Is "mom guilt" real?

I am doing the very best I know how.

Yet, it feels like I'm fumbling my way through each day. Doing a lot of things, but not doing any of them well. Surely I'm not the only Momma out there that feels like this... right?!

I bought myself a new calendar and I've started writing down how I'm spending each hour (both how I want to and how I actually am). I've been making adjustments to my time management, but have still been feeling like my kids deserve more of my time & attention.

After some prayer and soul-searching, I realized it's not an increased quantity of time, but rather better QUALITY time we desire with one another. I recently sat down with my kids (all boys, ages 13, 11, 8, 4) and explained my struggle - how my heart is heavy feeling like I am not enough for them. I know I need to change something in my day, but what? They were each so kind and tender towards me as they listened, reassuring me I am enough.

Like a balm to this weary Momma's soul, my own young, yet wise children acknowledged my feelings of inadequacy while countering them with truth and love.

With tear-filled eyes and hearts full of gratitude, we made a plan going forward. We decided to make a list of "fun" things we enjoy doing together (family movie night, water balloon fight, sidewalk chalk, the zoo, puzzles, bowling, card games, board games, painting, etc.). We wrote these things on strips of paper and we draw one out during breakfast. I have a motto that I stress to my kids about their school work (we homeschool) and chores:

Work Hard, Play Hard.

We work hard all day on our responsibilities, and when our work we set out to accomplish that day is done (usually around supper), we PLAY TOGETHER. Uninterrupted. No phones. No computers. Until they go to bed (anywhere from 8-10pm). That's our goal. We've only been doing this for about two weeks. Some days, I let out a sigh of relief as I feel that heavy load of guilt begin to lift; I'm learning it's a daily battle in my mind! 

Mom Guilt is an ugly beast!!!!

It's a tool Satan uses to discourage us, to make us feel like our efforts are not enough. He plants these seeds of doubt in our minds continually. If we dwell on these thoughts, soon discouragement, anxiety, even depression can quickly overcome us. (I'm speaking from recent and repeated experience.)

However, through Jesus, we can move from GUILT to GRACE, in all areas of our lives!

I started this blog by telling you that I am doing the very best I know how. And, as I learn better, I do better. I'm a huge work-in-progress. I cannot comprehend why God continues to be merciful to me each day; not only merciful, but gracious. I can plainly see how undeserving I am of His goodness. 

Yet, He loves me still.

And I am to be a reflection of that love. To others, and here's the kicker, to myself as well.

Less guilt. More grace.

Last week, I was able to glean from several kindred Mommas in a private Facebook Group as we discussed this idea of mom guilt. One particular comment from Annie really struck a chord in my heart. 

"It is hard, mom guilt is real, but so are our dreams."

I have been pondering that for days now. There's this thing about dreams... they seem too good to be true. But, why? Why can't our dreams come true? For me, when I really dug deep, it boiled down to fear. Fear that I can't achieve a dream. Fear that I might fail while pursuing a dream. Fear of giving up things to accomplish a dream. Fear of other people's opinions about my dream. Fear that I'm not even worthy to dream.

Ugh! The spirit of fear is not of the Lord! Remember 2 Timothy 1:7?

β€œFor God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

That's the kind of place I want Mom Photo Balm to be for you, dear friend. I want all that you see and learn here to be like a healing ointment. I want to speak Truth into your heart, surround you with Love, and witness the Power of God move as we document and share His story of mercy and grace unfolding in each of our lives.

You can do this with the heartfelt images you capture with your own camera!

I'm here to help you. Let's chat LIVE ON INSTAGRAM tomorrow, and LIVE ON FACEBOOK this Thursday. (I'm also here, too.) If this post has been an encouragement to you, or you think it might resonate with others, please feel free to share it! After all...

Friendship is the finest balm,