I love my children more than my life. I have fun with them. I enjoy being a mother. I don’t often yell. I don’t ignore them all day. I don’t wish I were someplace else when they’re around.
But, still, ever since I became a mother I end almost every day with a sense of guilt.
Why did I look at my computer so much? Why did I make that sarcastic remark? Why did I feed them too many sweets and not enough vegetables? Why didn’t we go have a picnic? Why didn’t I make them do math? Why am I so strict? Why am I so lenient? Why didn’t I hug them more? Why didn’t we do crafts? Why? Why? Why?
If I let my own brain go unchecked at day’s end, I have a vague sense of guilt that just sits in the pit of my stomach at bedtime. Sometimes I can’t even pick a specific thing to be guilty about, other than I generally should’ve looked into their eyes more during the day. This, coming from a woman who spends all day and all night with her three children every single day.
So, I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with it.
But, there is hope for mamas. We don’t have to turn motherhood into a pit of great despair as we grieve over all we wish we had or hadn’t done during a day. Because God fills in the gaps in our mothering. He smooths over our rough places. He is the God who works through our weaknesses, who uses our humility for His glory. He loves our children far more than we do, and He is at work in our families, even if we aren’t having our best day.
And, we are not meant to live a life filled with guilt or worry, but joy. Because, as the Proverb (31) reminds us, God can help us laugh at the days to come (and the day we just had) instead of grieving over it. When there is need to repent, we should. When we are just nitpicking ourselves to death and comparing ourselves to what we see on Facebook and Pinterest, we should forget it.
One of my favorite quotes was given to me by a good friend after I had a day of particularly bad decision-making. I often go back to it and let it remind me that with God, each day dawns bright with hope. Every moment is a fresh start. And, He makes every day another chance to glorify Him, whether it be through our strengths or our weaknesses.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Carry on, mamas. And, remember that at the end of each day, there is only one thing to do with that guilt. Lay it at the feet of Jesus.
And, sleep well.