The Guilt of a Work at Home MomBy
Especially as women I find we are more susceptible to false guilt than men.
How often do you find these words coming out of your mouth “I feel guilty….”?
“I feel guilty for not spending enough time with my kids”
“I feel guilty for losing my temper.”
“I feel guilty for not having a better relationship with my mom.”
Can you distinguish between false guilt and real guilt or conviction? False guilt leaves us striving in our homes, work and church.
The enemy is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). Satan is working to make our thoughts accuse us – it gives him great delight to see us fall into the trap of feeling guilty for everything. On the other hand with Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1), because if we confess our sins He forgives us (1 John 1:9) and doesn’t remember our sin anymore (Hebrews 8:12).
When we have sinned and we go to Christ asking forgiveness our guilt is erased and our sin no longer has hold over us. However, guilt can produce compulsiveness because it torments us. (Beyond Head Knowledge)
The tormenting voice of guilt stems in part from our childhood. A good article from Focus on the Family points out that “hypercritical upbringings create a hyperactive conscience.” Perhaps growing up you never felt good enough, your best efforts didn’t measure up and you felt like you always had to apologize for everything. It could be that you always feel guilty for not trying harder. Or maybe you struggle with feeling bad that you haven’t done better even though you have tried.
As work at home moms we have a different set of struggles from someone who works outside the home. Idealistically when I first started working from home I thought I would have that sense of fulfilment that I was a good mom because I was with my kids all the time. But that is not the case! Instead there are days when I struggle with guilt because I feel like they are never the center of my attention. I am with them but I am not necessarily interacting with them. There are days when the kids want me to play a game but I just can’t because I have work to do. If I entertain this thought and allow it to have precedence in my thoughts I end up miserable. I feel guilty for not getting my work done and guilty for not playing with the kids.
Feelings of guilt enter most of our minds from time to time. We need to learn how to deal with these feelings/thoughts.
Ask yourself is this accusation accurate? For example, I have to ask myself, is it true that I am not spending enough time with my kids. Then I should take a step back and reflect on the day or days. I search for truth, asking the Lord to show me. In this case I realize that just this morning I spent time with them at breakfast, took them on an outing to the library and helped them with their schoolwork. With these facts in mind I can renounce the accusation. It isn’t true that I don’t spend time with my kids. However, it is true that I have boundaries. The boundary is this: I will spend what time I can with them but I also need to work several hours a day.
When we have the truth sometimes we need to talk directly to the guilty feelings. I could say something like “There is no condemnation in Christ. I am a good mom. My children had my attention earlier today and now I need to be diligent in my work.”
Don’t let your life and emotions be ruled by feelings of guilt. Ask the Lord to gently show you areas you need to change and to reveal to you areas the enemy is falsely accusing you.
Father, Help me to distinguish between the conviction of Your Spirit and the accusation of the enemy. Thank You that I do not have to feel guilty because in You there is no condemnation. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Naomi Fata is a small business owner, operating a sewing business, Love Stitches by Naomi, out of her home. She is passionate about encouraging other moms who are looking for home based employment. Naomi is also the author of Beyond Head Knowledge; Knowing Christ who Satisfies our Hearts. In all things, whether through writing, business or homemaking, her vision is that God’s love would shine through. She is married with three children, and will begin her homeschooling journey in the fall of 2015 as her oldest begins kindergarten. You can connect with Naomi at her blog, facebook, and twitter.