Two Ways to Overcome Mom-Guilt

By Hannah Price

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By Dannah Gresh, Founder of True Girl.

49% of Christian moms feel stressed about spending quality time with their children.*

Lately, I’ve been feeling the mom guilt when it comes to not having enough time to invest in the lives of each of my young adult children. I deeply desire to be a legacy-leaving woman of God, but looming deadlines and financial crunch pull at me. 

This isn’t new. It’s a familiar tug-of-war that I have felt since my children were babies. 

The fact is, the hours we have are finite. 

I find all of the demands of motherhood usually outweigh my own personal capacity in some way, shape, or form.

Do you feel it?

Maybe you experience one of these:

  • Poverty of sleep. (That one always makes me grumpy.)
  • Poverty of a partner. (Hey, single mom. I see you!)
  • Poverty of _______________ (Fill in the blank.)

What’s an overwhelmed mom to do?

Well, I came across something recently that encouraged me. I’d like to share this life hack with you. Because it works.

If you google “busy moms,” you’ll come up with lots of practical self-help ideas. “Practice self-care.” “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” “Keep a family calendar.” “Hire a teenage role model for your kids.” All of these ideas are reasonable. None of them is sufficient.

But through the years, I’ve practiced one idea that is sufficient. And I was reminded of it when I was studying the life of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus. 

Now, Mary was a teen mom, she was not married, though. She was betrothed which is something between engaged and married. She had to move from place to place to keep her baby safe. I can guess that she felt the stress of being a busy mom with not enough time and money, but I don’t have to hypothesize. It’s written down for us.

Let me show you.

According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses. (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15) In Luke 2, we read that Mary and Joseph offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord— “either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 

Full stop!

That is some very important information. Do you know what it meant that they brought birds as an offering? It meant that Mary was probably feeling the full sting of “not enough.” Usually, the sacrifice offered was a lamb. Leviticus 5:7 instructed, “If you cannot afford to bring a sheep, you may bring to the Lord two turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 

Mary and Joseph were poor. 

I find myself drawing comfort from this little nugget of information in God’s Word. And, within this narrative of their coming to the Temple with Jesus, I also discover the courage to do two things that truly do sustain me when I feel too busy or become aware of my own “not enough-ness.” 

  • Obey the Lord

Mary was obeying God’s Word when she came to the Temple. We can do the same. We can practice Sabbath when we feel like we have to keep the world spinning. Our mouths can practice gentleness even if we feel stressed. Our hands can practice helpfulness in spite of our own need. As we obey the Lord, He will bring clarity to what we should and should not be doing. And guess what? Obeying the Lord brings peace. (Job 22:21) 

  • Bring what you do have.

Mary and Joseph didn’t have a lamb to bring as a sacrifice. (Ironically, though, they did have the Lamb of God in their arms.) But they didn’t let that keep them from bringing to God what they did have: itty, bitty birds. (These would have been an announcement of their poverty to all who saw them.) Mary and Joseph brought what they did have.

It’s tempting to fixate on our shortcomings. But let’s not forget, that our God can make something out of nothing. Imagine what He can do with our little.

So, bring what you do have.

Last week, I had a mere thirty minutes to string together on a Sunday afternoon. And two kids with very different and rather complex challenges. I knew I could not possibly fix these two big problems in the time I had, but I could dedicate that time to the Lord. So, I prayed, “Lord, this half-hour is Yours. Do with it what You will to accomplish what You want.” Two quick phone calls later, I’d advised those children. Within the week, God moved in ways I never could and did some seemingly impossible things. 

Feel free to address your mom-stress with the self-help and practice tid-bits of advice that you find online. They aren’t bad ideas and sometimes they are downright useful. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are the ultimate solution. Only Jesus is that. So, walk in obedience and bring Him what you do have! 

*Source: Risen Motherhood 2022 Survey


Go deeper into the life of Mary.

Do you have a daughter who might like to learn to study her Bible along with you? True Girl has released an all-new study on the life of Mary for girls ages 8–12. Mary: Becoming a Girl of Faithfulness helps you and your daughter explore true faithfulness. In a “live your truth” world, you and your daughter can embrace the concept of being faithful to God’s plan. You can even sign up to go through the study online with Dannah Gresh and Staci Rudolph! 

Mary Podcast: 

Does your daughter ever struggle with quitting? Maybe her closet is overflowing with the clarinet she promised to play forever, the ice skates that she knew were going to take her to the Olympics, and the paint kit that was sure to make her the next Picasso. In a world where quitting is normal, does staying-power matter? Season 10 of the True Girl podcast invites your daughter to become a girl of faithfulness. Dannah Gresh & Staci Rudolph will take her on a camping adventure to learn this important character quality from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus.




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