3 ways to break the strive-fail-guilt cycle

February 6, 2014 | encouragement, God-centered, wisdom | 4 comments

chickenboys

I love my kids.

You love your kids, too.

I want to get it right.

You want to get it right, too.

I make mistakes (A lot).

You make mistakes, too.

Most of the time, my love for my kids & a desire to get it right, are actually the reasons I make the mistakes.

You, too?

Sometimes it's the being burned out from working so hard to get it right which makes me want to crawl in a hole and give up. Since my boys have needs (and half-of-them can't wipe their own bottoms), staying in a hole is not an option. So instead I lash out with words like. . .

"I just need to go to the bathroom."

"It's not like I'm sitting around eating bon bons. I'm making your lunch."

"Let mommy sit here in time out for 2 minutes."

Remember point number two? The "I love my kids" point?

How is it that in loving them and wanting to be there for them, I actually end up doing the opposite? AND then the worst of all, feel guilty about how I just lashed out at these sweet children I love.

Are you picking up what I'm laying down?

Because this cycle is on repeat in our home and I'm tired of it.

Last week when I interviewed Nancy Williams (I hope you were able to listen to it...if not here's the link again) I asked her about mom guilt. Based on her blank expression and frank response, it seemed she had never dealt with such feelings.

You may be thinking, "Oh, she has to be lying."

Her confidence was not an accident. Here are the things she taught me to help break the cycle of strive-->fail-->guilt:

strivefailguiltcycle

1. Look up instead of around

Back in the 1960s, there were no parenting blogs (gasp) or social media platforms (double gasp) or even very many parenting books (knock me over).  In Nancy's case she learned how to be a mom from three places: the way her mom did things, a "Better Homes and Gardens parenting guide" and her Bible.

That's it. She wasn't reading other moms' tips and parenting ideas and working hard to be like them. And she definitely wasn't comparing her reality with others' best versioned selves on Instagram and Pinterest.

She read God's word and trusted He made her to be the mom for her kids. She was confident in doing the best she could do with what He had given her.

Cycle Breaker-->If you and I are feeling more defeated than encouraged, time to take a social media/blog reading break. Or at least remember to read His Truth more than look at any other source for value. (we know this...just hard to turn off Facebook & pick up a Bible).

blueberriesforsal

2) No condemnation

Nancy also encouraged me to recognize whether my feelings of guilt were satan condemning or God convicting.

Good, huh?

For example, if I feel a nudge of guilt about how I totally did not hear what my son just said because I was on my phone? Perhaps that's a conviction to stop checking my phone so frequently.

But the late-at-night weepy, "I'm ruining our children" guilt monologue? Probably triggered by lies from the evil one who wants to crush me and keep me from the big work God set before me.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. {Romans 8:1-2}

Cycle Breaker--> Before you start the crazy crying fest, ask yourself "Is this condemnation or conviction?" If it's condemnation, focus on the truth not lies. If it's conviction, honestly figure out what needs to change.

backyardpecans

3) Let Him lead

As we talked I remembered a dear family friend who had 10 children. One time her son asked how she managed to (graciously) meet so many different needs each day.  She shared how each morning while meeting with God she asked Him to guide her and let her know which children needed her most.

Wow.

There is confidence knowing God has led you to meet the right needs that day. And if needs go unmet (talking more emotional & spiritual than physical), we can direct our children to God who will always meet their needs. He promises to walk with them, listen to them and guide them.

Nancy's had another great idea to ask your older children about school challenges and pray for those things in the morning with them. Then you can celebrate with your child when prayers are answered.

Cycle Breaker--> Pray. Pray for guidance each morning on which needs to attend to. Pray with your children about challenges in their lives.

donutshop

 Do you struggle with mommy guilt ? How do you break the cycle and give yourself a break?

**Please don't compare your reality with the idyllic moments captured above. There's always a story behind each picture....Moments before the one above taken in the donut shop, I'd changed a dirty diaper on the floor of an oil change place bathroom and then spilled an entire glass of milk on the floor at Starbucks. After this pic the two little boys fought over who would drive in the grocery store race car cart. You and me, we aren't living perfect, we are living the #realmomlife.

4 Comments

  1. Ashley

    Thank you! NEEDED to hear this today…my “perfectionist parenting” tendencies have left me feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and ready to remove all parenting books, blogs, and social media from our home. HA! It’s as simple as running and clinging to Him isn’t it??? Looking to Him for guidance and direction. Looking to Him for acceptance and approval. Looking to Him for contentment, security, rest, and peace. Thanks Heather for being a vessel of God’s truths!

    • GodCenteredMom

      Oh sister. we need to hear it over and over, don’t we? I really wish I could completely avoid this cycle. But just continually reminding myself out to break out may be the next best thing. Praying you and I both can look to Him first. (hugs)

  2. Tracy

    This was just what I needed! Thank you, Heather, for your reminder to look to the Lord for guidance and to remember who we are in Him!

    • GodCenteredMom

      So good to see you today in our crazed “picking up the kids” moment. Thank you for sharing your heart and walking this refining journey with me.

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