More than Mommy Guilt

I have been confronted lately at how much I deal with guilt. I make decisions trying to avoid feeling guilty even when in my head I know I shouldn’t feel this way. I think it is my desire not to offend or disappoint others that fuels my responses to these feelings of guilt. Trying to rationalize why I shouldn’t feel guilty does not seem to work to ease the tension I feel inside. I’ll share my two current conundrums.

I am visiting my family in another state for a few weeks. I always enjoy getting to spend time with them and giving them the opportunity to spend face-to-face time with their grandchildren. I always have fun exploring their city, playing games and making memories. When I’m here, I stay in the room upstairs away from everyone else and the main living room. My mom has encouraged me to sleep in and relax from my normal daily activity of getting the kids up and breakfasted (they are early Byrds like their dad). I have struggled EVERY DAY I’ve been here feeling guilty for not going downstairs to help the minute I’m awake. I have gotten up early(ish) to have some prayer and Bible reading each day and some days I’ll also do some exercise before going downstairs. But whenever I know that the kids are up, my guilt awakens in my head telling me I should go downstairs and help because the kids are my job. It kind of sours the remainder of time I spend upstairs. For some reason I don’t feel like I deserve to have a little time to myself to do things I enjoy. I feel guilty that my mom is doing “my job”. It’s silly. I’m sure mom enjoys getting some time with just the kids as we only see each other a couple of times per year. I just don’t know how to feel okay about it.

This year I have been provided with an amazing opportunity. I was selected to be part of a book launch team for an author who has spoken truth and wisdom and laughter to me through her books. An online community has developed that is so open and kind and loving and encouraging. It is incredible. The author has consented to hosting a launch party for all of the team members in the fall. It sounds like an awesome opportunity for fellowship and to meet in person all of the encouraging people I have only been reading about. I have really wanted to go but struggled with knowing that it would 1) cost money (flight, hotel, rental car, food) and I do not provide any income; and 2) require me to leave my family for a couple of days and give sole parenting duties to my husband. I feel guilty about that because for some reason I feel like it’d be a burden for him. It’s really dumb. They’re his kids and he loves them and will probably enjoy the bonding time. I just know how long days on my own with kids can be and don’t want him to be inconvenienced. I’m afraid he’ll feel resentful that I am spending money on a solo venture and leaving him with the kids. As I write it, it seems silly, but that’s what my inner monologue is saying. He’s encouraged me to go for it which I had hoped would ease my guilt but it hasn’t.

I may appear full of confidence but at the moment I am not. I don’t know why I am feeling this way right now. I have been praying. I feel like the root of these feelings is being concerned of others thinking badly of me and being inconvenienced themselves. They have both told me otherwise and yet this permission still has not caused these feelings to cease. It’s probably a battle with my people-pleasing tendencies. Lord, help me! Help me to accept the assurances I receive from others at face value and not think that secretly they are feeling put out. Help me to comprehend that taking time for myself is a necessity and not being selfish to the detriment of others. I struggle so much with feeling selfish and then feeling guilty when I don’t need to be. Please give me peace and confidence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

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