On some level, I believe all women struggle with guilt, and, when we become mothers, I think the condition only worsens. I was a very different person before I married and had my son. I was always dressed impeccably, had my hair done once a month, and never missed a pedicure or manicure. I knew I’d worked very hard and believed I’d earned these simple indulgences.
In short, I thought like a man.
Trust me when I say that men do not feel guilty about relaxing in front of the TV when there is a sink full of dirty dishes. Rare is the man who puts aside getting himself dressed until he’s fully satisfied his toddler’s clothes all match. Most of the time, my husband isn’t even bothered if the toddler’s clothes even fit.
Just an aside…
I have NO idea how my husband does this. I regularly cull through The Spawn’s clothes and pull out what is out of season or no longer fits. Then when I delegate “dressing The Spawn” to Hubby, he somehow manages to dress our toddler in the ONE 18 mo shirt I missed and swim trunks…for church. I love my husband, and have THE BEST husband in the world, but seriously????
Believe me when I say that “clothes not fitting/matching” DOES NOT BOTHER A MAN. Neither do a handful of other things…
I recall, years ago, being a bit judgy when I’d see some frazzled mom, her hair (much in need of a dye job) pulled back in a scrunchee. I’d think, Good grief. Yoga pants and stained t-shirt? Does this woman even TRY? Her kids aren’t even wearing clothes that match. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Be careful how you judge, and, as my mother warns…NEVER WONDER.
I Deserved It
I look back at the way I used to judge struggling moms and I now know that I deserve this. I recall thinking, She’s married. Why doesn’t she just get her husband to dress the kids while she does something with THAT HAIR?
Now I know. I didn’t listen to Mom.
NOW I know that this mom probably did delegate. She probably managed to get her hair in a scrunchee just as she caught sight of her husband dressing their kids for church in their bathing trunks and part of their Halloween costumes. This mom then likely stopped doing her hair to intervene and at least get the kids in regular clothes.
Actually, this mother likely would have even had her child’s clothes all matching, but she forgot to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Why did she forget? Because she heard the crash from her toddler unsuccessfully trying to scale the cat’s scratching post. And, by the time she stopped the bleeding, she’d long forgotten about the clothes…and this is why she is in yoga pants and the kids are still wearing their Halloween costumes…in MARCH!!! So just back the hell off!
I never feel like I am doing enough. Though I practically live in an apron, I can’t seem to ever feel caught up. My house isn’t clean enough, and I don’t read for an hour a day to my child and teach him French and art appreciation.
Then we have the magazines full of starlets posing in bikinis three days after they give birth. Despite working out with a trainer and living gluten-free, dairy-free, almost carb-free, I still can’t even wear my pregnancy pants. At a size ten, it is easy to feel like a lazy slacker because I’m not a size 0.
When did 0 become a SIZE?
Oh, but THIS is the standard. Terese Guidici right after giving birth. Yep, I hate her, too.
I need to get the gym more *scribbles on list.*
Regular Guilt is Bad Enough
Okay, I admit that I need to work on the guilt thing. I should be able to wear makeup without thinking that those 15 minutes would be better served sorting the recycling.
Crap! I threw away that jelly jar in the REGULAR trash. I’m destroying the planet! Worse, I am teaching The Spawn that it is OKAY TO DESTROY THE PLANET!
Most women (okay, maybe just me) already feel like we are not doing enough. If we have a choice of a day at a spa or a day baking for the church or school, donating stuff from the garage to the needy, or volunteering to shuttle Great-Great-Great-Aunt Thelma who’s 97 to CVS for discount butt cream, you can count on us for the cheapest butt cream in town.
Wal mart will price match.
But then there is Super Guilt. Super Guilt is often inflicted by strangers who don’t know diddly about our lives, but they feel they need to be extra judgy because they are your Facebook “friend.” I love social media. I love my WANA peeps and you guys make every day a joy. But then there are those other people…
Can I Donate My Kidneys? I Have One Extra
November was really hard. I work from home, and most of the time, I do this work with a toddler trying to scale my head…when he isn’t destroying the rooms I just cleaned (and yes, I make him pick up, but I have to stand there and hand-hold this grueling process of making my child a better, tidier citizen). Anyway, I worked all of November without a day off, often stranded in airports. I did the working Mommy thing all week then was on the road speaking and teaching in a new city every weekend.
I love what I do and serving writers is ALWAYS a joy, albeit a lot of work.
Anyway, I hadn’t had a haircut since the summer, and, having naturally wavy hair, I was looking like the cat sucked on my head. I’d spent the week cleaning and sorting and three days cooking gluten-free, dairy-free, organic dishes for Thanksgiving (after stumbling in from a late flight at midnight on Sunday/Monday).
In fact, I’d been so busy cooking and cleaning, I almost forgot that I had an appointment for a hair cut. Since I’d been posting pictures and GF recipes on Facebook all day, I posted that I’d almost forgotten my hair appointment.
But then I got THIS comment, which I deleted.
And, yes, the commenter was male and didn’t know me beyond Facebook. Ironically, this person is also in business selling services to indie authors, which might sell better if he wasn’t a %!&*.
What I found interesting was my response to this crappy comment. Immediately, I felt bad about getting…a haircut. I felt I needed to tell him about my seven years in Rotary, and how I spearheaded an effort to send mosquito nets to Africa, water wells to Honduras, and wheelchairs to Mexico. I wanted to show him my c.v. of mission work in Syria and Belize, and my intentions to teach poor orphans in India how to read, after I taught my own child to read.
Note to self. Read more books to The Spawn.
Wait, maybe I could multitask, and teach The Spawn and the poor orphans in India at the same time. But I couldn’t, like, GO to India, because I have writers depending on me, and, besides, I couldn’t get wi-fi from the dumps in India.
Or could I?
Then I could teach writers how to blog, while teaching The Spawn and poor Indian orphans to read.
Yeah, but then I would so SUCK waving around my fancy laptop in front of kids digging through garbage for their meals. And The Spawn couldn’t go with me because then I’d be a bad mother exposing him to germs. But if I didn’t bring my child to India to read Dinosaur vs The Potty then I could be raising a narcissistic sociopath who cries when he doesn’t get a Porsche for his 15th birthday…so then he’d kill me and my husband for the insurance money.
Wait, I never got around to filling out the insurance paperwork. Got sidetracked cleaning the science experiments out of the fridge. Whew! Safe on The Spawn going all Menendez Brothers on me and Hubby.
Then I caught this STUPID thinking.
THIS was the final straw.
There was a time I would have left his comment and defended myself. And, as you can see from the image, I still did some defending. But come on! There has to be some middle ground here. I do feel very blessed. When I was in Belize, I tried to take a shower after swinging a sledgehammer and cutting rebar all day. Simple, right? The shower curtain rained SCORPIONS on me. I thank GOD for scorpion-less showers every day. In Syria, the Bedoin villages…okay, NOT going there. Just believe me when I say that every day, I say a prayer of thanks for electricity, running water, having a CAR.
