Good morning to the hottest moms, the most fabulous singles, and the strongest men in history. Thanks for being a part of my life. Today we are going to talk about Mom Guilt.
One day, when my kids were ankle-biter-age, my counselor asked me a poignant question. “Why are you trying to control your children?”
Good question, right? It’s one that we can all stop to consider. A major reason we moms like to control our kids is because, at our core, we don’t believe we are good enough moms. We unconsciously think, “Since I don’t feel good enough on the inside, I’m going to try to control everything on my outsides.” We have this nagging feeling that we just aren’t doing a good enough job as a mother.
Mom guilt waits like the creepy solicitor guy outside our door, trying to sell us magazines we don’t need. He doesn’t have a permit to be there, he is not selling anything of value, we didn’t invite him, but we give him the time of day anyway.
Mom Guilt convinces us that we need what it’s selling. How? By making us believe that we live in lack, that we need something else to make us complete, that we are not good enough unless we have or do _______.
Here is what Living in Lack looks like.
There’s not enough time.
There’s not enough money.
I don’t have enough energy.
I don’t have enough experience/education.
I’m not rich enough, pretty enough, smart enough or skinny enough.
I’m not enough.
And when it comes to our kids, we’ve got a List of Lack for them too:
Study enough, clean enough, practice enough, score enough, floss enough, deodorize their arm pits enough, or write their grandmas enough. For Pete’s Sake!
They are not…
Responsible enough, calm enough, polite enough, talkative enough, quiet enough, hard-working enough, disciplined enough, easy-going enough, WHATEVER-FILL-IN-THE-BLANK enough…..
Oh geez! And the “not enough” feelings really start knocking when we compare ourselves with other moms and our kids with other kids. We think in our heads, because we’d NEVER say it out loud, “Can’t you be more like…. Little-Miss-Perfect or Mr-Johnny-Football over there?” And why can’t I be like Michelle Pfeiffer (and why are there so many songs written about her, anyway?)
And when our anxiety goes up, our need to control goes up.
Any of these sound familiar? The answer to my counselor’s control question so long ago, had everything to do with my fears of not being a good enough mother, and not producing good enough kids.
When we find ourselves hell bent, high strung, and about to blow with our kids, chances are, the facade of control is cracking, and Mom Guilt is knocking.
But what if we shifted our paradigm from LIFE OF LACK to “IT’S GOOD ENOUGH, JACK!” What if we left the LAND of SCARCITY to live in the LAND of PLENTY? What if we spoke the LANGUAGE of REAL instead of LIP SYNCING to the IDEAL?
I have a hunch, that if we are able to accept ourselves just as we are and call it “good enough,” then our insatiable need to be better would be filled. If we stopped trying to be IDEAL moms, and became happy with the REAL moms that we are, then our dance party music would be turned up so loud that we wouldn’t even hear Mom Guilt knocking. If we focused on what we have instead of what we lack, we might find that we… have… enough.
If we focused on who were are instead of who we are not, then we might find that we… are…. Enough. Thank You Jesus. Enough!
And we are a good enough…
School Volunteer (Ok- I’ve gone too far. No one can EVER be a good-enough-school-volunteer!)
This Sunday, I was reminded of the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. If you want to hear the sermon, click here. It’s great. Long story less long, the Woman at the Well (Aka WATW) is the pinnacle of the NOT ENOUGH woman- history of bad relationships, socially ostracized, and culturally looked down on- she was NOT Michelle Pfeiffer.
Jesus approaches her and asks her for a drink of water. After WATW explains to him how “not enough” she is, he AGREES!! He lets her know He is well aware of her shortcomings. Then He tells WATW that she should be asking Him for water, because He’s got the good stuff. So she does. And she leaves the well feeling “good enough” because of the dignity and new life Jesus gave her.
Well, yeah. Duh.
God and us, at the proverbial well of life. Him asking us for some water (“Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me” is like Him saying, “hey, take care of these ankle-biters) and us telling Him how unqualified we are to actually fulfill the task. And Him saying, “yeah, I see what you mean,” and then Him turning the tables and telling us to ask Him for some water instead. And His water never runs out. And us asking for more of Him, and leaving satisfied. Full to overflowing. Having plenty. Being enough. Done.
So when I feel like I have to control things, and that I’ve fallen in the trap of comparing my goods to other people’s, and that I’m hell bent, high strung and overwhelmed with the perfectionistic expectations I’ve put on myself… I can drink.
Well, no, not that kind of drink. Well, maybe that kind of drink. I digress.
ANYWAY, I can go to God’s well and drink. I can swim in the spring. I can play in the fountain. I can go jump in the lake of sufficiency. I don’t have to thirst in the wilderness of scarcity anymore. Thank God. And when Mom Guilt knocks, I meet it at the door with a fire hose.
How about you? Has your paradigm of Lack affected your parenting? Have you felt less than the ideal? Has MOM GUILT knocked on your door lately?