Mom guilt and the pastor's wife

Mom guilt and the pastor’s wife

Mom guilt and the pastor’s wife is real!

I had chances to practice what I “preach” from my First Lady blog pulpit and I received a self-imposed failing grade. Mom guilt and the senior pastor’s wife is a real!

Just to be clear, I am married to a senior pastor. I’m what some folks call a pastor’s wife, others call a senior pastor’s wife and what most in my community call a first lady of a church.
I am not a pastor, minister or anything similar (thank the Lord!).
The afore statement is intended to be a joke. Nothing more.

Ok. With that clarified, I was, indeed, tested and I earned only about a D-.  The worse part is I’d just written a post about keeping first things first. When I had my own “test”, I was all muddled and wished I had a cheat sheet.

The Fungus is Among us! A Fever in my house!

It all started when my 10-year-old spiked a fever on Friday.  It’s no wonder. His school has been a living, breathing petri dish for weeks.

Well, it was finally his turn.

The doctor gave him the pink stuff (properly called amoxicillin in medical circles).
Ibuprofen was keeping the fever at bay and he was on the road to recovery.

Cinderella can’t go to the Ball

Saturday, the next day was our church’s Valentine’s Day Ball. It’s a time when the married couples come together to enjoy a romantic night with their mates.  We also fellowship with other couples while enjoying wonderful music and a delicious meal.  This semi-formal event makes for an elegant evening.

With a sigh, I delivered the bad news to my husband. Only a simple text would do in a moment like this:

“Honey, I can’t go to the Ball.  I can’t leave John”.

The reply was

Mom guilt and the pastor's wife

Big baby.

Decision made. I was staying home.

As the late afternoon went on, I noticed he was doing much better. I had to remind him to stay in bed.

But, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I saw his little butt sneaking around the hallway to shoot his older brother, Ben, in the backside with a Nerf bullet.

Yep, John was feeling better and his head felt cool to the touch.

My gut still told me to stay home with him. “How can I get all dressed up and leave him tonight?” I asked my adult son, Ben.

In his usually logical way, he waved off my concerns and reassured me he can take care of John for two hours.

“Mom, he’s doing better and running around.  You and dad go and have a good time. I’ve got him.”

Besides, Ben’s admonitions, I knew the marriage ministry worked so hard to deliver a memorable evening. I felt bad not going to support them.

Leaving for the evening still felt a little wrong, but I decided to go.

Dunh Dunh Dunh Dunh Dunh Dunh Dunh Dunh

The music from “Mission Impossible” commenced playing in my head.

The Ball started at 7:00. It was 6:15.

Cinderella had no dress, no pantyhose (yes, I still wear them), no shoes and I was almost totally out of foundation makeup.

Could I pull it off?  The eternal procrastinator, I had planned to get my dress earlier in the day and since I hadn’t I was in for a doozy of a challenge.

I texted my husband the good news.  He was elated.

In my car (which happened to be low on gas), I darted to Macy’s for a dress… any dress! No luck.

Time was ticking. It was 6:30!

I dashed to the shoe department.  Bingo!  Found a great pair!

I then rushed to the jewelry department for a statement necklace. No dice.

Thankfully Charming Charlie was nearby. That’s where I headed  – to no avail. They had nothing…at least nothing I wanted.

DSW wasn’t far away. Sometimes, they have great accessory jewelry, so off I went. Nope.

Like one of those people on the “Amazing Race”, I frantically hurried to Ulta for my makeup. Surely I could find that! I did. Don’t you just love Ulta? Ok, that’s another blog post.

The low gas indicator light on my car was now flashing.

I had to stop at the gas station. Boy, what a time-killer!

It’s now about 6:50 and I was back home. Remember, this thing starts at 7:00 and we live about 25 minutes away.


I darted up the stairs and ran to my closet.

