Give Mommy Guilt a Time Out

I'm not a perfect mother, and neither are you—let's battle the guilt together.

If you're a working mom like me, I can tell you a few things about yourself.

First, you're tired.

I know.

Me too! I always thought this would get better at each stage of my kids' lives—that somehow once they got "just a little older," I wouldn't worry about them as much, or I'd sleep a little bit more. But so far, no such luck. The kind of energy and effort required definitely changes with each new stage, but somehow my amount of energy seems to stay the same. All my kids are out of high school now, but I'm still a working mom, and I still lose sleep over them. Maybe it'll get better, though, when they get a little older . . . I'll keep you posted.

The second thing I know about you is that you're feeling guilty.

You feel guilty dropping your kids off at day care (especially once they reach the age where they beg you to stay). You feel guilty when you arrive at work a little later than your co-workers, and you feel guilty when you leave earlier than them. You feel guilty at church when you don't sign up for the Thursday morning Bible study group or to volunteer in the nursery.

I know many women who assume "mommy guilt" is a way of life. Even (and in some cases especially) my Christian friends accept this extreme burden of guilt, shame, and self­doubt as part of the universal motherhood experience. Something crazy starts to happen when you accept it as such. You stop fighting the guilt. It's no longer a problem. Instead, it becomes a sort of badge of honor that unites you with other moms. Now, in this upside­down reality, it becomes a sign of how much you love your kids and how much you're willing to suffer for them.

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Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison is a business professional and founder of 4wordwomen.org, local groups of professional working women committed to faith, family, work, and each other.

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May 25

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