Category: Christian Parenting

Mom Guilt


Mom guilt is when you don’t feed your kid the highest quality organic food, or they’re not dressed as cute as that kid, or “I’m not making enough breastmilk”, and THEN IT ALL SPIRALS INTO, “I’M A TERRIBLE MOTHER!”‘

Dad guilt exists, too. And it can be paralyzing.

We talked to Buz Mayo about this in the Christian Parenting Podcast around 22:00 in:

It all goes to comparison, and it’s a terrible thing for all of us…We have to know from our God that He has made us and He has given us these chidlren and He belives that we are enough – with Him – to raise them well.

No one knows what to do when they have their child the first time. It is a huge adventure and it requires great dependency on God, but we live in a culture where we’ve been trained and marinated in a sauce that says we have to be independent.

So it’s a big shift for a parent to be even asking God the question “would you help me learn to be dependent on you and not compare myself to these 47 other people.”

The sin of comparison can be crippling.

I first heard this concept from Matt Chandler at the Village Church:

The first bucket where we will find most of the sins of women is the bucket of comparison. The second bucket we will find most of the sins of women would be called perfectionism. As men are prone to selfish passivity and selfish aggression, women are prone to the disordered desires of comparison and perfectionism, and both of those lead to a type of darkness and destruction as to erode the very feminine soul, so women will carry with them under the weight of comparison and perfectionism the stench of death just like men carrying and walking in selfish passivity and selfish aggression will reek of death.

Remember, as Buz said, God believes that we are enough – with Him – to raise our kids well:

As I’m leaning to invite Jesus more into everyday and every hour and to yield, we have to trust and believe that there is far more at work in our parenting than we are aware of.

New parents: Where have you experienced mom guilt or dad guilt?

And more experienced parents: help give us proper pespective for this guilt. Do you still feel it? How does this look like now that some years have passed?


To TV or Not TV


Do you let your kids watch television?

What boundaries do you have on this in your home?

I talk about this with Buz Mayo around the 19:00-minute mark in this podcast:

When our kids were little, one of the things we probably did a pretty good job of – and partly because we were busy – is we didn’t watch television much. And when they really wanted to, they had to earn it. We tried a million different ways; they had to earn tickets to watch a half hour show, etc..but it was not the center of our home.

I don’t want the TV to be the center of the home. Pretty much every home I’ve been to – MINE INCLUDED – has the TV up on the wall in the living room and all of the seating facing directly at it.

If aliens came and saw this, they would conclude that this appliance is without a doubt the most important thing in our lives. “The humans can’t FUNCTION without it!”

But that’s a lie.

One my friends (who I don’t think uncoincidentally grew up on a farm) has a TV, but it’s stored on a wheeled cart in a closet. If he wants to watch it, he has to wheel it out and plug it all in. Just making it 38 seconds more difficult to watch cuts TV watching to nearly nothing. It goes from being the default activity to something you need to actively do.

For me, with it on the wall, the numbed-out world of TV-land is a click of a button away. But I want Jack to know that the amazing world of outside is just a few steps away!

What’s your parental view of television? I want your advice. And if you allow TV in your house, how to do you make proper boundaries? Please leave your answer in the comments


ps, We talked about this with Buz right after talking about cell phone addiction. It’s the same problem. I don’t want my kids thinking that joy = TV, or relaxation = TV, or family time = TV.

What wound does cell phone [and TV] addiction create?

Let’s just go to the inner dialogue of a child who is perhaps 4, 5, or 6. If they had the vocabulary, it might go something like this, “Hmmm, that seems to be worth a lot to daddy, to be connected to these invisible people I can’t see. I think that I’m worth LESS than who he is talking to. I think I’m worthless.” That’s a pretty deep wound.

My son already sees the phone as an important thing. I want him grabbing books and grabbing the Bible, “That is what dad carries around all the time. That is where dad goes for joy. That is where dad goes to relax. That is the center of our family’s life.


“I know, daddy! He needs a wallet and a cell phone!”

A man asked his 6-year-old son, “Noah, what do you think a man needs in this world to succeed and be a really good man?”

He responded, “I know daddy! He needs a wallet and a cell phone.”

This answer sent dad on a journey on what it means to be a man and father.
If a kid thinks a wallet and cell phone are critical, it tells us that something is amiss.

In Episode 1 of the Christian Parenting podcast, I asked Buz Mayo if he had any regrets as a dad (~12:00):

I carried a lot of anger inside of me, I was a nice angry man for a couple of decades…I was not a yeller at the kids, but I’m sure that my anger came out in ways – either facially or they could feel it – so that’s a regret. I didn’t know what to do with that [anger], I haven’t known what to do with that for the last 15-20 years of my life. As a 60-year-old man, I continue to grow and learn who God is and who I am in relation to Him.

I’ve never heard of a nice angry man before. What is that?

I thought my purpose in life for a long time as to be the world’s nicest guy…Just be tame, be good, behave well, and be nice. And I would say now that I see that very differently. Trying to be nice – and you run into people who are evil or annoying at best – being nice becomes a facade. So I lived a great many years with a mask as a not very genuine person.

Kids feel this. Kids are perceptive. They can feel when things are out of balance.

I think of this scene from The Family Man where the little girl could just tell that this man wasn’t really her dad:

But don’t despair! I also believe our kids – like the little girl in the movie – are resilient and forgiving. She was willing to help and be patient with her “dad” until he found his true self.
What regret as a dad do you have?

Mine is my cell phone addiction. This is something we’ve talked about with nearly every guest on the Podcast, so we’re going to build a compilation of advice and insight, but this is a great start from Buz [~17:00]:

When [parents] are on their cell phone and addicted – like almost every human who has a smartphone – the kids FEEL it; whatever is on that cell phone is more important than they are. Parents need to become aware of the impact they’re having by telling Johnny or Suzie, “Be quiet, because I’m on the phone.” Yes, kids need to obey. Yes kids to be respectful, but if they’re always second fiddle to an electronic device, that does something to the inner part of their soul that they don’t even know.

Foolish things on my phone distract me away from my boy and our precious time together. I will NEVER look back in 50 years and wish I checked my text messages more often or responded to an E-mail right away. But I will want to relive every flash of eye contact and every smile and every roll-around-on-the-floor that God blesses me to have with baby Jack.

When you ask your kids what a man needs in this world to be a really good man, what do you want them to say?

CLICK HERE to listen to the entire podcast. The section we talked about in this post starts around 15:00