Say Cheese! (Cropping Mommy Guilt Out of the Picture)

My CameraPictures never lie.

I don’t know who first said that, but I have plenty of pictures tucked away of early motherhood that fail to reveal the whole truth.

Looking back at photos snapped when my three girls were teeny-tiny, I see picture after picture of me smiling. Happiness etched on my face – like being a mom was just the easiest thing ever. They do not show the depression. They do not show the pressure I felt to get everything right. You cannot see the mommy guilt standing by my side in any of them. But it’s there. My constant companion.

None of the pictures of those early years whisper the truth to anyone – that I felt sorry for my girls for having me as their momma.

Such a sad statement to make, but one that is true. Every mistake I made weighed heavy on me. Disappointment became a daily norm as I could never quite measure up to my own standards of a “good” mother. I began to question God’s wisdom on giving me children when I was obviously so horrible at the whole thing.

How thankful I am for the day the Lord spoke healing truth to my heart through a familiar Bible verse.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

I had always read this verse for me personally, allowing hope to be stirred about my own future. But God reminded me one day that this verse is for my daughters, as well. The plans He has for them are for their good – to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them a hope and a future. And then I felt Him tuck onto the end of His reminder, “And you are a part of My good plan for their lives.”

I am a good part of the plans He has for my daughters’ lives. He handpicked me for them and them for me. Does that mean I am going to get everything right? Not a chance. But I can know that He is the God who works all things together for my good and for theirs. (see Romans 8:28) I can call on Him daily as a mom for strength, wisdom, encouragement, and, yes, for forgiveness.

I still have some pretty rough days as a mom. Days where I feel like I have totally blown it. But now I have His tender reminder cling to. A reminder that lets me know that no mistake was made when I became a mom.

Sweet sisters, let’s let go of the ridiculously unattainable expectations we have for ourselves and let’s simply expect God to do good things through us in our children’s lives. We are not called to be perfect moms – just moms completely surrendered to and dependent upon Him.

Discovering the truth that you are a good part of your child’s life? That’s something to really smile about!

8 Responses to Say Cheese! (Cropping Mommy Guilt Out of the Picture)
  1. Laura
    September 24, 2012 | 10:58 pm

    It’s true. I’ve let mommy guilt walk too close beside me many a time. I’m experiencing more freedom lately and it’s great! Thanks for posting about this topic…so important for moms to hear. 🙂

    • Kimberly
      September 25, 2012 | 8:35 am

      Thanks, Laura! We can either pretend we have it all together OR we can be honest and find out we are not alone in our struggles as a mom. And then we get to point each other to our true source of hope – the Lord!

      Blessings to you!

  2. Carol
    September 25, 2012 | 7:53 am

    So good! I’ve been there, too. Thanks for this! 🙂

    • Kimberly
      September 25, 2012 | 8:35 am

      Thanks, sweet friend!

  3. EvieJo
    September 25, 2012 | 8:22 am

    I wasn’t the perfect mother either, but I did do the very best that I could do at any given time. I am convinced that given it to do all over again, I would probably make the same mistakes again. No regrets now, although guilt has often tried to make itself my companion. I am convinced that being a mother allowed the Lord to do more miracles in my heart than the miracles that I wrought in my children’s.
    Blessings to you! EvieJo

    • Kimberly
      September 25, 2012 | 8:38 am

      Thank you so much for your comment! I love what you said especially at the end…that being a mother allowed the Lord to do more miracles in your heart than the ones worked through you in your children’s. Indeed! I am amazed at how He uses my girls to speak to me, to mold me, to soften me, to teach me. So thankful we can trust Him to work through us AND trust Him as He does His work within us.

      Thank you for sharing!
      K 🙂

  4. Laura Rath
    September 25, 2012 | 12:35 pm

    So often I wish I had known where to find honest words like these when my daughter was a baby and a toddler. Whenever I saw other moms, they seemed to have it all together. They seemed so happy, like it was easy. I compared myself to other women, some I didn’t even know, and wondered why I wasn’t “getting it.” What did they know that I didn’t?

    My daughter is older now, and some days are just as hard. The stages and challenges change, but they are still there. I’ve learned that she will watch how I respond to these challenges, along with my failures & all the things I wish I could change. If ever I needed a lesson that the non-verbal outweighs the verbal, this is it.

    Now I see that my mess-ups are an opportunity for her to learn that no one is perfect. We all need forgiveness and grace. It’s a lesson for both of us.

    Thanks Kimberly!
    In Christ,

    • Kimberly
      September 25, 2012 | 9:15 pm

      Thanks for commenting and sharing so openly, Laura. I remember when a wise woman in my life told me that my girls did not need to see me as a perfect mom…that I would be setting up a precedent they could not keep. But that instead, when I mess up, I need to be humble enough to say so and to go to them for forgiveness. Such a humbling thing to have to do. But you are so right. We ALL need grace and forgiveness! And I have certainly had to go to them many a time and admit that how mommy handled something was not the best of ways.

      There’s actually a link under my comment to a post on me having to do that VERY thing! Our need for His grace never ends. 🙂

      Blessings to you and your daughter!