Monday, October 13, 2008

Guilt

I have been thinking about the concept of guilt lately. . . we all carry some around with us for one thing or another. Even if it's not serious stuff. . . just the little "I should have called so and so back", "I haven't sent that thank you card", "I spent 2 hours on the internet tonight instead of cleaning the kitchen". . . it can get to you.

I have gone through times in my life when I had really legitimate reasons to feel guilt. But lately, it's been less legitimate things, like those I just mentioned. And things like not appreciating motherhood enough. . . And the fact that I'm a WORKING mother (oh, the horror!!)

President Monson gave a talk in conference about finding joy in the journey NOW. . . And rather than actually ABSORB that message. . . I felt GUILTY for not doing that.

And today, after speaking with several different people, and reading several blogs, the ridiculousness of that finally hit me. This is a great example of what I mean, from Chris of Notes From The Trenches:

"I think of a conversation that I had with a friend recently. How middle class mothers have taken to manufacturing things to feel guilty about. Our children are fed, clothed, have all the things that money can buy for them. They are safe and loved. Our days aren’t spent toiling away at some sort of horrible job. We have choices. Choices our grandmothers didn’t have. Something that is both a blessing and a curse.

We don’t have many valid worries and so we manufacture them. We worry about plastic water bottles, excessive high fructose corn syrup consumption, toys made in China, their fragile little psyches. And crafts… we should be doing more. . . crafts. At least that is what all those parenting magazines tell us. We worry about being perfect. When probably, hopefully, in the end none of it is really going to matter.

At least that is what I am telling myself this morning."

Go to her blog and read the whole thing.

I know it probably sounds stupid that I have to consciously talk myself out of feeling guilty. . . but I do. There are so many people out there sending us messages about what is important, I feel like I need to sit down and make a list of what's ACTUALLY important. . . Maybe I'll do that tonight.

But if I don't, I'm not going to feel bad about it.

7 comments:

Mrs. Webster said...

yeah, I've been feeling guilty a lot lately for little things like not cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, cleaning the bathroom, etc. At the end of the day I'm too tired to do those things! But I still feel guilty about it! :-( Maybe I should make a list too...

Amelia said...

thank you. I needed to read that today.

Kalli Ko said...

it seems like in the 2 short months of motherhood I've experienced, guilt and parenting go hand in hand. Guilt over nursing, guilt over feeling overwhelmed, guilt for wanting more sleep, a shower, 5 minutes to yourself!

the truth of the matter is you're right, we make a list of the things that are important and then do our best to not feel guilty when we let those areas slide a little. Are we healthy, happy, well fed and clothed? Yes and that's good enough for me!

Nathan said...

No one ever asked the pioneer women, when they were done with the long journey to the Salt Lake valley, "So have you scrapbooked the experience yet?"

Stefanie said...

That was an awesome post, Mel. I read it yesterday. And then, today, I felt guilty for not commenting on it! LOL. So here I am, back to comment and tell you how awesome you are. Man, guess I should go back and re-read it for some of the inspiration I took away from it yesterday. SHEESH.

sarraphim said...

Hey, that's alright. I feel guilty about... well, mostly about completely ridiculous or stupid things. :) It's alright, Melanie. We all understand, because we all do the same thing.

emily said...

AMEN. Thank you for writing about this. I loved it. I need to find more peace of mind, too...