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Can We Talk About Mommy Guilt?

As an FYI, I don't really know where I'm going with this post. Just kind of typing out thoughts that are in my head.

Mommy guilt. Who deals with it? Does any mom NOT deal with it? Really?

It starts EARLY. I wasn't really bothered by having a scheduled c-section with my very first child. Then someone mentioned that I should have at least tried to avoid a c/s; that it would have been better for the baby. Guilt.

How to feed her, where to put her for sleep, put her on a schedule, let her cry it out, sippy cups, sweets ... and that's just for the baby days!

Then it's time out, telling them no, let them go to McDonald's, drink juice, drink milk, cleaning up after themselves ... toddler years covered.

Play makeup, did you read enough to them, did they have a vegetable with every meal, do they clean up after themselves, do they make their bed, are they learning their abc's and 123's, do they watch TV, and what about the carseat ... preschool years ... check.

Then it gets REALLY difficult. (As my friend Di used to say - little kids, little problems, big problems. Amen, sister.)

The thing is - where is all the guilt coming from? I mean, yes of course, if we live on McDonald's and TV, that's not good and there should be some healthy mommy guilt from that. But the other stuff? Is it really going to matter if I've decided that I don't care if my 11 year old wears mascara? Is it going to matter that we have leftover pizza and have had it for all three meals today, so unless we REALLY reach and count tomato sauce as a vegetable, we're veggie free today?

Do I have such a vision of perfection that every single thing I do that doesn't meet that vision is going to induce guilt? I can say all day long that "His grace is sufficient for me" but if I'm feeling guilty for buying white bread rather than wheat simply because I don't want to listen to kids complain, how do I make trusting in that grace REAL in my life?

What I want to know is how do I decide that I AM content with who I am and the choices I've made? And even if those choices are wrong wrong wrong, His grace is sufficient, and His forgiveness is real.

I'm just guessing that the Lord does not want me to be so crippled with guilt and afraid that I'm going to do the wrong thing that I'm almost incapable of doing anything. I seem to remember several verses about FREEDOM, which I desperately need. He came to set us FREE, to keep us out of the ruts we get into trying to cross every "t" and dot every "i" just perfectly, and the fear that if I don't do it exactly right, then I'm not good enough. The laws we set for ourselves and the guilt we carry around when we break those laws ... a whole lot of which don't even matter.

A friend told me last night that I needed to give myself permission to let go of the "I'm not good enough" and the "I'm not doing this correctly" and just be me. I suspect that if I can figure out how to do that, I'll be the ME that the Lord created me to be. I just need to figure out how to do it.

It's a hard line to walk though, because I don't want to use freedom as an excuse for laziness, ugliness, obnoxiousness. I never want to be a stumbling block to someone else. There has to be a way to do the things I know that need to be done, to extend grace to myself when I don't, to not hang on to guilt, and to rejoice and be content in myself. Lord, please help me to find it.

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