All posts tagged Guilt

Working Mom’s Devotional: Why Can’t You Be A “Real Mom”?

“Mom, why do you have to travel this week?”

“I won’t be gone long, Abby,” I quickly replied.

“Well, why don’t you tell your boss NO?” she demanded.

“You don’t understand, Abby.  I have responsibilities at work.  It’s part of my job.”

“Well, why don’t you get a new job?”

At this point, I could tell the conversation was going no where.  But I held my tongue and she continued the interrogation.

“Do you want a new job, Mom?”

“Maybe someday, sure.”

“Well, I think you should get a job being a REAL MOM!

“I am a real mom, Abby.”

“No you’re not.  You’re never here!” she continued.

“I’m here right now.”

“No that’s not what I mean.  You’re never here during the day.”

“But you’re in school during the day.  You’re not here either.”

I gave her a big hug and we both laughed.  Then she got “sick” the next day at school.

[Fast forward 16 hours.  My cell phone rings at work.  It’s the school nurse!]

“Hello, this is the school nurse.  Abby doesn’t have a fever, but she’s not feeling well.  Her teacher thinks she should come home.”

“Ok,” I replied.  “Have you tried to call my husband?  I’m actually headed out of town for a few days.”

“No, I haven’t called him yet.  She wanted me to call YOU.”

Obviously, this child knows how to push my buttons.   Apparently, she also knows how to push the school nurse’s buttons.  If I was a “Real Mom” maybe I would run to get her, but I made arrangements for my husband to pick her up, left town on schedule, and decided that I would make it up to her on the back end.

As mothers, we always second guess ourselves.   If you doubt your identity as a “Real Mom”, take heart.  You’re not alone!  And while I’m convinced there’s no formula to deal with mommy guilt, I need to constantly remind myself who I am in Christ.

What does the Bible say about our identity in Christ? That we are chosen by God and given a purpose. According to 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness in to his wonderful light”. This is God’s purpose for me.  If I compare myself to others, I rob myself of my true identity.

God knows who I am.  I am God’s masterpiece!  And I am a Real Mom!

Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)

Working Mom’s Devotional: Will We Choose Guilt or Grace?

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I’ve been a pretty absent friend this year.  In between a demanding work schedule, aging parents, and my own over-stretched family, I’ve barely had time to write let alone invest in friendship.  Let’s face it.  Quality relationships take time.  Maybe too much time during this busy stage of life.

But I know deep down that relationships are worth the effort – especially during this busy season of life.  And the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect .  Even if I haven’t been a model friend in 2013.  Which is why I invited four dear friends to lunch the week before Christmas — to let them know just how much they’ve meant to me this year.

We were supposed to meet for lunch at noon (I sent out the invitation, remember?).  I was looking forward to putting aside the holiday rush, turning off my cell phone, and eating a slow but satisfying lunch in the best of company.

But I had one of those crazy Monday mornings.  From the moment I woke up, I was “behind” and  couldn’t catch up.  My first 30-minute meeting turned into two hours.  I looked at the clock. 12:45.

No!

My heart sank.  I had missed the special “friendship” lunch – the lunch that I was supposed to be hosting!

Why should I be surprised?  This is indicative of my year.  I make plans, but they always seem to change.  I tell myself, “I can do it, I will hold it together!”  But then I find myself back pedaling and feeling out of control.  Wishing I was someone who doesn’t invite her very best friends to lunch and then stand them up!

But these are also the moments when I have a decision to make.  Will I choose guilt or grace?  Will I beat myself up and throw in the towel?  Or will I jump in the car, put the pedal to the medal, and receive a heavy dose of grace (albeit an hour late)?

Thankfully, I arrived just in time to wish my friends a Merry Christmas.

If I could replay last Monday morning, I would have done a few things differently.  But what’s done is done.  My failed Christmas lunch teaches me a lesson I need to learn over and over again.

Grace always gives me a second chance. 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God is so good that he reaches down and gives me a second chance.  He knows in advance that I’m going to be an hour late for that Christmas lunch.   But he doesn’t condemn me.  Instead, he gives me a choice.  Will I wallow in regret?  Or will I seize a new moment?

2013 is almost over.  I can’t change last year, no more than I can change last Monday morning.  But I can choose grace over guilt.  And rather than replaying in my mind what could have been, I can move forward in confidence that God gives me new mercies every morning.  He is never caught by surprise.  Even when I don’t show up to lunch.

Are you ready for a fresh start in 2014?  

