Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guilt complex

I feel like my life can be shrouded by guilt some days. I don't want to walk around with a cloud of oppression hanging over me. I want to walk around in freedom. Freedom to do the stuff I do, not because I feel like I have to or I should, but because I really want to and am genuinely happy to do so.

I recently came across a blog that helped me put some things into perspective. Layla Grace is a blog not for the faint of heart. It is a family's journey of saying good bye to their 2 year old daughter who is dying from cancer. It is gut wrenching, but has also helped me approach my recent days from a different perspective.
Yesterday Olivia asked if we could make cookies. My initial thought/feeling was, "Man, I really don't want to make cookies today." But then my thoughts went to this mom who would probably give her right arm to bake cookies with her daughter, rather than hold her while she dies. So... we made cookies.

But during the cookie making process, I found myself getting frustrated that my 4 year old did not do everything the way I thought she ought.

A few times throughout the process I was able to take a step back and catch myself and say, "It's not about perfect cookies or clean floors. Its about spending this time with Olivia. Enjoy it for what it is." That helped- a little. I feel guilty that my automatic default isn't *enjoy the moment*, but its focused on the mess, the extra work, the details.
Even right now as I type this, I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I would love to take a nap. Not even sleep, but maybe just lay down on the couch. Close my eyes. But if I did, I'm not sure I'd even enjoy it because there are a million other things *I should be doing.* Laundry, emails, phone calls, cleaning, reading, blogging...

The other day at my parents my dad paid me a huge compliment. He said, "The reason you're so slim (which I've NEVER been called slim by him or anyone else for that matter in my whole life) is because you run after those kids all day long." (I didn't have the heart to tell him its actually from all of the lifting and stretching I do to get to the cookie boxes I keep stashed up on the highest shelf so that I can't get to them.) Nice compliment, but its true (not the slim part, the part about running after the kids all day long). I'm not sure I often sit and enjoy the moments. I run around like a dang chicken with its head cut off.
The guilt I might experience during a nap sends me sky high.

Oh, trust me, I know all the self talk! Take care of yourself. Its not wrong to lay down during the day. You're kids are going to be gone before you know it... take time to savor the moment. All are well and good, but REALLY hard to practice day in and day out.

So, I'm trying to get past the guilt. To know there will be good days and bad days.

But for now, after I go stretch and pull for the Thin Mints on the top shelf, I'm gonna lay down on the couch, close my eyes and savor the moment. Then, its back to the headless chicken routine.


Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

SO HARD to determine good, better and best and to let the other two go while you focus on best. Sometimes the other two get more priority in my head--like letting wanting to have a clean floor overshadow precious moments with Nugget. I understand, I think we all struggle.

jenny from mommin' it up said...

I always say, "the mother's guilt is so constant, it's almost comforting, because you can always count on it!" Then I'm like, "mm, no it still sucks!" Hang in there, give me a call when you need to vent! Guiltery loves company!

Eli Miller said...

Thanks for that link to that blog... made me cry at work, had to go take a walk, but really gave me some perspective on valuing my own two-year-old daughter.