But why do I feel the need to show my resume, that I DO CARE? Why do I feel sucked into this trollishness? Why am I thinking thoughts like, Well, you really only need ONE kidney, and there are people out there who need a kidney.
And why is it that I am not giving enough? Why is it wrong to want a haircut? Why does being excited about a haircut make me THIS person in John’s mind?
After the drama and angst, I can say that I’m grateful for the experience. The comment hurt, but when I saw my immediate reaction, I knew I was out of balance. I need to work on feeling good about feeling good. It is okay to be blessed so long as we remember to be grateful for those blessings and to share those blessings at every opportunity.
Sure, I could work 90 hour weeks serving even more people and teaching even more social media…but then I’d end up on a roof with a shotgun and pan of GF brownies…and it would be harder to serve others from a mental institution blubbering Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
So, I deleted the comment and wrote an embarrassing (now) and highly defensive (*head desk*) note justifying why I was allowed to have a haircut. And, looking back, I wish I could delete that, too. But I DO know that a$$hats are alive and well, and likely this won’t be the last time I’m told how I suck for not caring enough.
Next time…next time I will do better. Hey, I’m a work in progress too :D.
What about you guys? Do you suffer from guilt? Is it hard for you to rest or do things for yourself? Do you feel guilty when you do? Have you managed to find a nice balance? Could you share tips or advice? Do you think guilt is worse for women than men? Or, do you think they just experience guilt differently? Guys! I’d like to hear from you, too!
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of November I will pick a winner for the monthly prize (will announce October’s winner at the same time. Been on the road too much to effectively tally). Good luck!
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.
Oh boy. I thought I was the only one who dealt with such guilt. Glad to know I’ve got company. I think you could start yet another social media, Kristen — on GUILT! At least you make me laugh about it!
This is why I love this blog so much, although now I need to go to Belize and fix their showers. Funniest post ever!
Take your son to India. It is an amazing, wonderful place. Don’t know about the dumps but I got WiFi everywhere, even a remote hill station 7300 feet above sea level. I need a haircut, a dye job, a mannicure and pedicure, too. And I don’t have a toddler.
Oh my… Love your blog… Still laughing…
Good Job. and I recommend trying this stuff as a single mom graduate student with THREE kids. Don’t know how I survived – did do a lot of coffee, cigarettes, and beer. Guilt? Who the hell had the time for that. Now some thirty years later, I don’t smoke or drink coffee and my kids are grown–Thank the Goddess. Great blog – lots of laughs, especially the too small shirt and swim suit for church. Your spawn sure is a cutie. Thanks for brightening up my day.
Nah, never feel bad for taking care of yourself. It sets a good example for The Spawn, LOL, and keeps you sane and healthy so you can cater to us! *grin*
There’s Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi and King, and then there is “the rest of us,” who have not quite reached their level of non-defensiveness. For some reason, becoming a mom set me back miles on my journey toward enlightenment 🙂 Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in a hilarious way. And thank God that deleting is possible even on social media. And P.S. I haven’t had a hair cut since April–so I feel you, sistah!
Excellent post. Even those of us who don’t yet have kids seem to get hit regularly with the guilt steam-roller because we’re not doing enough to save the world. At least I know I feel like I’m never doing enough (and my husband tells me I’m doing too much and need to cut back).
I’m sorry that jerk made such an unkind comment. I have a pet peeve about people who like to judge others. It’s so easy to judge when you’re on the outside looking in and have no idea what people are dealing with behind closed doors. Never feel bad about taking care of yourself.
Re: Spawn’s clothing. Just wait until he can dress himself, and runs out the door so fast you don’t get to see the ensemble he put on UNTIL he gets home from school. We just went through the’ I’m going to wear the same outfit for a week’ phase, but only because school started and Sithboy has to wear a uniform.
As for the poster, I would have left it up and let the whole world see it. People will identify more with finding the time to get their hair cut, than his (obviously) condescending comment.
Seriously on the dad’s finding the small clothes thing. Hubs has that uncanny ability too. It’s like, did you think it’s the new look for five-year old boys to be showing midriff? 0_o
And *hugs* on the ridiculous comment. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family. It’s that whole plane thing–put the oxygen mask on your face first before helping your child. And for a woman, having non-cat-lick hair makes us happier, more confident versions of ourselves.
As for the global guilt trip, if we go down that track then none of us should buy anything frivolous, go on vacation, own a car or whatever. We can just give up all our worldly possessions, enter the nunnery and dedicate our lives to service and God. I wonder if your troll has had a cup 5 dollar coffee lately, gotten a haircut, or eaten a nice meal in a restaurant–that money could’ve been sent to the food banks. How selfish!
Seriously, we’re all doing the best we can. That has to be enough or we’ll all drive ourselves crazy.
Kristen, I feel like a lazy slug compared to you, and you absolutely do not need to defend yourself. #LooksAwayFromDustBunniesUnderBed
What a booger-filled ogre. And stupid. Hasn’t he SEEN the pics of you at target practice? Holding weapons that I don’t even know the name of? You could have gone all Zombie Apocalypse on his keester.
Hope your weekend is better!
Kristen darling, you poor baby. The comment you received is not your issue so don’t let it own you. We will never be made to feel we’ve done enough and the fact you do so much for others makes you an easy target for the obsession some people have to inflate their own ego. You see, it wasn’t about you, it was about him making himself higher by stepping on someone else.
You are amazing. You so inspired my by your post, I ordered your blog book and I look forward to the help it will provide me in reading it.
Love you Kristen Lamb. You are an amazing influence and guidance and God gives you those blessings. It would be wrong for us not to be grateful or allow someone else to steal the love God pours down on us in His delight in giving. He is amazing and you pattern your life to him…which is why you’ve been given the heart you have in the things you have done.
That sucks that he said that. You should never feel guilty about being in a stable home, especially when you and your husband worked for that life.
I’m so excited, though, because this week is my birthday, and I’m treating myself to my first ever pedicure. I’m thinking about throwing in a manicure too… And then to assuage my guilt over spending that money on myself, I’m taking the kids to see The Rise of the Guardians… Okay, that might be for me too. But they’ll love it too!
Wow! That was the most entertaining blog I’ve read in a while…because it is all SO true. I suffer the same things and then this morning, my hubby is looking at me funny and says. “You should go get your hair done, You’ve had the same do forever and you need something different.” So now I feel guilty for spending money on a hair cut AND feel guilty for not spending more time on my appearance. AAAYYYY!!!! i know he was trying to be nice, but seriously?!?
ROFL *clutches sides* I hear ya, Girl! *fist bump*
What a great post…Very funny, and very honest…
I have the same problem with feeling guilty and wanting defend myself when stupid people say stupid things.
Single father…one great kid…business, art, cook, clean, take to, pick up, find, fold, fix, finish, forget and feel like crap anyway…but somehow, mysteriously, life remains wonderful.
You deserve everything you can squeeze from your fifteen seconds of idle time.
