy/not productive).
  • Being a go to work mom/sending your child to daycare.
  • Feeling frustration toward one child over another child (feeling favoritism).
  • Spanking/not spanking.
  • Wanting alone time/needing a break.
  • Not being able to breastfeed/giving formula/diminished milk supply.
  • Having a new baby and not as much time with the old baby.
  • Bumping the current baby’s head into the hallway door.
  • Going through the drive-through for Chick Fil A 1 or 2+ times in one week.
  • Not having the perfect nursery.
  • Not losing your baby weight immediately/indulging in fast food/comfort eating at the end of the day.
  • Being jealous that your husband gets to go to work and you have to stay home.
  • Noticing your kid who you thought was next to you at a store…is not next to you, but actually wandering around aimlessly looking for soda that they aren’t allowed to have anyway.
  • Letting your kids play independently/using a play pen/having room time.
  • Not always enjoying motherhood.
  • Missing your freedom.
  • Missing your husband’s help more than him, when he’s gone.

How many can you identify with? This week? Today?

Mommy guilt seems to be a part of our psyche. But why and to what end?

Here’s a little quiz I have compiled. Just answer in your head…

I have felt guilty this week for:

I can go back and change the past. Yes or No

Dwelling on this guilt makes me feel better. Yes or No.

Feeling guilty helps me be a better mom. Yes or No. If yes, explain.

For a long time I’ve thought that there is a difference between guilt and conviction, and as moms we HAVE to understand that difference.

According to Webster:

Guilt: a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.

Conviction:a strong belief or opinion, the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true.

If we examine our guilt, I think we will find that much of it is born out of preconceived notions about what we THINK or DEEM are bad or wrong. Conviction, on the other hand is a knowledge of truth.

Guilt is a dead end street. Conviction usually leads to action or a change of behavior.

Guilt tells us you’re a bad mom because your baby’s nursery isn’t a pinterest perfect dream haven. 

Conviction says I would like for my baby’s nursery to be a perfect pinterest dream haven, but life will not fall apart if it isn’t. My worth is not wrapped up in a nursery OR Stop watching Housewives, and go do the nursery.

Guilt says you shouldn’t be jealous of your husband’s career or miss your own. You are an ungrateful jerk-face. Feel LUCKY you GET to stay home. 

Conviction says It’s ok to feel your feelings. It’s ok to miss adult interaction and work related praise. It’s ok to grieve. Now go find some mom friends to enjoy this season of slow with.

Guilt says You never should have yelled at your 2 year old. You have ruined them forever and they will probably 100% become a heroine addict.

Conviction reminds us We ALL mess up. Learn from it, grow from it. Teach your child what repentance looks like. You can do this, mama. There is grace.

In my life, the difference between guilt and conviction can be seen in the outcome.

Guilt condemns.

Conviction empowers.

Guilt diminishes self worth.

Conviction enables it.

In many ways, guilt has become an unconscious way of life. Think how much more positively conviction could work in our favor, if we chose it consciously OVER guilt. Additionally, think how conviction can pull us together.

When I posed the guilt question to my girl friends on a private Facebook page, a beautiful thing happened-encouragement, conversation, love, and grace. Guilt isolates, but conviction pulls us together.

It takes a Village not just for a child to be raised, but for a life to be lived. Mommies, let’s lean in on eachtother, let’s tackle the guilt monster together. I think we can take him!

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