Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Guilt, Begone

For some reason, I rarely feel that I've done enough. Enough for what, you ask? Just...enough. There's always more to be done, always something I could be doing better at. And there's always plenty of guilt to wallow in because of all the things that I haven't done that I could have, if I hadn't wasted all that time doing something I wanted to do instead.

Welcome to motherhood, right?

But I don't feel guilty today. Today I got dressed in actual clothes instead of workout gear. I cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, did laundry (including that leaf-infested afghan), and vacuumed. I felt productive. Mr. Blue cleaned the toilet (splashing water all over the floor) and the mirror (leaving streaks on it.) But hey, I'm glad he wants to help since I know the desire is short-lived.

Then I took Mr. Blue to Target to buy him some Valentines to give away at school tomorrow. He insisted on bringing his 4.00 to buy something. But everything at his eye level was too expensive. I wasn't going to buy him a $20.00 helicopter when his birthday is in two weeks and that's what my mom is getting him. He didn't understand that, of course, so he had a wall-eyed hissy fit all the way through the store and while I bought the Valentines (which turned out to be a sticker-puzzle that is way too complicated for his age group. Awesome.) After all that, I suggested we share a soft pretzel and a cherry Icee. I had to choke down the last third of the pretzel when my little darling decided he wanted to buy a small toy monster truck after all.

Great, I said. We went back to the toy section (avoiding the helicopter aisle) and got the one he wanted. By the time we got home, he wanted to do the puzzle on the Valentine (ALL BY SELF, as usual) and watch monster trucks on You Tube and then he wanted to go back to the store to buy a different truck and then he was crying again.

I diagnosed him as tired and I was right--he didn't protest taking his nap. And after reviewing the morning's events (I didn't even tell you about the elaborate getting-in-the-car ritual that we are well advised to follow), that's when I decided that I deserve every break I give myself, and I don't feel guilty about it at all.



  1. You've inspired me to buy that purse I've wanted for months and not feel guilty about it. Thank you!!!!

  2. Loved the description of the hissy-fit. I identified with it SO MUCH!

  3. Amen! Take all the guilt-free breaks you can!! Guilt has become a natural part of motherhood, largely due to today's climate of overparenting. As for the fact you & I seemed to be born feeling guilty for not being/doing enough.... that's a different problem. :-) -- Leann

  4. At least he didn't fight the tired.... my girls almost ALWAYS get so cantankerous when they're tired but then WILL NOT sleep...

    Good for you for going guilt-free!!!

  5. Guilty is the enemy of us all, don't you think? Whatever the situation we feel guilty. I specialize in mother guilt. One of my friends specializes in parent guilt (her parents really pull her strings). We both are getting great help from this great book, Escaping Toxic Guilt by Susan Carrell. It covers eight really common guilty-inducing situations, including kids -- of course! -- and being "indentured" to your parents. This book has really helped both of us deal with our guilt. Give it a read -- then enjoy naptime.

  6. Good. for. you. Life is far too short (and full of ridiculousness) to spend time on guilt.

  7. You'd have been right in your diagnosis even if he had protested taking the nap. That would be, like, being rational. I know lots of adults who can't manage a whole lot of "sensible" when they're tired...