Kristen, I LOVE this post, from the title and all the way through. Ah, yes, I can relate so well to all you’ve said here, but what I really love is the hilarious way you get your points across. And, yes, I still carry the guilt of not reading enough to my kids when they were little. I swore to make it up by reading to my grandkids, but still don’t read to Punkin enough, and here goes the guilt again! Kudos to you for all the things you cram into your days. I could never pull all that off, so go treat yourself more often.
Too funny, Kristen. Every mother I know feels guilt. That being said, if we don’t take care of ourselves, then we won’t be able to take care of others.
I doubt your male commentor has ever had to pull his hair back in a scrunchgee.
There are things I know in my head. It’s just getting them to the heart ;).
That John man just represents this horrible thing in our culture: it’s not okay to have some “me” time. Think about your co-workers reactions when someone calls in sick. And I think that’s particularly more true for women. Think about “man caves.” I’m glad you wrote a response to him, though. Someone needs to tell him. So don’t feel guilty for sticking up for yourself! haha! Damn this guilt. It’s a circle of emotions! (I don’t have a book for you to read, so don’t worry about my name in the hat). Just wanted to comment because I like your ideas here! Thanks for this! xo
Oh, shoot, I feel guilty taking the time to read your blog! I’m picking my granddaughter up from school this afternoon and we’re going to go buy fishies to replace the ones that died–possibly from overfeeding, certainly from my laizze-faire attitude. But first, we have to have a memorial service for Ugli, her former favorite fish. And before any of that happens, I have to clean out the fish tank, because whatever poisoned Ugli will brobably poison the new fishies as well. And instead, I’ve taken the time to read a funny and true blog. I was a bad mother (let my kid go to preschool EVERY DAY in a pink, ruffled party dress with OshKosh overalls underneath) and now I’m a bad grandmother. Ah, well…..
I remember this discussion on facebook. I actually typed up a comment that was three paragraphs long. It contained *clears throat* strong language. But, before I hit the button to submit, I thought about it. I remembered a battle a few months back where a certain competitor of yours was spamming the hell out of the WANA board on twitter. The moral of the story there was for us to be better people, considerate and understanding.
So I left the page without commenting. At least not in writing. I was cussing like a sailor at my laptop. You’re a gun wielding Southern woman. I’m pretty sure you can take care of yourself.
But I did, for a moment, picture you on a horse, face painted like Mel Gibson’s in Braveheart as you led your faithful WANA followers into attack. First, I might say, you sound nice with a Scottish accent. Second, I would apologize for the scene above except it took away my anger and gave me the giggles, which is usually how I deal with a stressful situations.
While I know you to be a professional through many interactions over the years, you wouldn’t unleash your fury through WANA, but if you did… please paint your face, mount your horse and wonder at the marvel of several creative folks taking aim at the next asshat.
As an aside, men should never comment on a woman’s maintenance. Not unless they’re willing to wear heels, rip hair out by the roots, groom the rest of their hair, shave a lot more of themselves and give birth. That is all I have to say about that!
Haha nice one 🙂
Love this post. I used to be like you–always trying to take care of everybody and feeling guilty that I didn’t do enough. What changed? I grew older. Somehow the perspective changes and you realize you can’t do everything. So you do the best you can. However, I still feel guilty about my sister cleaning my house after my surgery. Never mind Hubs is perfectly capable. He didn’t feel guilty at all. LOL
Kristen, you are a hoot. I loved this post! You are a wonderful woman, wife and mother, I’m sure of it. Go get your hair done & enjoy every minute of it. Just avoid picking up a copy of People magazine as I fear the post-baby bikini section will result in you trying squats and lunges in the middle of the salon. Multi-tasking is a gift many women are blessed with, but sometimes we need to switch off and take a vacation from our guilt-trips.
I need discount butt-cream. I didn’t know I did until just now.
In other news, i think its best to not try and take every problem of the world on our shoulders. It’s not how we are designed. We do what we can, and the rest is up to God. Trying to make someone feel guilty when God meets their needs sure is a weird thing to do.
We all have guilt and worries. I think women are just more transparent and men worry over different things than we do.
Guilt of not doing enough has been top of mind for me lately. The house needs a good makeover, inside and out (where the heck is the lotto fairy when you need her?), and I should be doing more cooking, more juicing, more writing, more yard work, more laundry, teaching my 20-month old granddaughter how to count, read, talk clearly, taking the dog on more walks, playing with my cats, cleaning the fish tank… wait, I’ve missed something. I know I have. See, I can’t even remember it all to get it all done! That there is proof that I need to do more, right? 🙂
My goal after the holidays (because there is just far too much chaos during the holidays to even believe I’m partially sane) is to find some ME time. We all need time to take care of ourselves and do things that just make us smile. A haircut, a pedicure, a massage, healthy lifestyle habits – these all lead to a better mental state, which in turn leads us to be at our best. And how can we help others find their own true potential if we can meet our own?
So Kristen, don’t feel bad because some bozo is jealous of your skills and success. I’m grateful you are in the position you’re in, because if you weren’t then you might not be able to give so much back to all of us. And I have learned TONS from your wise words and offerings. Now go make sure you’ve set another hair appointment for those wavy locks. 🙂
Kristen, while your world and my world are not made up of the same people or situations, I certainly connect with each and every one of your posts. In fact, they are usually the highlight of my day. While I may only know you from FB or your blog or your books, I still feel I KNOW a part of you and can certainly see that you are GENUINE! To the jerk that felt the need to judge you, tell him to go suck an egg…then go out and get your hair colored as well as cut if you want to! It’s YOUR hair and you have certainly worked hard enough and given of yourself enough (to newer writers like myself) to warrant a little pampering without having to justify it to the world. Now don’t give that person another thought and go have some fun with the Spawn…;~)
Donna L Martin
Oops…I tried to spell Kristen and my stupid fingers spelled Karen! I do apologize and it must be time for the weekend because my brain is fried…lol…
I have editing powers and already had your back ;).
This is me. Exactly me. About 3 months ago I decided I needed to get my eyebrows waxed on schedule instead of just whenever… I still haven’t gotten my eyebrows waxed. As for doing my hair? I throw it back in a bandanna and don’t think about it again until there’s shampoo in it and I’m wondering if I’ll have time to blow dry it this time. And it’ all stems from my own guilt of being a better mother/writer/everything. THANK YOU for this post. I needed it today.
As the first male commenter here, I first want to thank you for parting the curtain and showing me some of the ways women think that men never understand. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not making fun of you at all. Yes, men feel guilt. I am an acute sufferer from that disease. I think the difference (at least here) is that there’s no way I’ll feel guilt over dirty dishes (if I rinsed the plates, bowls and glasses it will be fine for the next meal – I wash them but not after every meal) or an unmade bed. A bed made up daily strikes me as the height of impracticality. If I get married my wife can make up the bed as much as she wants but I’m not even going to pretend to care. In case I sound like a caveman here, let me say that I was raised by a couple who showed each other respect for the jobs they did. My father always complimented my mother’s cooking and appreciated her housekeeping (even if he did leave his shoes beside his recliner in the living room often). He would NEVER have dressed us like you described – he knew my shy mother would have no problems letting her displeasure with such an action known. Sounds like he’s enjoying your discomfort. Let him know how you feel in an equally subtle way, say, serving him a supper of foods you know he doesn’t like. When he asks why, you can bring up your issues. I know, I’m not married and should not be giving relationship advice but you can let him know you’re not happy about it. Then try to relax; don’t care if anyone else judges you. It’s their problem, not yours.
