moving past mommy guilt

Moving past Mommy Guilt and Embracing Joy

As any parent knows, there is a special gift that comes with the honor of having children called “mommy guilt.”  You are barraged from day 1 of your pregnancy with lists of don’t-do that-but-be-sure-to-do-this.  And far too often, those lists contradict each other.  To cry it out or not, babywear or not, breastfeed or not.  We are constantly worried that we are too little, too impatient, too tired.  That we are not enough.  That we cannot possibly be providing for the emotional well-being of these tiny humans, and so we may as well start saving our pennies to help with the cost of therapy when they grow up.

Guilt is not of God. He did not create us to feel less than.

Strategies for Moving Past Mommy Guilt

When you get stuck in the rut of feeling mommy guilt, here are some practical tools that you can use to move forward in a more healthy and productive manner.

1. Rest in knowing that you are not perfect, but you are enough!

This one is hard, but there is something so freeing in stopping.  In acknowledging your shortcomings and moving past them.  I WILL lose my patience.  I WILL make mistakes.  And my beautiful daughters, God willing, will grow up to be mothers who will also lose their patience and make mistakes.

What we do today will significantly impact how our children feel about their role as mother.

2. Apologize when necessary.

Because we will make mistakes, we must be able to deal with those mistakes and move on from them in a healthy manner.  Turn an “oops” into a learning experience. Teach your kids the importance of acknowledging mistakes and taking responsibility for them.

3. Play to your strengths.

I saw a meme once that read, “When something goes wrong, just yell PLOT TWIST and move on!”  and it has stuck with me!  What a funny way to express a profound idea.  When you are stuck in a rut and experiencing mommy guilt, yell PLOT TWIST and move on to an activity that plays to your strengths! We all have strengths and weaknesses as moms. KNOW your strengths. Write them down to look at if you need a reminder some days.

On days when you’re feeling “Mommy Guilt,” what tips or tricks help you move forward?

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at

35 thoughts on “Moving past Mommy Guilt and Embracing Joy”

  1. This is excellent, because one of the reasons parents fear consistent discipline is that they are feeling guilty for the times they have “failed” their kids in other ways. It’s always a new day in parenting and God’s grace is new every morning.

  2. I’m not a momma yet, but I already know I will constantly need to fight to believe truth rather than give in to the guilt of not being “enough”. I struggle with this already. My favorite is “Apologize When Necessary”. I have GOT to work on that one!
    Thanks for writing honestly and openly! 🙂

  3. Just this morning I had to apologize to my 3.5yr old. We were wicked snippy with each other and neither one of us was being very nice. She has the excuse of being 3 and still learning…I did not. Those moments happen (more so since I have gotten pregnant with my second child and my tolerance for everything is down and my fuse is much shorter) but it is so important to own up to them and ask forgiveness.

    I’ve also seen that meme about plot twist. I’ve pretty much decided that is how I’m going to live from now on. lol 😉 #WholeHeartHomeWednesdays

    1. Love it Julie! I sometimes stop during a long day chasing my 18 month old around and I really arguing with a baby right now???? What an invaluable lesson for our kids to see us mess up, take responsibility, and apologize. So glad you took the time to visit!

  4. Great advice given already. I guess my main advice is to choose to laugh. Sometimes we have to look hard for the humor in the moment but if we choose to find it we will feel so much better about those things we just can’t seem to control. Besides laughter is a medicine I always feel better after a good laugh.

    I am visiting from the AskGodToday Ministries Warm Hearted Wednesday link up.

  5. Such great advice – thank you! It’s difficult to be pulled in so many directions and not feel guilty at times. You’re right though, we all need to remember that we are enough. #PitStop

  6. Sometimes I have to remind myself of what is truly important and of the goals and priorities that my husband and I have set for our family. That tends to put the guilt in perspective.

  7. thetightwadteacher

    Parenting is an adventure. I fail often, especially in the mornings when my toddler throws a tantrum because she doesn’t want to get out of bed and put her clothes on, which makes me run behind for work. I read a post on Pinterest and I can’t find it right now but it stuck with me about some ways that can keep me more mindful and not yell as much and lately there have been more good days than bad days. Thanks for the post!

  8. I love this. Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed by posts that list out all the ways I need to do more and be more as a mom, so this is very refreshing. I think more often as moms we need to hear other moms tell us that we are enough–that we are doing enough and being enough because Christ is enough. So thank for this grace today!

  9. I love this! I’m so thankful for God’s grace when I have mommy guilt. I’m thankful that when I say sorry to my kids, they are so forgiving..reflecting the very forgiveness easily given to me by Jesus!

  10. Something I have been trying to work on this year is letting things go. Sometimes that means letting the housework go so you can play more, sometimes this means letting go the guilt that comes with taking me time . It is a struggle but I’m working on it. Great post.

    1. I struggle with these too and letting go of our picture of what our house and family and life “should” look like is so hard. But what a blessing that when you take some mommy time to recharge, you come back with the best version of yourself available to your kids.

  11. I LOVE that “plot twist” meme you mentioned. It’s especially helpful for a mom like me who isn’t all that, er, “gifted” at dealing well with the unexpected. Thank you for bringing that good advice back into my field of vision. Stopping by from the Weekend Wind-Down party!

  12. Jen, you’ve shared wisely here. While I can never be “enough” on my own, I want nothing more than to teach my kids that our Savior is always, always enough for them and for me, too. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us at Grace & Truth!

  13. I loved #1! I am going to have to remember that one! Days that I have Mommy Guilt, my husband is awesome at calming me down and letting me know everything is going to be okay. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

  14. Y’all got to me… AGAIN! Your post will be featured once again at 100-Happy-Days. I’m pretty sure God’s laying on your heart what I need to hear. EVERY WEEK! Love it! Thank you for joining us.

  15. My girls are all grown up. I get to sit back now and watch the oldest parent my grandchildren. Some days it is comical. Others, the “mommy” in me wants to take over. Especially right now while their living with me. My favorite line here is, “Teach your kids the importance acknowledging mistakes and taking responsibility for them.” So lacking in our society today. Both in parenting and in the classroom (I teach). I remember just the other day using your line (said differently, my words, same meaning) to my daughter as she was incorporating discipline to my grandson. It was a comical moment till “grammie” had to step in.

  16. This post was just what I needed to read! I often get overwhelmed with working full time, blogging part time, going to school and being a mother. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone to feel this way.

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