The Scrupulous Mother: Symptoms and Suggestions

 via Shutterstock.

via Shutterstock.

Do you obsessively worry about your parenting prowess? Do you constantly second-guess your decisions? Do you envy others in their “chill” approach to parenting? Do you wish you weren’t plagued by so many doubts and compulsive attempts to be the perfect parent?

If so, you might be experiencing scrupulosity. Welcome to the club!

What is a scruple? St. Alphonsus Liguori explains in his book Moral Theology that a conscience is scrupulous when, for a frivolous reason and without rational basis, there is a frequent fear of sin even though in reality there is no sin at all.

A scruple is a defective understanding of something. A scruple is when you look at your actions and think:

“That’s sinful. Was I sinful in doing that? Should I confess it? I think it must be mortal sin! What would Dr. Guru do? Or the other Dr. Guru? Maybe I should sign Junior up for Underwater Ballet lessons—that would make everything better…”

…whereas other people think:

“That’s not a sin! You’re exaggerating its significance! It’s morally neutral! You’re doing the best you can, honey! Let up on yourself! Your kid is going to be fine. Bless your heart, but you need to look up the definition of mortal sin again.”