Guilt. The gift that keeps on giving. What a jerk that guy was. And yeah, moms are particularly vulnerable to those guilt trips. A wise person once told me that good guilt propels change. Bad guilt just makes us feel bad. Hugs!
Guilt? I think that might be what I feel when my wife cries to get me to do something I don’t want to do. I just assumed it was her gift of compulsion. Maybe the same thing in this case?
I’ve always loved that you so clearly see the root of a problem. It truly is a gift, and hopefully something I can learn to cultivate within myself over time. Thank you for being so open about something that plagues us all. Feeling encouraged to do more is one thing. Living a life battered with guilt because we can’t do EVERYTHING is a completely different matter. This is a great way to point out the pain we cause ourselves by living on the wrong side of that line.
And as far as that idiot is concerned… the good news is, your character is stronger than good old John-Boy’s will ever be. WANA hugs to ya!
Guilt is like cancer. It grows at an alarming rate once the mommy gene is triggered. Having just turned 45 I realized I ‘feel’ guilty when I’m actually doing too much and I’m out of balance. I give myself permission to do less and the guilt tumor shrinks.
Gosh Kristen. You are so … human. That’s what I love about you. I’ve been where you are, so the first time I want to say is : someday you will miss this (yeah, really). 2. After the kids are grown you get your life back — and it’s better than before because this time you have financial resources. 3. Rotary — me too. You used past tense. I hope that doesn’t mean you’ve left RI — we need positive voices like yours. 4. You can get WiFi in India — if you go, it will change your life. 5. No, I’m not that old. Have a great day and remember to love yourself — it makes it easier to love others. Aloha
I think every new mother is handed a bag of guilt along with her newborn that she then totes for time eternal.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Haha, this is all sooooooooo true. What has changed in the past 20 years anyway?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Teddy Roosevelt
I think that people know this, so in an attempt to provide company for their own misery, they compare you to someone (usually a martyr) to topple you from any hill of happiness you might have scaled. My ex used to compare his parenting skills, my wifely skills, our house, home, happiness to everyone else’s. Of course he had no clue what really went on behind other people’s walls, but that didn’t stop him from letting it rob him of happiness! This man who posted probably answers all with similar comments. “Oh man, I broke my leg in a skiing accident!” **Really? I knew ten people who died in avalanches last year. You shouldn’t be complaining.** “I can’t come to your party. My child has food poisoning.” **Mother Teresa came to every party she was invited to, while tending to lepers and the dying in Calcutta. I’d think you could find a sitter who can deal with your little food poisoning.** “I’m grieving because I lost my spouse and both parents in a terrible terrorist accident that killed thousands.” **Really? Millions of Jews died in the Holocaust, so your loss really isn’t that big.** Of course I could be exaggerating.
I can totally relate. Sorry, no advice here, I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s a process of catching our thoughts and walking in truth, and letting go of what others think, say or do. But it does help to have others like you writing a blog post about it. So that we know that We Are Not Alone! Connecting with others who validate us and encourage us helps as we figure it out. Thanks!
Guilt? All my life until my 60th year but you are light years ahead of many of us, as this post so aptly and ably demonstrates. Your constant generosity inspires the rest of us to take on our own trolls, whatever or whoever they may be. You give us the confidence to push past our fears.
As for the gluten and dairy free eating? You might consider your starches–I realize you’re eating low carb–I discovered that eliminating all refined starch helped as did eliminating processed and refined sugar, if you haven’t already. My issue is different than yours but my weight dropped consistently with a minimum of exercise, and I know you really exercise. Just a thought.
Great post, Kristen.
I’m not even a mother and I still have guilt over all sorts of things. I only get my hair cut twice a year because I can’t justify spending the time and money on it (Hubs gets his hair cut much more often than I do, but his is also longer than mine :P). I’ve been trying to get a pedicure since May and still have not succeeded in talking myself into actually going and spending the time and money on it.
So yes, totally feel you on this one. If I ever make it to your town we’ll go get a pedicure together!
I have been reading the blog now for about six months or so, and have never felt the need to comment until now. Believe me men feel guilt too, but I agree that it is different for us. Anyone who gives up a lucrative career to chase a dream probably does feel it at times. I sometimes get down thinking that I am allowing my selfish pursuit to impact others negatively, and then I talk to those people and all I hear is support. A supportive family is awesome. So, I realize that guilt is a personal crutch concurrent to rejection slips and (what I consider) poor attempts at my craft, and I snap out of it until the next time because my support system bouys me again. From all the blogs from you and comments from other writers, seems like most of us have the same supportive system.
BTW, the photo of your son on the cat scratch post is great. His smile at the accomplishment is what childhood is all about. Thanks for the entertaining post.
omg you described my life, Kristen. I read all your posts and they often give me a good (guilty) laugh. When DID 0 become a size? How come I go 8 weeks between dye jobs and HE goes just 3?
THANK YOU! Although I have a teeny bit of guilt after reading your post and realizing that I’m not half as busy as you are and am still underwater, I am grateful that you addressed this weird need to do more to please people who probably forgot they gave the criticism five minutes after posting it. While the Bible parable tells us to multiply our talents, I don’t believe it meant at the expense of our sanity. We’re supposed to ENJOY the gifts we have, but it’s easy to forget sometimes…especially if you have a child eating donuts for breakfast while dressed in swimming trunks.
He was only jealous. You are amazing, all of the time. 😀
I had a man actually tell me that my feeling bad about doing or not doing certain things was a woman-thing, and that a man that did the same things I did woud have an ego a mile high (not that I’m so great), but that men didn’t let the same things bother them that women do. You post is authentic, hilarious, and edgy (in a good way). I loved your books as well. I know you don’t need awards, but nonetheless, I am nominating you for a Blog of the Year 2012 Award. http://wp.me/2jC53 It was given to me by two very active bloggers, and I felt SO honored. Because you are one of my new favorite bloggers, and because I learned so much from your books, I want to at least tell you via the award. What you do with it is not my problem – I’m not taking on any guilt for adding to your load of stuff to do here. Are you seeing that? Age 61 – somewhat less guilt-ridden. Age helps, there’s hope because we all get older. Keep writing and blogging , and let the jerks stay in their own jerky world, and pity the poor woman who has to deal with him on a daily basis. YIKES!!!
My husband and your husband must be related, which would make us some removed version of sister-in-laws, because my five-year-old son came to church in his puppy dog slippers not two months ago. Yes, he had an injured ankle, but seriously? Puppy dog slippers?
