Dealing with “Mom Guilt”

Woman dragging a giant heavy weight on chain, written Guilt on a ball. Cartoon vector flat-style concept illustration

Even the best of us fail sometimes. We can forget to doubly clad our families on cold days (Proverbs 31:21). We can exasperate our children (Colossians 3:21). We can snap at our children and fail to extend God’s grace to them after God has been so gracious to us (Matthew 18:21-35). However, the guilty feeling that usually follows these failings is not one to be suppressed or glossed over with the help of wine (like some cultural influencers might tell you).

See, rightly feeling guilty, like David after his affair with Bathsheba, is a helpful queue from your conscience (and the Holy Spirit) that you need to pause and repent of your sinful behavior—because even though we have often transgressed others in the process of sinning, ‘Against God— God alone — we have sinned.’ (4) For this reason, we need to be sensitive to feelings of guilt or shame.

“But you see, mommy guilt is different!” is what so many influencers contend. Mommy guilt is an irrational guilt–a needless, self-inflicted pain (not a potential sin issue). So, according to them, if you feel guilty about any of the following (or related behaviors in the mama genre), you should stop feeling concerned about the behavior and shake off your guilt:

  1. Feeding your baby formula
  2. Using screen time as a babysitter
  3. Being environmentally unfriendly
  4. Feeding your kids junk food
  5. Leaving your child with another caregiver
  6. Yelling at your kids
  7. Not being able to afford all the extras

(Source: “Top 7 mommy guilt trips and how to handle them” (BabyCenter))

I will let you use your Bible to determine which of these activities are sinful and truly deserving of guilt. However, whenever you feel guilty or ashamed, it is best to check your Bible (not a secular mommy blog) before you gloss over it and move on. ALL of our sins have to be dealt with the same way, the ONLY way–repentance after having placed our faith wholly in Jesus Christ.

Feel really guilty now? I’m (kinda) sorry! Fortunately, the Bible is here to help us all 🙂

After David recognized his sin, he fell on his face asking for grace.

Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. (v. 1-3)

See, in our sinful pride, we can think of ourselves as too good for grace or too far gone to receive grace. However, when we humble ourselves before God, then God can reconcile true believers to Himself.

Next, David acknowledged his sins (even the original sin into which he was born) and God’s rightness in sentencing him as guilty.

Against You — You alone — I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. (v. 4-5)

Lastly, David doesn’t dwell in his sin, but rather turns to God for the solution.

Surely You desire integrity in the inner self, and You teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing of Your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart. In Your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar. (v. 6-19)

After bringing God your “broken and humbled heart”(17), willfully allow Him to “purify you with hyssop” (7) (even if it stings) and to write His law upon it for you to follow it. Just like His Gospel, His law is good when we embrace it. Then go forth, with a ‘renewed steadfast spirit’ (10) and no longer walking in rebellion to God’s revealed will (The Bible). Revel in the ‘joy of God’s salvation’ and His generous grace!  Just as promised, God will fill your mouth once more with His praises and He will delight in your righteous offerings again 🙂

What are your thoughts/reactions? Share your feedback in the comments section below!