Good Girl’s Guilt

Sometimes the guilt is just all-consuming.  This morning is one of those moments.  I’m cranky.  The kids are cranky.  They have all sorts of “needs” and I just want to sit in my pj’s and do some “grown up” stuff.  Like balance my checkbook that I’ve been trying to do for about a week.  Big C is having a melt down over food.  Little C keeps asking me to nurse.  So what do I do? Put on a movie.  And while I have relief from their needs for a moment, I am not really feeling any relief.  Because now, I’m watching their little faces zone out on TV and the guilt is just gnawing away at me.  Every article I’ve read or statistic I’ve heard or blog I’ve stumbled across that has something to say about TV runs through my head.  And basically, I’m thinking that I’m literally damaging my children.  That I should have the fortitude to push through my crankiness and be the mother hen, despite my own needs.

After this summer, when the idea for this blog was just blooming, I had an easier time with some of this.  Our summer was a hard one (more on this later).  And this whole idea of doing what I want versus what I should bubbled out of a really tough time for me and my family.  But, as I knew they would, my expectations for myself have slowly crept back in and infiltrated my brain.  Today, I have no “excuse.”  It was easier (not easy but easier) to be kind to myself when there was a good excuse (like surgery).  Now, my “excuse” is really something of my own doing.  The Voice is reminding me that I brought this on myself.  I had a great weekend with a friend.  I stayed up way too late, ate way too much, had a few too many toddies.  Now I am not at 100%.

So, does this question still apply?  Does my theory hold true?  If I do what I want, rather than what I should in this moment, is it still going to bring me more peace, joy, content?  Will my family still benefit from me choosing to balance my checkbook and write this blog post, rather than be the “perfect Waldorf homeschool mother?”  Somewhere deep inside, I do believe the answer is yes.  But my chest is tight with the guilt of trying to accomplish this today.

I’m reading a wonderful book and in it the author explores essentially what I’m grappling with on this blog.  Only in a far more dramatic set of life circumstances.  At one point she used the words “tender regard” for how we need to start seeing ourselves.  The Voice is not tender, nor is it even regarding me.  It doesn’t even see me.  It just sees The Rules.  And spends all day reprimanding me.

Perhaps this idea of tender regard would help in these moments.  Maybe it doesn’t matter whether my kids are watching a movie or doing the most amazing art project ever, as long as I see myself and them with “tender regard.”

This concept is so foreign to me.  I am far more “comfortable” berating myself into action than I am with having compassion for myself.  But, maybe, if I just pondered how this morning could look if I saw myself with tender regard, I might just find some peace and relief.

If I was talking to a friend, it would be easy to say these things.  If only I could say them to myself. . .

“Of course you are tired.  Try to take it easy on yourself.”

“Great job this morning on not loosing your cool with Big C.  You really reached for connection, rather than anger.”

“Let’s put this TV watching in perspective.  Your children get lots of lovely things in life, a little bit of TV here and there is pretty harmless.”

“Doing what you need to do for yourself is just as important as the things you do for your children….maybe even more so.”

“You are doing the best you can right now and that is always good enough.”

Do I feel any better?  I’m not sure.  But I am going to try to just sit in this for a moment this morning.  What do I WANT?

What do you want?

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5 Responses to Good Girl’s Guilt

  1. Jenna says:

    I feel like I wrote this! You are not alone!

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks Jenna! It always helps to know we are not alone, doesn’t it? Good Girl always thinks she is the only one!

  3. Jenna’s right, you are not alone! We all need someone to say those things to us because in my case, it’s almost useless to say them to myself!

  4. Renee says:

    Yes, you did the right thing! Absolutely, the right thing!! Another thing I thought when reading it is that remember now more than ever before you’re modeling for Big C how to live life. I know you’d rather Big C have a few drinks with friends than spend her time worrying about being perfect in her mom role. Yes, us Good Girls do guilt with perfection don’t we!

  5. Sarah says:

    Good point Renee! And really, having a glass (or two) of wine on an outside patio downtown with an old friend really filled my cup (no pun intended). Isn’t that what keeps us going? Having a little something for ourselves.
    Love this- guilt with perfection-ah!

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