Regarding guilt, I totally relate. I even feel guilty about feeling guilty. Even when my husband gives me the time to have time for myself, I hear him and my son downstairs laughing and playing together, and I think; “Geesh. How could I not want to be with them right now? Aren’t I missing out on those family bonding moments sitting up here writing a blog post, working on my novel, or actually reading a novel?” That’s why it’s best to just leave the house! I never feel guilty at the gym or when I’ve actually MADE it to my hair appointment 🙂
Thanks for your humorous, and impressively realistic description of husbands, female guilt and that sense that we’re never doing enough.
p.s. I have no idea how to post your blog on my blog.
There IS a solution. And it’s really easy. Well, almost.
All you have to do is keep breathing. Around the age of 45, this stuff fades. Did you ever wonder how those old grammas got from where you are to talking about the fat people at the next table, at the top of their lungs? Yep. You get a huge dose of Don’t Give a $hit when you get older.
Of course, with that comes saggy boobage, cottage cheese, and varicose veins. But hell, you can’t see them because your eyesight went.
See? It’s all good. Hang in. And Breathe.
My sister was one of those people who wore her pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital after having her baby. I’m still pissed at her for that. For me, it’s been well over 30 years and I’m still trying to lose that weight hahahaha
I’ve learned the happier and more positive I am in day-to-day challenges, the more a$$hats show up trying to pull me to the darkside. I so related to your story–I can remember BK (before kids) when I had matching pierced earrings for every outfit; now I can’t even find two that match. You do not have to justify a haircut–we just thank you for reminding us why we don’t have to justify stopping to get ours either. And you’re a much better person than I am, Kristen, because I would have printed his last name in my post so everyone would have known who the jerk is. I’m just saying…
Thank you for this. I have struggled with guilt all my life. I never feel like I’m giving enough. Every thing I have is just a source of guilt for having it!
I’m not even a mother.
But when I was a teenager I would donate my clothes to Goodwill and my lunch money to other students, driving my mom nuts. I was giving away the clothes that looked best on me because I felt guilty for having them when someone else didn’t.
The last few years I’ve been working on loving myself as much as I love others. Allowing myself to enjoy the wonderful things that I have and not feel like I’m a bad person if I don’t give away absolutely everything I have.
Wow, did this ever come at the right time. I’ve been stewing in my own guilt all month. Mostly because I was participating in NaNoWriMo. I did win, but I was made to feel like I’d abandoned my family to do so. I’ve decided that as long as the kids have clean clothes, a safe area to play and food, I don’t care what the house looks like. I need to write.
I know exactly how you feel, guilt is the unshakable trip that really takes us nowhere in the end. (sorry about that, I have Nano brain right now.) But honestly, when people make me feel like that, I try as much as I can to remember the fact that if you talked about what you did for people (like donating clothes, bake sales, etc.) you’d be accused of showing off how pious you are. There are some people who are miserable and don’t want to hear how good you have it, especially if they are jealous. My friend complained about her children once, and someone accused her of being an ungrateful mother. In the end, most of our complaints are just venting, but people take them so seriously! And we forget how much our sarcasm hurts when we tease people about their complaints.
Wow- that was a mouthful/eyeful. Maybe this time, I can help you in return for all the times you’ve written wonderful amazing things that have helped me.
I have three kids, and I won’t lie, having one was much easier than three, but not easier than being a married, childless, workaholic. That was easy- this mom thing is damn hard. Many things change when we have kids, and I will never be a size 2 again, nor will I ever wear a bikini. So be it. I used to feel guilty when I’d hear stories of mothers using flashcards with their babies while I sat on the floor, with a cup of coffee, in pajamas, having child #1 playing by herself on her little gymini mat. Now that she’s an independent, confident 11 year old- I know I did the right thing. For the first 10 years I rarely took time for myself. Now, three kids in and 11 years later, I make sure I get a little me time every few days. Here’s the good news- it does get easier to do that as they get older. A happy mommy is a better mommy. That *me time* can range from a walk, to reading while the kids are playing together and not “needing” me, to cooking, to writing. I take it and when I’m done, I’m much more likely to smile when someone calls out, “Mooooooooooommmmmmm.” Sometimes I get frustrated while hubby takes a snooze at 3 on a Saturday afternoon, and I think, “why didn’t I do that?” There’s no balance in guilt or *me time* between parents. I’ve come to terms with that. And as far as the stars go- PU-LEASE. If I had someone to raise my kids and be the night nurse, I’d look great in a bikini too, but instead I’m the one who responds to the word “uppy” and I’m also the one who my boys run to after school. And I’ll take that (and a walk or writing time) any day over the bikini.
Good luck and hang in there. Make time to get your hair done so you can be the arm candy your husband loves and the mom your son adores. I LOVE the pictures- he reminds me of my own kids.
I think we’ve all been in the position of writing something very defensive and then realising later it was an overreaction — I certainly have, and it’s got me into several sticky situations! (What’s worse is when you hear from a friend that another friend said something about you, so you head over there to send them a message and moan at them, which is a total overreaction, and then they freak out too. I’ve had that.)
Some people are just so … ugh. So holier-than-thou. It’s like I TRIED, OKAY? And it’s not as if they’re any more wonderful than the rest of us.
I understand that feeling of guilt, on whatever we have a right to complain about minor problems, many that are often called “First World Problems”.
Yet, the whole people-have-it-worse-than-you attack is a fallacy.
In the end, it’s okay to complain occasionally, as long as a habit isn’t made out of this. Lately, I’ve been looking at my classmates, wondering if my generation can be better people than we currently ours. One of my teachers talked about who said that backpacks were presenting a problem and the school he grew up at did fine without them, and then there was a substitute who said one student not doing the homework because he was sick wouldn’t have cut it at her school…and then another teacher who said that our generation had a problem with attitude…
Okay, I just derailed into an entirely different problem.
Point is, we can’t do everything, and we can’t be everything.
On another note, my dad uses the term “spawn” too!
I feel guilty about everything. Then I feel guilty about the endless guilt. Drives my husband mad!
My first thought was: and you only have one. LOL
I used to judge mothers, too. (oops – not any more) And I used to feel guilty–very guilty–but that gets better as the kids age. Wait until yours is a moody, ungrateful middlegrader. You won’t feel even a twinge over doing things for yourself. You’ll be counting the days until you can boot him out of nest. 😀
Oh please! You’re normal! All moms feel guilt which no one can understand until they are one, which is why men will never, ever get it. And wait until your child turns into a teenager and looks you in the eye and tells you they hate you. Talk about guilt! You might not experience that though since you have a son. I had two girls. God’s gift and Satan’s spawn…God’s gift moved two hours from me (she’s 26 now.) Satan’s spawn on the other hand, won’t leave! (she’s 24 and in college.) Trust me, girls will tell you they hate you. There is no bigger guilt trip than that. *sigh*
Oh, and I can’t edit my comment so just keep this in mind…if your child shows up to church dressed in Halloween costumes and pajama bottoms, you can always tell people you were just encouraging his creativity while trying to teach him to dress on his own. When You show up to church in two different shoes (which I did on two separate occasions) you have no excuse anyone will accept…
My brother once had me in tears when he criticized me about ‘letting myself go’ after having kids and gave me an earful about gaining weight, not caring about my appearance, fill in the blank. They just don’t get it. Now when somebody says something like that, I smile very pleasantly at them and say, ‘may god give you THREE children just like you.’
