Tag Archives: Mothering

The Heaviness of False Guilt

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:4, KJV.

This verse came to mind today as  when after waking up, checking emails, book sale postings, moderation duties, teaching school, feeding children, organizing paperwork for property management, reading to my children among other things, and I happened upon the umpteenth guilt laden post about mothers that spend too much time on the computer, taking pictures, or some other activity that was something we should feel guilty about.

My first reaction was anger to be honest.

I had to look deep within to see where it was coming from and realized that this was a righteous anger.

Do I think and know that there are mothers that should spend more time with their children? Yes.

Do I know which mothers need to hear that? No.

If I am spending time judging the mother in the park for checking her phone, I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have no idea if that mother brought her child to the park to play after spending all morning reading books to him and just needed to listen and answer her voice mails and text messages  on her phone at that moment.

The photo went around judging the young women for taking selfies with their food. Another condemning post was passed by about people taking photos of the Pope passing by, while one woman sat with a blissful expression on her face, enjoying the moment. The comments on the post were that we need to enjoy the moment more, rather than focusing on seeing it through a camera phone. In that post, there was a blanket judgement passed that all those seeing the moment through their phone camera, were not possibly enjoying it as the other woman was.

I will ask, “Who are we to judge?”  Are you passing judgement on others and binding a heavy burden on them?

I encourage you, before you post something about spending less time on the computer, enjoying the moment, spending time in “real life”, stop.

It may be a good word, but remember to hold a balance. Many of those people that you think “spend all day sitting on their computers and phones”, often have good reasons to do so. It may be their job, or it could just be an appearance.

Think before you speak, especially online. Don’t weigh down others with guilt they don’t need.

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The Failure Trap

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We all have days of failure. We all have days of triumph. There are days when we work together with our schedule, our children, family, friends and others just as peacefully as the two boys seem to be working together above. However, pictures only tell part of the story. One of the first lies we tell ourselves is that we are the only ones that fail.

There are blogs of all types out there. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool, are a homemaker, work out of the home, work in the home, are a world class baker or whatever your life looks like, we all are human. Humans fail. They have bad days. When we admit that, we are not bragging, revealing anything personal, but often the relief others feel when they see it is something you can almost taste.

If we believe we will never fail, we can feel ashamed to reveal our failures. Real life is wrought with trials, unless you live in a bubble. News articles can soon burst that bubble and lead you to be thankful for the life you live.

The second lie is the one we tell ourselves on what is actual failure.

What is failure to you?

All humans have different gauges at where they find failure. I remember keenly the doctor’s visit when I went in with a child whom had a ruptured eardrum. Said child had not been complaining about ear pain, until it ruptured, and I felt so bad! I truly believed that it is always very painful for an eardrum to rupture. On the same visit, I mentioned that my other son had a sore throat he only complained about during school time. I did not believe it was a real malady, but more an excuse. Was I ever embarrassed when I discovered a raging case of strep throat? I felt like I had just won the failure of the year award for mothers.

Have you had a moment like that? Was it really a failure? In looking back, I realize now, that I could only do the best that I can. My son with the ruptured eardrum,  had no complained. I could not have prevented it. He had issues with his ears and likely was used to the pain. My other son was notorious for making excuses to get out of school. Why wouldn’t I have pressed him to work on school anyhow? I was actually trying to be a good mom. Yet, the memory sticks with me of how I failed. I do not remember the days where I weighed why he was troubling me about doing school. I lay awake wondering what was the best way to mother my sons.

I berated myself for my “failure”, when in truth, I am not sure that it was a failure. Even if I would have rushed them both to the doctor earlier, which would have taken time, money and the doctor’s valuable time, it still may not have been really manifesting itself yet and we may have had to wait and come back later. I do not know that.

Mothers are especially the ones that beat themselves up over the everyday fails. We may allow them to eat a whole bag of jellybeans sometimes. We might let them do something and realize we forgot to ask pertinent questions that all good mothers ask. We may feel we did not mete out duties in the right way sometimes.

I will say….this is a trap.

It will catch you and impede you from parenting with joy. It can cause you to second guess every single decision you make, while you are trapped by the guilt of failure.

No….You should probably not feed your children jellybeans every day. It leads to cavities and poor health.

No….You should probably not always skip doctor, dentist and other appointments when needed.

No….You should probably not allow your children to skip out the door with other people without double checking who they are.

Yes…You should do the best you can.

Yes…You will still always have some fear of failure.

Yes….guilt and worry can be a part of mothering.

Yes….You should research and do what is best for your child as far as health, diet, exercise, etc.

But over all, remember that all mothers are human. It will not always turn and go smoothly like the two boys working together. I am sure, later that day, they likely had several arguments to break up. But sometimes online, it is easy to just see the pretty pictures and think that bloggers or other online people are not real humans like us.

Do your best, leave the rest of it to God. You can only do what you can do. If you mess up or do truly fail….laugh, cry or whatever makes you feel better. Then pick yourself up, say your are sorry and move on.

Tomorrow is another day.

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