So, here at Paisley Leather, we've already talked about Mommy Judging. If you missed that post, scan your eyes to the right and take a moment to read my Open Apology, where I confessed myself to be the chief of sinners in the area of Mommy Judging. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.
Today, I feel compelled to write about Mommy Guilt. If you're a mom, you're probably feeling that little lump form at the base of your throat as you read those words, the one that you have to swallow, like, a million times in order to make it go away. You are feeling that pesky airway blocking lump because you know exactly what I'm talking about. Just like Mommy Judging, we've all been guilty of Mommy Guilt. Oh sheesh, now we feel guilty about feeling guilty! Where will it end?!
Mommy Guilt begins before our babies even enter the world. Take, for example, the very dream I had just last night. In my dream, the baby I am carrying now (who we lovingly refer to as Baby Chapman #2 but who my dad lovingly refers to as "Laila's little brother") had to be taken from my womb early because of 1). Autism and 2). A complication with the baby's collarbone. You see how medical I am, my friends. My cute little subconscious can't come up with anything any better than that. So, in the dream, the baby was born very early, was very small and we weren't sure if she (Daddy, in the dream, the baby was a girl!) was going to make it. After having a c-section to remove her and seeing that she was being cared for by the doctors and nurses, I took a city bus (what?!) to Trev's office (which was more like Rockefeller Center) where I told him what had happened. He promptly became a version of himself that he could never possibly be as he passionately and heartlessly yelled at me (in the middle of a conference room full of people) for damaging our child by drinking one caffeinated beverage every couple of days and missing a couple days of prenatal vitamins, blaming me entirely and threatening to leave me because of my obvious unreliability and flightiness.
My friends, last night, Mommy Guilt took over my sub-conscious, villainized my husband, highlighted my deepest fears about who I might actually be (unreliable, untrustworthy) and caused me to lose precious precious sleep that I need so that I can actually engage with my 2 year old in order to not feel guilty about making her play by herself all day!! You see the ridiculousness (Made up word. Allowed.) of this, dear reader? All because I had an iced grande (easy ice) soy chai a couple days ago and missed my prenatal vitamins twice this week.
And may I venture to say that even if I was the most perfect pregnant mom, who always took my prenatals, drank 250 ounces of water every day, had spinach with every meal and overcame pregnancy fatigue with the vigor and might of Superwoman, I would probably STILL struggle with some level of Mommy Guilt? For some reason, none of us are off the hook. No matter how perfect we are. And I know who reads this blog. All of you are darn fine mamas who give sacrificially of yourselves every day; loving, hugging, repenting, playing, tucking in, zipping up, welcoming in, giving OUT... None of you should feel the things that we feel.
Why, God, why?!
Well, for me, (confession time again), I think it's a trust issue with the Lord. I can admit that. It's kind of like a reverse pride. Like, "I'm so important, my job is so big, I have to be perfect, it's all on me" kind of mentality which Jesus never expected us to bear. Which, in all actuality, is probably offensive to Him. Is our job HUGE? Are we extremely important? Crucial, even, to the development of these precious little hearts? Absolutely. But God, in His grace and mercy, would never call us to such a monumental position and then not walk in it with us through every step.
And He doesn't trudge through with us out of duty or responsibility.
I believe God, our Father, delights in sharing parenthood with us! His heart is for co-creation, my friends. Did He not work WITH our bodies? Literally co-creating with Trevor and I to form this little being? To form Laila Grace with her one dimple, her strong legs and arms and those stunning blue eyes? He joyfully knit these little people inside our wombs. He wants to be part of the continued process of co-creating with us as we steward their hearts, minds, bodies and spirits for this short time. Mommy Guilt (dare I say it?) is from THE DEVIL and it's intent is to distract us from the privilege and pleasure it is to be in communion with God as we carry out the most important role we'll ever have.
I, for one, have been in desperate need of this little pep talk, y'all. With selling the house, packing, moving, unpacking (sort of), being in my first trimester and Christmas, Mommy Guilt was creeping in like a hurricane. But, from here on, I'm going to trust Jesus. I'm going to give myself grace for this season. I'm going to pray for Laila as I doze on the couch and she watches the third in a row episode of Sid, the Science Kid. I know that God is with me. He's at work, molding her spirit, teaching her, speaking to her. What a beautiful truth. When I'm tired and grumpy and speechless, God will speak to my children. And His Word is perfect. His truth is sustaining. His grace is sufficient. For you and yours as well. Join me in this?