One of my mentors had an amazing sense of fashion!  She forecasted my life better than I ever could and ensured I had something to wear in these type of formal situations. I lost her a short while ago and finding a dress from my spiritual “big sister” was as though she took a break from heaven to help me.

mom guilt pastors wives

So, Prince Charming and I were off to the Ball in a shiny black chariot.  He grabbed my hand and smiled. Still a little apprehensive, I was glad he was happy.

Throughout the evening, I ate, chatted with other couples and enjoyed sweet stolen moments with my husband.

A text to my oldest son revealed all was well. I exhaled. It was a terrific evening.

“Mom, his temp is 101 again”

However, when we arrived home, Ben looked at us like “oh boy”.

You guessed it.  Little John’s temp had spiked.

“Hello, guilt.  What took you so long? “

I wanted to cry.  How could I have left him?

His fever continued to worsen over the days and so did my mom guilt.  It was like ocean waves sweeping over me Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and today, Wednesday. The guilt was about as uncomfortable as my shoes that night… and not as cute!

Mom guilt and the pastor's wife

Thanks, PsychCentral  for “The Pros and Cons of Mother Guilt by Marie Hartwell-Walker. Ed.D.

PsychCentral.Com says “guilt eats at us during the quiet times, before bed at night and when we get up in the morning”. Boy, was Dr. Hartwell-Walker right! Mine did just that.

My little boy knows I love him.  But, I felt so doggedly guilty. Mom guilt and the pastor’s wife is excruciating.

To make matters worse, the funeral for a church mother was during my little guy’s sickest time.  Needless to say,  I felt guilty about missing her funeral too!

The same article on PsychCentral.Com says “Guilt, even a little guilt, is a heavy burden to bear”.  Reading that line really helped me.

The Lord doesn’t want me to carry burdens.  Get outta here!

The only one who wants me feeling guilty is the enemy of my soul. He uses guilt (and my own insecurities) as a distraction and an emotional torment. I’m a Christian, I know better. I know how to choose better.

I love that Jesus invited me to swap burdens with Him and His burden is light. Check out Matthew 11:28-30.  I’d prefer His light burden to my heavy guilty one any day of the week!

So, I released myself from my mom guilt as a pastor’s wife. Mother Carter, the church mother who went to be with the Lord, knew very well that I loved her. I gave her evidence during the most important time – when she was alive.

I’m always touting “I can’t be all things to all people”.  Sometimes, one’s own advice is the hardest to follow.  Oh well.  I’m a work in progress just like you. Lesson learned.

Guilt eliminated and I’ve bumped my grade from a D- to a C+. Next time, I’ll follow my gut and stay home when my kiddo has a temp. But, all in all, I did the best I could.  That’s the best we can all do, right?

Have you struggled with mom guilt?

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Pastors Children and Guilt

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47152: Mothering Without Guilt: A Mom"s Ordinary Day Bible Study Series Mothering Without Guilt: A Mom’s Ordinary Day Bible Study Series
Married to a is a blog for pastors wives focused on offering encouragement for a pastor’s wife as well as insight on being a pastor’s wife…from one pastor’s wife to another.
By Zondervan Motherhood and guilt go together like peanut butter and jelly. You feel guilty for not making organic baby food, not keeping up with your scrapbook… and don’t forget your cluttered house. Does it ever end? Yes, starting now. This study confronts guilt head-on. It will set your heart free to love, laugh, create, and cuddle, and to play and pray with your children. You’ll meet new mentors–biblical women who model the possibilities of guilt-free mothering. As you confront your own guilt, be it over real failures or unrealistic expectations, you will find wonderful opportunities to connect with God. His love banishes all guilt and guides you into freedom in motherhood and all of life.


  1. Oh, it’s so true!

    “The only one who wants me feeling guilty is the enemy of my soul. He uses guilt (and my own insecurities) as a distraction and an emotional torment. I’m a Christian, I know better. I know how to choose better.”

    Such a valuable reminder to all of us – I need to review this when I wake up at 3AM ! 🙂

  2. I am a pastor’s daughter and I have experienced guilt even as a daughter. His yoke is light and yet I tend to carry my burden all on my own.Thank you for the reminder

    God bless

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