The Pity of Perfectionism- How to Overcome Mom Guilt

We are not perfect mothers. Some days the example we set for our children leaves a lot to be desired. This can leave us feeling defeated and inadequate. The enemy whispers in our ear that we are doing a miserable job trying to set a Christ-like image for our children to follow.

What should our response be? Should it be to wallow in our failure and surrender in defeat? To say this is who we are and there is nothing we can do about it? Take our stick-on name tag that says ‘Failure’ and upgrade it to an engraved marble nameplate?

Far from it! The mistakes we make in front of our children are NECESSARY to setting a precedent of how to live a life surrendered to Christ. We can embrace our weaknesses as opportunities to point our children to the one example that is worthy of our emulation. If we model perfection, we set our children us for failure. Our children need to see an imperfect mother who is in the constant work of surrendering her shortcomings to a loving and forgiving God. Only then will they learn to walk in victory even when they make mistakes, which they will. I can’t think of a much better example to set than that! Rather than raise an impossibly high bar of perfection for our children to match, let’s demonstrate the power of walking in humility and gratitude for the grace God has generously poured out on us. 

How can we do this on a practical level?

  1. Don’t try to cover up mistakes, but admit when we fall short. 

  2. Ask for forgiveness from God and any other individuals we have hurt in our sin. And yes, our children are included in that list!

  3. If our children were watching when we made the mistake, make sure they are around when we make it right.

  4. Explain to our kids that we are not perfect, but that in our weakness, God is our strength. People will always make mistakes, which is why it is important to look to God and His Word for direction rather than the examples of those around us.

  5. Don’t pitch a tent for guilt or shame to take up residence, but embrace the freedom that God offers with forgiveness. Anything less is an attempt from the enemy to alter our true identity.

It’s time to change our name tag. If necessary, say this out loud! (Don’t worry, as moms we are expected to talk to ourselves.)

I’m not an inadequate mother because I’m not a perfect example for my kids.

I’m the mother who understands the power of exemplifying a surrendered life.


Let’s get practical:

  1. Instead of trying to be perfect, how can I use my mistakes to teach my children what it looks like to humbly ask for forgiveness from God and walk in freedom?

  2. What is one fault that I can ask my children to forgive today?

  3. Write this on a note and put it somewhere where you tend toward that same negative behavior. Maybe it is on the visor in your car where you have words to say about the other drivers, maybe in the laundry room where you seethe over piles of laundry, or on your child’s bedroom door where you lose your temper at the mess. 

A mother worth modeling 

is one who exemplifies repentance, 

not perfection.

A mother worth modeling is one who exemplifies forgiveness, not perfection. (1).png
A mother worth modeling is one who exemplifies forgiveness, not perfection. (2).png
A mother worth modeling is one who exemplifies forgiveness, not perfection..png