Mommy Makes Mistakes

[This was a post recently featured on MormonMommyBlogs, I thought I would share it with you all, and of course a recent picture of my E.]

When I imagined being a mom, I knew there would be worry, and I expected hardships. What I never imagined is that it would be accompanied by the constant, burdensome, and nagging nuisance named guilt. I often wonder if I'm the only mom that receives frequent visits from this "nagging nuisance," which seems determined to make me feel like a failure and crush my dreams of becoming mother of the year, every year for the rest of my life.

Most of the things I feel guilty about aren't life-altering or character-changing. After all, my little E has only spent 9 baby months in my care. Even so, I still feel the guilt. The first time he fell and hit his head, it was obviously my careless fault. Undoubtedly, I had caused permanent damage. The first time I raised my voice in front of him, I had surely caused him to forge an everlasting opinion of me as his angry and uncompassionate mother. Due to our current financial circumstances, I'm working part-time. This has to mean that I'm spending too much time away from him, which will cause him to feel severe neglect and will most definitely result in lifelong feelings of deprivation. I once became busy and realized that it was 30 minutes past the time I was supposed to feed him. I was sure he would soon become lethargic and the authorities would be on their way to pick me up on account of alleged malnutrition.

Mistake after mistake, I have found myself feeling like quite a screw-up in the department of motherhood. After much self reflection, however, I realized something. Maybe the fact that I feel so badly about even the smallest things makes me a good mom, not a bad one. After all, if I didn't care so darn much about being the best mom I can be, none of it would matter.

Here's what I've learned: I've learned to forgive myself. How will my son ever grow up to learn about the importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the importance of forgiveness if I'm so busy beating myself up over every tiny mistake I make with him?

I truly believe that children can sense negativity. I want my son to recognize that it's ok to make mistakes and it's important to not only forgive others but also to forgive ourselves. Who better for him to learn this concept from than his mom? So the next time I forget his diaper bag on a day trip to Grandma's (yes, I've done this) or forget to clean behind his ears, I can say, "It's ok, Sarah. I forgive you." And so will little E.

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carissa @ lowercase letters said...

beautiful post, sarah! i can completely relate... i'm learning to give myself more grace! and praise the Lord for his unending grace! it's beautiful that we get to help mold and shape our little blessings and teach them all about Jesus!

Chelsea said...

Hi Sarah--your little guy is sure adorable! I think he looks so much like your brother Issaic too.

Megan said...

Great post!

Mykell said...

Oh Sarah, it only gets harder as they get older and as you have more kids. As a "seasoned" mom I have learned that guilt is a distraction that Satan uses to keep you from fulfilling your calling as a mom in the last days to the fullest! I devote so much time to Emmet and McCoy that Hays and Payton dont get the attention that they need, imagine the guilt that I carry for that. But I also know that Aaron and I are raising two kids that are helping to shape the younger two, and I am so proud of them. So your guilt also comes with pride as you realize how awesome they are! hang in here and stop sweating the little stuff, none of it matters!!

Marie said...

Great post - no wonder it was featured!

Claire said...

You're soooo right!

Amy Bowman said...

amen, amen, amen!!
The enemy uses guilt in HUGE ways when it comes to us mommies! My study group were just discussing that this week...this is one reason why he is called "The Accuser" Damn him...literally!

Aubrey Anne said...

Oh, honey, that's exactly what being a mother is all about. Congratulations, you are doing it right! lol Mistakes are the only way we learn, and the more you make, the faster you're learning. Our children aren't meant to think we are faultless, that would give them unreasonable expectations of what it means to be an adult and a parent. :) The guilt can be good - it ensures you learn from your mistake - but don't beat yourself up over minor things. You are just a woman, and he is just a boy. You're doing an awesome job (wayyyy better than me!) and you're absolutely right about how he'll learn about the Atonement. Thanks for sharing!