Wow this post is timely. I felt so guilty not being able to cook anything for Thanksgiving this year even though I worked 7 days in a row averaging 12-13 hours each day. I left work on Wednesday and actually realized “Oh crap Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I should make something!” So I walked the deli section in full 3 times in an overworked and tired daze before I loaded up my cart with overpriced pre-made appetizers just so I didn’t come empty handed. Good grief right?!
You know what I finally got my hair cut two days ago and it made me feel better too! Cheers Kristen! You are not alone!
I linked to your last blog post for mine because it reminded me of the time I forgot to pick my kids up from school. Enough said really. Carried that guilt for eight years. Still wakes me up at night. My husband on the other hand has forgiven me and moved on. I just tell myself now that the hair appointment is justified because I am saving the world from a hideous sight. Doesn’t work, still miss the appointments.
FUNeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Wait till you’re a gramma.
Hi Kristen, I can relate to how you feel. We often overwork, trying to outdo ourselves and when we are about to have a little treat (not even a treat, a necessity) then some, probably extremely lazy arse, bastards seeping beer in front of their monitors, start pointing out that we are selfish slackers.
Alternative explanation is that such person just wrote a foolish thing. Happens to everyone.
I think the important thing is to remember that you DON’T owe anything to anyone.
It’s your right to help others or not to help. It doesn’t make you superior if you do or inferior, selfish person if you don’t.
That troll should have switched off Facebook and gone to help those poor people instead of criticizing you.
The biggest treasure we have is free will, freedom. Jesus could have become the King of the Earth and saved everyone from poverty. But could he make everyone happy?
We all know he resisted the temptation. Instead, he died absolving everyone of their sins, of their guilt if you like, so people could live the way they choose without feeling a burden of guilt and without fear. This is the way I see it.
I admire people like you, Kristen: you just want your dream to come true and you work so hard for it and you help others along the way. And it was your choice to help writers not coal miners or African farmers. This is what makes you happy despite the whole work is exhausting you at the same time.
People are not selfless: they help others because they benefit from it financially or feel good about the process. But helping people because of guilt? I wouldn’t want to be that person receiving such help.
Bless you, Kristen. Don’t work too much, because your child is the priority. Writers, can wait.
Love this comment. What an endearing post, Kristen. Go get your hair cut.
I haven’t had a hair cut since the summer either! It usually only happens two or three times a year for me 🙁 So sorry a troll ruined your day. He should know that if we aren’t feeling good about ourselves, we’ll be useless to anyone around us. The first commandment isn’t to love your neighbor . . . it’s to love your neighbor as you love YOURSELF. So, we must love ourselves first:-) Enjoy your weekend!
Ah, I could have written your post, except with not nearly as much poise and humour as you. A few weeks ago, I had my first 3-hour block of time to myself in nearly a year because I’d made a hair appointment. For most of the three hours I sat there thinking what an utter waste of time, money, and energy it was, and running through what amazing things I could accomplish if only I had three hours of child-free time to myself that didn’t involve being trapped under a hairdresser’s cloak with bleach burning my scalp. And how many more dictionaries I could’ve bought for asylum seekers with the money, or how many more Kiva loans I could’ve made. I even feel guilty about sitting down to do some knitting if there is a Mount Foldmore still waiting for me.
Working moms face tremendous challenges. Wish I had good news, but it will get worse before it gets better. As a mom of 4 ( ages 17 to 27) I am now only just doing what I want –and even then–if a kid needs me–I’m there. The rewards come later–if you’re still sane! But you will survive! Why? Because YOU see the humor in it all–an attitude Spawn and Hubby will appreciate, love, admire and emulate. Carry on, sister! I’ll be rooting for you. Love, Been there, done that, & still laughing(but with more wrinkles)
I read this entire post with great interest and unwavering attention.
I think you are onto something about the difference between men and women.
I don’t feel guilt as often as I feel anxiety, and as a pastor I am always aware of the heavy expectations that others can and do and might be having toward me. So I put my head down and try to be me, as often as I can. And I see a shrink on a regular basis.
I also am fairly self-absorbed, and was raised by a narcissist. So guilt is a bit complex for me.
I wish I could give you what you need, but words on a screen cannot stretch that far.
Blessings and peace..
Kristen, hi. Years ago I bought my sister a birthday card. On the cover it said “My mother is a travel agent” On the inside is said “For guilt trips.” As you see, I came by my own guilt honestly. DO NOT allow the guilt to take hold, move in, and beat up your self esteem. We peeps love you. Bless you and your great big Texas heart.
Hey Kristen, I feel guilty about reading my mail when the children are home on a hoiliday!!. And yes, most of India is not the” dumps”..:). I love my own country as you do yours. I have seen that Americans seem to be extremely prejudiced(have blinders) about any place that is NOT the US.The ways of another country WILL be different from yours. Where will the fun be ? if we all were clones in a sterile environment?I absolutely love your blog posts but this expression from you was totally unwarrented. And yes I too teach orphans in India because they are fellow human beings and not to be compared with your spawn please.
THIS is my life – minus the husband that puts the kids in too small clothes and swimwear. Instead, they raid the totes of packed away clothes and do it themselves. I feel guilty if I get a haircut, when there are things my children want (Notice I said WANT not need). We need to give ourselves permission fo ra day off, and not let ANYONE make us feel bad for it.
Guilt… It is a difficult concept. Would love to discuss, but I have to find my good winter swimming trunks for Sunday school.
Laugh it off. If you smile about something crappy today, I promise I will, too. I’ll even go first: 🙂
Guilt is a multi-headed monster, something it seems we can’t banish even in the bright light of day. As a mother of two (well, three if you count the hubby) who stays home all week and then works a full-time 40 hour job on the weekend, I have yet to find the balance I need. As a mother, we put everyone else’s needs in front of our own. We seem to lose our own identity as an individual. We are mommy, wife, co-worker, teacher assistant, chauffeur, and chef all rolled into one, but we tend to lose sight of who we really are and our own personal goals outside of our work and family. I’ve been an “aspiring writer” from the time I was 10, but life and family have gotten in my way. Do I have guilt about not writing? Yes. Do I still have guilt about what I did and didn’t do for my kids today? Yes. I think what it all boils down to is priorities. We have a set list of what’s important in our head, and whether or not/or how we accomplish said list can leave us feeling guilty. Men have no such compunction, but I think this is because their priorities are a bit more skewed than ours. I don’t think my husband sits and worries or contemplates the future of our children based on his actions or words every day. Did he finish his To Do list (that didn’t include feeding, properly dressing children, homework, what the temperature is tomorrow and what we need to wear to school, and will you please leave your sister alone x 100!) ? Check. Then voila, no guilt! I wish I could stop the mommy guilt, but I think that will never go away no matter how hard we try. If I can tackle one area of guilt (aka writing or lack thereof) I think it would lead to a better balance and becoming someone that isn’t only referred to as “Mommy!!!”
