Saturday, February 23, 2008


Why is it that we stay at home moms have so much guilt? Maybe I am projecting onto others, but it seems to me that we all have our share of guilt that comes from no where but ourselves. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Guilt Trip Number One:
I sat for two hours today holding a sleeping baby and watching a movie. What do I feel guilty about? I am sitting down on the job! What am I thinking? I need to be DOING something... laundry, bills, cleaning the kitchen, organizing the closets (for the 1000th time)... something.
Guilt Trip Number Two:
I have hardly interacted at all with my kids today. They were just another "to do" item on the list. Feed breakfast, check. Feed lunch, check. Change a diaper, check. Tell them I love them, check. But, my house is clean, dishes are done, dinner is made and life on Wisteria Lane is just perfect! What do I feel guilty about? This is a day in the lives of my three kiddos that I can never get back! Do I want my kids to remember all that I did to keep the house clean or do I want them to remember that we went on walks and played together?
Guilt Trip Number Three:
I worry more about my house and kids than I do my husband. What do I feel guilty about? Well, for starters - not spending enough time with him... how do you balance the needs of the kids and house with the desire to spend time with your husband? It's not like I don't want to - I would kill to see a movie with him or even just hang with him for an hour - unintrupted.... but the kids are waiting, the house is dirty, he needs his golf shorts clean for Saturday, where does it end?
The funny thing about guilt is that it has such a negative effect. When I feel guilty for any of the above or any of the other 100 senerios.... I just get angry at myself and then overcompensate the next day, week, month, whatever. What good does this do me? Eventually I will feel guilty about swinging so far the other direction that I will be in a whole new cycle of guilt.
What I am learning is that this stay at home mom thing is harder than I expected - not just in the quanity of work, but in the feelings of trying to prove who I am and that I am still worthwhile even though I don't pull in money to "support" my family. There is no job description... no list of expectations... no goals to reach to "move up the ladder"... so I find myself making up the requirements. As if checking off items each day gives my value and worth. I so want that monthly review, that annual "how are you doing" talk - so I know where I stand. Am I doing enough? Was there something that I need to place more emphasis on?
SO, I am going to just aim at being OK with my new role and what that means. Riht now, it means that it is my job to rock a baby to sleep and not be cleaning while doing it. It means that somedays the house will look great and others you will be able to see clearly how much fun we had playing all day. It means that just like with all areas of our lives, the key is balance. A little of this and a little of that.
Most importantly, it means that I need to lighten up on the guilt. Beth Moore once said, "We are so busy trying to live out other people's gifts that we fail to live up to the gifts we were blessed with." (Not a direct quote but from her video from the Patriarchs study.) I have been blessed with an amazing family who runs me ragged, wakes me up at all hours and fills me with the most incredible amount of joy! It's time to shed the guilt and live in the blessing that surround me instead of wanting the next one to come!

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