Have you guys missed our friend Jane Jarrell? I sure have… so I tapped her for a guest post this week. Here are a few of her wise words to encourage moms that work in and outside the home. Listen, even if you aren’t paid by an employer right now, you’re still working and more than likely pressed from many sides to feel guilty about one thing or another.
Thanks as always for sharing, Jane! … and thanks for walking the road with me.
At work, you think of the children you’ve left at home
At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished.
– Golda Meir
Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
– Colossians 3:23
The Guilt Trip
Guilt baggage comes standard in motherhood, with a wide assortment of shades and sizes. Balancing work + marriage + financial needs + family + church + extracurricular activities = guilt. Add your own variables to fit your personal equation. Ultimately life’s demands take their overwhelming toll on our very existence, leaving us burdened with a load of guilt.
What is the toll guilt takes on our lives? Author Harriet Lerner explains in her book, The Mother Dance, “Guilt keeps mothers narrowly focused on the question, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and prevents us from becoming effective agents of personal and social change.” Needless to say, we could all fly a little higher if we weren’t weighed down by the heaviness of guilt.
Ultimately, at the end of the road, each of us must be able to know in our hearts that we are in the place God wants us to be, for in that place we find peace and confidence.
In any battle, it is important to know who the enemy is and who it is not. The enemy is not our family, and the enemy is not our work. The enemy is the feeling of guilt in our heads, and it tends to play itself out through circumstances and people. As we deal with this detrimental enemy, our first step is to identify it.
Discover the Source of Guilt
What presses your guilt button? Could it be when your child says, “Why do you always have to work late?” Or perhaps it’s one of those questions from your boss like, “Your kid is sick again? Wasn’t he sick last week?” The guilt button may be pushed when your son says, “You never have time to help me with my homework.” The tough reality is you know he’s right, but there’s little you can do about it when you’re struggling just to finish your own workload.
It can hit us from all sides of life. Even our pets can make us feel guilty for not giving them the attention they deserve! Guilt is that relentless inner voice that chips away at our conscience as we attempt to do the best we can at work and at home. With our natural bent to nurture others, women are especially gifted in the guilt game.
Whether it is self-imposed or true guilt we must handle it in a healthy way. We can either demolish it or deal with it, but if we pretend it isn’t there and stuff it deep down inside; it will eventually erupt like a volcano spewing out anger, resentment and frustration.
As we learn to respond in love instead of react in guilty anger, we begin to change the attitude in the home. Let’s face it; mom often sets the tone of the home. We have the power to build understanding and acceptance, and we have the power to fuel anger and resentment. Solomon said, “A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears her down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).” Let’s be builders of our homes by our positive responses to the darts of guilt.
Our goal is to come to a place of peace with ourselves and with God as far as what we are doing and why. For some, it comes down to the fact of financial need. For others, the reason they work is because God has given them an ability, gift or talent that they know God is leading them to use in the workplace. Who can determine if working outside the home is right or wrong? We can’t answer that question for you. This is a question that must be answered between you and God.
All moms are going to live with a certain amount of guilt. It’s part of dealing with the responsibilities of being a working mother, and let’s face it, inside or outside the home we are all working mothers. But positive moms find freedom by learning to distinguish between true guilt and false guilt. We learn where we need to grow and move past the accusations of the impossible. We can choose to struggle with guilt, but not allow it to strangle our God-given purpose. So let’s pack our bags for the land of Peace and Confidence and leave the guilt trip behind!
10 Ways to For-Go the Guilt
- · Recognize God uses the rough spots to help you and your children grow.
- · Pray and ask God’s help and direction.
- · Discern false guilt from the real thing.
- · Call another working mother to get a clear perspective.
- · Respond, but don’t react when others make you feel guilty.
- · Realize you can’t do it all.
- · Assess who it is you are trying to please.
- · Know and live your priorities.
- · Identify the real problem.
- · Accentuate the positives; eliminate the negatives.