I love people who make me laugh. You are spot on. I remember my mother scurrying around trying to get all eight of her children ready for church while my dad played solitaire until it was time to leave.
I understand you, Kristen. Actually, ever since I set out to be a writer, I feel like I live under a perpetual cloud of guilt when I’m not making “progress” on my work in (not so much) progress. But you know, “To everything there is a time and season,” and I think that there is a lot to be said for the reality of vocation. Not everyone is called to be Mother Teresa, but that’s ok. You happen to be called to be a mother right now, and the fact that you manage to do as much as you do in addition to caring for a toddler is commendable; it’s certainly more than what I accomplish, and I’m single!
And speaking of seasons, clearly you have spent a certain season of your life doing work that other people would never imagine. Now, your calling is different, and it will be different when the Spawn is on his own, too.
Sometimes, when out and about and I see all the Roma and homeless people on the sidewalks here, I feel bad that I walk past them every day without giving them a couple euros; but I try to remind myself that being an unpaid intern for six months in one of the world’s most expensive cities somewhat limits my ability to express material charity, so every morning, I try to make an offering of all my thoughts and words and actions of the day for God to use however he wants to. One of my role models is Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (Mother Teresa’s namesake, incidentally) who said, “I cannot do great things, only small things with great love.”
Sometimes, saving the world entails living our particular little moment in time to the best of our ability and being happy to do so until another season makes itself known, and it sounds like you’re doing just that 🙂
As we say here in France, bon courage!
I wish there was a like button 🙂
Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Maybe if every person changed themselves to be better, to grow and encourage others, to love, then there might come a point where there was no need to feel guilty about these things, because poverty and homeless people wouldn’t exist anymore. One day, maybe…
I was one of those mothers with a toddler that wore stained clothing and had her hair in a scrunchie. My co-workers (a few) judged and it kinda hurt because they were supposed to be my friends. But I’ve never been a 21st century, American mom (although I am American and live in the 21st century. 😉 ) I don’t care if I’m at the grocery store and I have a stain. It’s the flippin’ grocery store.
While I wish I could give my kids more (due to financial reasons), I’ve never understood the woman who felt they needed to do everything and involve their kids in everything. I don’t agree with it, so my guilt meter is very low, when it comes to the people in my life and things like housework. You should see the dust in my house, ha! I do feel guilt when I spend my day playing (Internet surfing, games, TV, nothing but sitting on my butt) and I didn’t write. I’m just not like most women. 🙂
Hang up the guilt and enjoy yourself more often. 🙂
I’m feeling totally guilty about commentimg on this because the floor needs to be mopped and I should be making “Christmas-y Memories” or something with my punkins right now instead pf reading blogs, but if I don’t comment and tell you how much I related to this post, then I’ll feel guilty about that because it’s important to encourage people, and I want to be known as A Decent Human Being. So, to figure out what I should do, I checked with the progeny, and they said, “Mom, we’re playing legos. Go away.” And, since they’re boys, they wouldn’t notice a dead skunk on the kitchen floor, much less a little dirt, so I figure I’m okay…
Loved this post. 🙂
Who in their right mind would deny a poor woman a haircut, when the cat sucked her head? I think we should start a “Women’s cat head sucking support group and arrange counselling sessions right away. It has been scientifically proven by “Professor mind your own business” from Guilt sessions University in the town of “watch your mouth boy on facebook”; that women are born with the gulit gene and it is activated at birth. This guilt is then topped up on a regular basis by society in general, the church, the education system, family, half hearted friends and anyone else you wants to put their two penneth in the pot.This is for our own good, to prevent us geting above our stations and convincing ourselves we are entitled to such extravagant luxuries such as haircuts, pedicures or manicures. I take it, this person who commented is a naked manhippy type, dancing around a tree the tree naked, type of person who has never had a hair cut in his life.I suppose he took time off from his oh so busy, feeding the poor life, to log onto Facebook with his state of the art computer and leave you a comment. You see even the perfect people take a break now and again. Does he realise he could have used the money he paid for his computer and electricity to feed the starving or even buy someone a haircut?
Sounds like you were marinated in guilt when you were a kid. The trick is to create healthy guilt.
Not an over abundance: “I never do anything right.”
Not heavy-handed guilt: “i’m such a disappointment, I don’t measure up.”
Not unfair guilt: “I’m responsible for your misery.”
But Healthy Guilt: “I said I would take care of it and I forgot. I’m sorry. I vow to do better from now on.”
Oh, I am so there with you on the guilt thing! I see moms who have multiple kids and a job outside the home and they and their kids look perfect all the time and they seem so TOGETHER, and I wonder what’s wrong with me that I’m a write-from-home-mom with only one kid and I’m lucky if I manage to shower every day. And ditto on the feeling like I should be doing more – it’s never enough.
Expectations are killers for us moms–all of us, because all of us have different struggles. We all need to learn that we can only do what we can do AND IT’S OK. And that there’s no shame in wanting a day, a minute, a haircut for ourselves every now and then.
It’s funny that you ended up wondering what was wrong with you for taking that guy’s comment so hard. I was wondering what was wrong with him that he felt it necessary to tear someone else down over a haircut. 🙂
It’s comforting to know that in motherhood, as in writing, we are not alone!
I had just finished opening my guilt gland on a friend’s FB post and letting a bit of it out when i saw the link to this post. Know what really sucks? When some of the Super Guilt is heaped on by one’s own mother-in-law. Grrrr…
And I’d love to link back to your blog from my blog…if I had my blog up and running, that is. I started an LLC back in May with the goal of picking up some freelance writing and editing work, targeting the editing services to indie authors. Then school let out for the summer, and my parents needed my help, and my husband went back to school. And…and…and.
What I AM going to do is go look at both of your books because they sound terrific, and maybe I can, at a minimum, have some great resources to recommend to my writer friends.
A neighbour once admitted she used to judge women in the grocery store when she saw their children weren’t wearing shoes. Then she met my daughter with whom I was only able to compromise when she learned to read. (She could go shoeless in the months without an R in them.)
Don’t let the judgers get you down. If you gave up a kidney, someone would be all, “The left one? Really? You kept the good one for yourself?”
Can’t please all the people all the time.
Thanks for another great blog.
omg, guilt and anxiety in my head. I loved your post. My honey too can be oblivious to the mess and has such a different sense of timing to get to it. Where does this guilt come from? No one else is living with us and we don’t have visitors often so what is the big deal to clean NOW?! Then again I love my honey’s ways as they lead me to sitting and relaxing. Or, they bend me to playing Skyrim 😉
The Spawn, love the term of endearment.