Working Mom’s Devotional Dealing with Reverse Guilt

Working Mom's Devotional

We talk a lot about working mom guilt at home.   But what about working mom guilt at work?  Working moms tend to feel badly about leaving the office early, taking a day off, or even relaxing with family and friends.  I really hadn’t focused on this phenomena until I read a recent Huffington Post article on Reverse Guilt by Carol Evans.   As our careers demand our undivided attention, Evans describes reverse guilt with all-too-familiar examples:

“I feel this haunting sense of guilt about my work — not my family!” revealed a senior manager during the Q&A at a speech I gave recently. “I’m worried I might let my company down even though I’m going all out every day and then getting on my computer after I put the kids to bed.”

Case in point.  As I stay at home today with my kids, I feel a tad guilty for not being more “productive.”  (Ok, in reality, I’ve had an incredibly busy day making meals, going shopping, doing laundry, making Christmas lists, sorting old clothes for donations, and cleaning closets.  So why do I feel guilty for not working!)

I’ve noticed “reverse guilt” creep in, even with my friends who don’t work outside the home.  They get stressed over the volunteer schedules, bake sales, and expectations our communities place on stay-at-home moms perceived as have extra “time” on their hands.  And they likewise feel guilty every time they say no!

Here’s the problem with reverse guilt.  It robs us from having – and enjoying – a life outside of work!  The easy solution is to turn on the laptop, stay up late to answer emails, or head into the office on Sunday night to play “catch-up” before the work week.

But is this just a band aide solution?  It’s one thing to get your work done.  It’s another thing to refuse to let go.   And if we can’t let go, what does that say about our identity? 

Our Creator recognizes our intrinsic value.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares for us in advance for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:10)  Knowing I am “God’s workmanship” doesn’t give me a license to become a slacker at work – to the contrary, I am motivating by grace, not guilt, to do my very best. 

This is where grace comes in.  As a child of God, I don’t have to earn anything.  I am holy, blameless, forgiven, and even redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  This doesn’t give me a license to screw up; it just gives me the freedom to be the best wife, mother, and lawyer that I can be.   (Chasing Superwoman, p.215)

How do you deal with reverse guilt?  Will you allow God to define your value – rather than your achievements at home or at work? 

[Get a jump start on holiday shopping!  Chasing Superwoman is currently available on Amazon for $6.00.  Working Women of the Bible will release in March 2013!]

Working Mom’s Devotional: Letting Go Of Perfect

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Fall stress is in full swing.  I was talking with a working mom yesterday who is ready to throw in the towel:

“I just can’t keep up with the demands.  While my own mother worked, she didn’t have a job like mine!  I just can’t be the mother I want to be and stay on this career path.”

For many of us, her words ring true.  Too true.  Pursuing excellence at home and at work can seem impossible.   Part of the problem?  We can’t let go of perfect.  We have an idea about how things are supposed to be.  And it often collides with life as we know it. 

Most of us can’t package our work into a box that is pulled off the shelf Monday through Friday between 9 to 5.  Nor can we shut off the demands of our homes when we’re sitting at work.  (As a new mother, I swear I could hear my son crying over two miles away from my office.)

I believe that God created women to be holistic.  Being able to see the big picture and live in multiple worlds can be our greatest strength.  But it can also be our greatest weakness. 

We can’t let go of work when we’re at home.

We can’t let go of home when we’re at work.

And neither is perfect!

Could it be that perfectionism is the root of stress and disappointment?

Books like Good Enough Is The New Perfect  explore how a new generation of mothers are letting go of the little things and focusing on what we really want out of our careers and family.   I noticed it selling in tandem with Chasing Superwoman, and it had me from the title!

It got me thinking about how dangerous perfectionism can be to our souls.   Especially if we’re holistic in our approach to life and work. 

Yet the good news is this.  While God demands perfection, He doesn’t demand us to be perfect.  Yes, there is a difference!  God is in the business of taking things that are broken and weak and making them whole and strong.   He is in the business of taking what is “good enough” and even making it perfect.

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32).

”Because by one sacrifice he has made perfectforever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14).

It’s a message I need to hear over and over again.   

How do you let go of perfect?

 

 

Letting Go Of SuperMom: Your Kids May Surprise You!

Working Mom's Devotional

I’ve been feeling really guilty about the junk in my children’s lunches.  Especially when I am traveling (and my husband is theoretically in charge) my kids get their share of processed food.  It’s cheap, mindless, and easy.  And it fits nicely in a lunch box. 

Just what I need, another thing to feel guilty about! Continue reading →