So we are at the beginning of another week of school and we moms have begun to beat ourselves up for all we did and didn’t do or feel these past few days. Mom Guilt has raised its ugly head and we are claiming it ours!! Maybe you cried when the bus came or when you dropped off your child to their first day of pre-school or kindergarten. Maybe you sat in your car and wiped the tears as you dropped your child off to high school. Or even better, your child has gone off to college and you cried all the way home.
Mom Guilt. Who invented all this guilt anyway??
- I have heard so many moms talking about how hard it is going to be to let their child go off to school. How they feel like a limb is being ripped from their bodies. They worry about what will happen when the child is out of sight and out of their immediate care and influence.
- I have listened to working moms talk about the guilt they feel because they are missing out on all the moments of their child’s life; and yes, school is robbing them of those ever so precious moments they have with them.
- Then there are the moms who feel bad because they couldn’t send their child off in a new set of clothes—or if they were new, they were just low-end retail clothes, nothing fancy. On the other end of the spectrum are the moms who can afford the designer jeans or special brands and they wonder if they aren’t spoiling their child.
- We think about when we were young and we played outside with our friends or rode our bikes around and our parents watched from afar. We worry that they are too sheltered now or will grow overweight while they sit watching the TV.
- We enroll them in extracurricular activities because we want them to be active. We want them to be a part of a team and to make new friends. And we want them to succeed and when they fail, we are sure we have done something wrong and we should be doing something more to help them succeed.
Mom Guilt is going to kill us.
The simple reality is that we are living in different times. Mothers do work. Many mothers are single mothers trying to juggle job(s) and family life. And we are bombarded on social media and TV about the trials of parenthood and the growing lists and articles about all the right things we can do to ensure a great future for our children. I think it is fair to say that never before have mothers been more stressed out about their child’s welfare than we are in today’s society of threats and real or imagined lurking danger.
Some things haven’t changed though. We still love our kids. We still want the best for our kids. We still would lay down our lives for our kids. We are still responsible for setting a strong healthy and spiritual foundation for our children. We are still responsible for teaching them about right and wrong behavior and that little thing called manners. We are still, according to Proverbs 22, responsible for teaching them the right path to follow and for encouraging them to grow into responsible thriving adults.
- Our children are meant to go off to school. It is a great thing to prepare them for the adventure they will call their life. We are, after all, raising adults here. The first step on their journey is to walk out of the home and into the world we call school. We are meant to celebrate this milestone and to feel the utmost of joy that this baby we birthed is now ready to grow into their own person.
- We are to be doing what we need to be doing. If that doing is outside the home, for whatever reason, we are to be doing just that. We need to trust that the decisions we make as women to be accomplished and healthy, will transfer to our children. If they can see the joy in you about working and purposeful living, they will most likely want to emulate that for themselves.
- We are to encourage new friendships and to lend a shoulder when those friendships falter. We are to encourage them to try new things, to stick it out, and to move on if that wasn’t the right activity for them. We are to let them fail so that they will learn to pick themselves up and improve.
- We are to parent our children into adults who love life and believe that God has a plan for them. We are to teach them love and joy by loving them and celebrating their milestones.
So my dear guilt-ridden mom, enjoy the new adventure the school year brings for both of you. Talk about it. Laugh about it. And drop the guilt because this is just the way it should be for you and your family. No two are exactly alike. Keep them in the forefront of your mind and heart, make sure they know they are first, and pray and love them into functioning adults. Celebrate every new step forward on their life adventure and they will love you for it.