Excellent Post Kristen. Spoke to us in volumes while keeping us rolling! And great for working ladies who will respect the honesty and humor!! It’s always nice when someone let’s you know your not the only one whose fallen off the “picture-perfect-platform for working women” lol. Just finished tweeting post!
As a dude, I think I’m more apt to feel guilt when I lay down to bed at night, and remember things that I didn’t do as well as I could have, or attention I didn’t give. There aren’t many instances, though, and a sink full of dirty dishes ain’t gonna do it. I do think men and women experience guilt differently, and I do appreciate the way women do it.
I’m very grateful for the way men do it. Well, grateful that I’m a man doing it this way.
My kids felt loved today. They were challenge, and appreciated. The kitchen? Kinda messy.
I’m OK with that. Don’t even ask me about my messy car.
Oh my goodness, does this speak to me! Sadly, it’s often other mothers who make you feel like crap–and they should know that this is a tough job!!! But apparently I have ruined my children by not carving Halloween pumpkins with them, by not keeping individual scrapbooks for each of them, by not working outside the home, by working outside the home, by not volunteering at every single school function, and by not homeschooling them to begin with because “public schools are awful now” (mind you, I live in one of the best districts in Texas). It goes on and on. Good gravy! Long ago, I traded in the usual parenting books for books like Girlfriend’s Guide (Vicki Iovine), Confessions of a Slacker Mom, and the like. I’m eyeballing Leanne Shirtliffe’s Don’t Lick the Minivan…And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kids. I’m really good at giving myself sufficient guilt trips without thumbing a ride on someone else’s you-suck bus.
P.S. The Spawn looks cute no matter what he wears! And he always looks happy. Must be fine and well-loved.
This story was sooo funny. Thank U I needed that. I really have to say–Wait till you do something about trying to teach your child to be mory tidy like I did with my son when I found a week old sandwich and orange in his closet. I went crazy, even pulled his twin size bed off the frame–then made him clean it up!!! Now he’s 38 and doesn’t want to invite me to his place. It’s not any different today, but he teases me about that all the time!!! He’s like I don’t want you to pull my mattress off the bed.!!! HA!HA!HA!
Guilt, you’ve got to love it. I think women’s guilt comes partly from stereotyping ourselves. Let’s call it the “June Cleaver” syndrome. Her home was perfect, her meals were done on time and served on matching china. Wally and Beaver always wore perfectly pressed and perfectly matched clothes. She was always there waiting for and on Ward when he returned from a hard days work. That is still in the back of our minds as we try to juggle careers, driving our children everywhere, and keeping up with a much faster paced society. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking too it.
You see I am the Goddess of Guilt. I have grown children that I feel I didn’t do enough for so if they ask me to babysit (ok I love to babysit) I drop everything. Then feel guilty because I didn’t get all my stuff done. Add in an elderly mother who I felt I wasn’t doing enough for so I moved her in here. As I sit and write this I feel guilty because I am down stairs with my husband in our bedroom/living room and not upstairs sitting with her. Oh and I’m getting the look from the dog too. I had the nerve to eat the whole pizza crust instead of giving her the last bite.
It’s a no win situation sometimes. You just deal with it so it doesn’t take over your life completely.
To take both sides of this issue, as a part-time stay-at-home dad, I admit the days when I’m home with the kids, they’re lucky if they get out of pajamas at all. Of course, I would say the same for myself on those days, so why should they be different. I say, be comfortable.
However, I can relate to the guilt for simple pleasures. I feel like if I actually have a moment when both kids are sleeping at the same time, I better be working, but if I just want to relax and maybe watch an episode of one of my Netflix shows, I feel super guilty for not working on my writing.
But overall, yeah, that guy was a jackass for making that comment. We need to all remember to take a little time for ourselves. And better yet, take that time in your pajamas 🙂
I’m with you sister. You’re damned if you do, and damned it you don’t. A million choices every day. I try to remind myself that the women who aren’t perfect at everything are more interesting anyway, and so are their children! Breath. It’s lovely hearing from others who deal with the same crap, however. For when you’re feeling weak enough to add self-criticism to the pile that others dump on you. Thanks for another great post, Kristen.
I know exactly how you feel! I badly hurt my foot 2 weeks ago and the usual clutter, garbage, dirt and dishes (not to mention laundry) waiting a couple days for me to deal with them (as I have a newly turned 3 year old “natural disaster” too)… I didn’t touch much of it for almost the whole 2 weeks. It looked like a troop of monkeys had ransacked the place. So after listening to hubby gripe about the same pan being dirty and not helping me with cleaning a cookiesheet-turned-chicken-baker to get back at me on friday. (I told him he was being childish and he apolagized.) Anyways… I finally started the massive job it had become on saturday morning. (Thank God for grandmothers willing to take the kid for not 1, not 2 but 3 whole days!) So, I’m almost done today and I had to go to my ‘day job’ on both days this weekend. But I’m proud to say that I’ve used the dishwasher, broom, mop, washing machine, dryer, steam cleaner, vacum, hubby’s free time ;), and a ton of garbage bags, paper towel, and cleaner… But I’m almost done! So excited and happy to actually be able look at a ‘clean’ home since she was born. (Plus it’s hard to get the motivation to clean when your little one is pulling absolutely everything onto the floor and again 5 minutes after you pick it up. I’m so very happy she’s grown out of that! *whew*)
OMG, that was one of the funniest blogs I’ve read in a while … are you sure you aren’t living MY LIFE? You’re not alone, hon. I don’t know where this GUILT came from, probably my mother, let’s blame her. And now my 2 daughter’s have the same disease. A lot of time people (usually men) just don’t get it. They don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes. I don’t have any tips or tricks, but here’s what I’ve learned after 55 years: Love your family and friends, and be confident that you’re doing your best every day. If other people criticize you or make snarky comments, tell them to kiss your ass. Sending virtual hugs 😉
Holy crap! We are all works in progress. And I think YOU are the one who taught me that. Yes? 😉 Be gentle with yourself. LOVElove
I’m thoroughly enjoying these “looks behind the curtain”, Kristen! Keep up the good work!
And yes, everyone has guilt. I have enough to fill a stadium…
Sorry I didn’t get over here to read this sooner. I was busy curing cancer and negotiating a lasting peace in the Middle East when I wasn’t saving puppies and kittens from a tsunami this week, but I know that’s no excuse. I should be able to do everything. Sleeping and eating is just selfish of me. And my family? Can you believe those kids want me to be a mother? But I’m here now. I hope you can forgive me, even though I’m such a suck excuse for a friend. 🙂
Hey, Kristen –
Two words for you –
It is a LIFESAVER with naturally wavy hair. My stylist used it and I was hooked.
Yes, I’m right there with you on the guilt stuff. My word is “should.” I “should” know this or that or be able to do this or that. Well, I say no more shoulds!