Why Do I Constantly Feel Guilty?

Parenting Q&A

Q: I can't shake this feeling that somehow I'm messing up my kids. How can I combat the guilty, nagging sense that I'm not a good enough mom?

A: The first paperback I ever clutched to my chest and squealed over was Julie Ann Barnhill's book, Motherhood: The Guilt that Keeps on Giving. After a particularly challenging season with my son, the title alone was like a new BFF, a salve to my frantic mama's heart. Would I ever be a woman worthy of raising my three children? Apparently Barnhill knew my agony, and since that day I've chatted with moms across the country who raise this exact question. Most of us carry some level of anxiety over our parenting; it's an expected element of parenthood that stalks us the moment a nurse discharges our newborn from the hospital.

For many moms, guilt over feeling we're the "world's worst parent" stems from hyper-marketed, naive notions about mother-hood as a blissful, dreamlike state filled with library visits and art projects that rival Monet's childhood. Parenting should go down like the catalogue covers, right? I dreamt of matching gingham bedding, high end strollers, and having the infant who napped and nursed like a pro. After all, women have been mothers for centuries. This is one of God's greatest gifts to us, so how difficult can this endeavor really be?

Yet in an honest moment most moms will admit parenting is more raw and intense than they ever suspected. My friend Amy simply asked one morning how it was going with my kids. I grumbled the only response my exhausted self could mutter: "They are killing me."

Subscriber access onlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, join now for free and get complete access.
orJoin Now for Free

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Free CT Women Newsletter

Sign up today for our weekly newsletter: Marriage & Family Newsletter. CT's weekly newsletter to help women grow their marriage and family relationships through biblical principles.

Acceptance and Identity; Burdens; Children; Expectations; Guilt; Parenting
Today's Christian Woman, November/December , 2012
Posted November 26, 2012

Read These Next

  • Also in This Issue
    Christian Survivor's GuiltSubscriber Access Only
    I got stuck endlessly pouring my life out as a "drink offering."
  • Related Issue
    AlcoholSubscriber Access Only
    Sooner or later, your kids will be faced with the temptation to drink. Here's how to help them make the right decision
  • Editor's PickBeth Moore on Holy Affection
    Beth Moore on Holy AffectionSubscriber Access Only
    Jesus wants your emotion, not just your devotion.

For Further StudyFor Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper


Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter

May 25

Follow Us

More Newsletters