Not many people talk about parenting guilt. We read blogs about having tough days, starting over, and asking for forgiveness. All good, all valid, all encouraging.
But we don’t talk about the crushing weight of it. The daily battle it invokes of knowing that the guilt comes from lies but we have not enough truth to fight it.
When she’s born prematurely. You weren’t “woman enough” to carry her to term. You feel detached as she lays in a plastic box and you wonder if she’s the same baby who grew inside you. Guilt.
When the doctor sits across from you and says the reason behind your baby girl’s difficulties is genetic. Genetic. The core of who she is is “faulty”. She will have a lifetime of hurt, therapies, and differences. Because of you. Guilt.
When you sit across from yet another doctor and receive an autism diagnosis along with a recommendation for 40 hours of therapy a week, starting as soon as possible. You think of all of the days you were on your phone, or resting, or watching TV or going to the park or just living life instead of working with her. And now she’s behind. Far, far behind. Because you didn’t work with her enough. You didn’t care for her like you should have and now she will never catch up. Crushing guilt.
And that’s just part of it.
When you lay her down at night and think of all of the times you weren’t patient, or kind, or caring. And you look at her sweet face and feel that weight. You know she will only be this little for so long, and you wasted today. Guilt.
When you’re too stern with him for being a child. You thought you were doing the right thing in the moment, but know in your heart he didn’t deserve that harshness from you. Guilt.
When you work so hard at your job, first, second or third shifts and come home exhausted. And you wonder, with the guilt pressing on you if you paid enough attention to him today. If you spent enough time with him.
When you take your babies across oceans to serve the Lord and watch them adjust to foreign cultures and be away from their families and their homeland. And your heart hurts knowing that you are serving the Lord, and teaching your babies what it means to be fully submitted to Him. But that doesn’t mean the guilt doesn’t go away.
When she makes decisions that you don’t agree with or when he slams the door in anger at you. Where did you go wrong? How can you fix the mistakes you’ve made?
Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
Friend. I have to tell you that you’re doing a good job. You feel that guilt because you care so strongly. You want to do the right thing for them, you want to give them the best life possible. And you are. You really, really are.
Keep in mind that the all-knowing, all-powerful God knew before the beginning of time that they were going to be your babies. That you would be the one to raise him, that you would teach her what it means to love Jesus in real life. Real life: where you’re on a stage, and your babies are watching, front row and center. Our imperfections are perfect places to show God’s glory to them, and guilt doesn’t have a part to play in this performance. They love you, God is using you, and guilt doesn’t own you. Rest in that, friend… and give yourself a break. 🙂