Why is it that we feel we must justify our time? Is it because we have all grown up hearing the stereo type of stay at home mothers who just watch TV eating chocolate? I can’t help wondering why I feel I must earn my down time? I reason with myself, I have already done blah, blah, blah. Therefore, I can now relax with a movie guilt free. But, like always there is the fine print. If I am earning my down time is it really guilt free? The answer for me is sadly, NO.
Take this morning for example. I’m up at six am to get my five-year-old dressed, through the cold wind and, in the car to meet the bus. We are at the stop by 6:30 am on time, unfortunately, the bus didn’t make it until 7:15 am. With a kiss goodbye to Aidan, I swung by the video store to drop off some movies. Thinking to get some extra sleep crawl back in bed only to have my 13-year-old come down and tell me he had overslept missing his bus. Waiting for him to get dressed I pick up the living room, and start a load in the washer. We make it to the school with 2 minutes and 38 seconds to spare. On my way home knowing I’m not getting back to sleep I decided a fuzzy blanket, some hot cocoa and this Marilyn Monroe movie I found at the video store last night is just the way to spend this cold morning. It’s called Bus Stop and I’ve never seen it before.
So, I put some milk on the stove and realize it feels a bit grimy. My husband cleaned the stove last night. I take a minute to wipe the stove, and put the few dishes from the sink into the washer and start it. Eventually, I did get my cocoa made but I had realized I was still earning my down time. Fluffy blanket covering me I relax to enjoy Marilyn only to occasionally notice that toy under the edge of the entertainment center, or that the washer had stopped. By the end of the movie which took 3 hours to watch due to my constant pausing. I was very disappointed both in the plot and its ending. (It’s not one I would recommend unless you’re just trying to watch Monroe’s complete filmography.)
During that time, I had swept the living room, done two loads of laundry, accidentally knocking a toy into the lint trap which had caused my husband to have to take apart the back of the dryer to get out. Which took him an hour. I did find my sons missing library book and replaced the ornaments the cat has knocked off the tree. My cocoa was cold… and I really hadn’t relaxed at all.
But why do I feel this almost compulsion to be productive around the house if I am not working. Right now, I am on medical leave I’m four weeks post op from a hysterectomy and I feel guilty if I’m not doing things around the house. No exaggeration as I write this, I’m also thinking the floor needs to be mopped, and I think that’s marker on the edge of that couch! Shaking my head. Where does this imaginary guilt come from, I’ve failed in no way. I’ve done nothing wrong, so why does it feel like I’m not doing my job completely in the home?
I don’t really have any answers to these questions. However, I do believe guilt is a choice. I make a choice to either except my perceived guilt or I don’t. Truth is more times than not; I expect more from myself than anyone else does, I believe I am failing way more than I am, and most my weaknesses generally only exist in my head. I am flawed, complex and still haven’t got this mom thing down. I have made serious mistakes, I’ve also had wonderful wins.
What is your mommy guilt? What do you do to pamper yourself?