Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's a Disease I Tell Ya!

Today, and really for awhile now, I have been struck by a disease.  It's called "Perfect-Stay-At-Home-itis".  I didn't know that I had it.  The symptoms were subtle and could easily be confused with other conditions such as Why-can't-I-get-one-d@mn-thing-done-itis,  Where-did-all-the-cookies-go syndrome, and Do-I-have-turrets-because-I'm-cussing-a-lot-more malady.

It became apparent that something was definitely wrong today.  Why today?  Why not today.  I tried to do the laundry.  Majority is still sitting in piles on the floor of the laundry room.  Breakfast was a handful of dry Life cereal and a glass of lemonade left over from Ben's baby blessing on Sunday.  After I bathed I put on the same clothes as yesterday and hoped they didn't smell like spit up.  I didn't get the chicken out in time to have it thawed for dinner.  In the hopes of surprising my husband I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies but was unable to finish baking them before needing to take care of wee child.  Dinner was a fend for yourself affair which means I ate half my body weight in said pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  After the first 5 or so I felt bad because I was going to be so very good and start eating healthier which then caused a downward spiral of which I will not tell you how many I actually ate because I lost track.  I complained because I didn't have time to take a walk.  My husband said, go now, I'll finish baking the cookies.  But I felt too disgusting and refused to.  How could I possibly be a martyr if I was actually able to take the walk I complained about missing!

To clarify:  I have absolutely NO delusions about being able to keep a clean house or a fully organized life while taking care of my child.  None.  Never have had them.  I had 36 years to watch and learn and get a reality check.  The laundry would never be finished.  The floors would never get mopped at the same time.  An all the way clean kitchen is a luxury.  Getting the bed made in the morning gets brownie points somewhere, and a grown woman with braids in her hair because there is simply no time to get it dry before the magic errand-running window closes up for the day is perfectly acceptable.  In fact, when visiting people with smallish children in the home I'm more surprised to find things clean! 

No sir.  No delusions here.  However, even though I had no delusions of being able to keep up with stuff, I still had the guilt.  The guilt that said somehow, someway, if I was a good stay at home mom then I should totally be able to keep up with this stuff.  I mean, I quit my job!  Did that mean I had "extra" time to do stuff?  To clean, to cook, to make things sparkly?  Because, you know, it was my job that was hindering the whole cooking/cleaning thing right?  No.  It wasn't the job, it was the child.  The wonderful child that I absolutely love to pieces.  He's the reason the house is a mess and my laundry is still on the floor.

So today, as it came to an end and I had treated my husband terribly because I ate too many cookies and felt bad.  Today as I sent him back out the door to the young men's activity all worried about what kind of a state he would find me in when I got home.  Today, as I continued to eat more cookies because half of my body weight wasn't enough and what else was I going to do for dinner... I started to have myself a think.  To analyze my behavior and try to figure out why I was feeling so... bleck.  So distraught.  Wondering how I could feel so overwhelmingly loving in some aspects and so completely empty in others. 

That's when I recognized the guilt.  The self-imposed guilt.  The guilt that was based on the unachievable.  The guilt that really and truly has no place in my life or anyone else's.  The guilt that doesn't let me forgive myself for not being perfect.  It consumes and sucks the joy out of things like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and taking walks I didn't think I'd be able to.  Evil, evil guilt!

As I thought about this and began to recognize the dreaded evil guilt for what it really is... of the devil! I  smartly decided to take advantage of Do-I-have-turrets-because-I'm-cussing-a-lot-more malady and wisely tell this guilt to "go to hell!"  Right back where it came from.

There.  I feel better now.  I might just have another cookie.

15 comments:

  1. Yup, Amen and Ditto! Been there and will go there again many many times. Enjoy those cookies and come by my house sometime if you want to feel better about how clean your house really is. :) My house can almost always make you feel better about their own housekeeping, lol.

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  2. Sing it sister! Swear it loud and proud! I mean... ;)

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  3. HA! Oh Lora, you write what's in my head and I can't seem to focus and mold it into a ny sort of comprehensible thought or sentence.... Alas, it is the life of a stay at home mother... wonderful and chaotic all at the same time. I love that you "had yourself a think"... reminds me of Winnie the Pooh. And you know? You've figured it out (for me too) it IS the guilt. I wish I could have realized that 10 years ago... the last 4 years or so I've finally and truly relaxed and stopped beating myself up over not being "perfect". It DOES. NOT. EXIST. But sweet little faces and laughter and memories and tears and yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies DO! Life is too short. I have a cute poem somewhere I need to read some more and show you. Thank you, Lora, this post made me smile :)

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    1. So glad to make you smile. Smiles are needed on a rainy day like this. Do you think it would be appropriate to frame "guilt go to h3!!" and hang it on my wall? :)

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    2. will you make a sign for me too??? I found that poem and put it on my blog :)

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  4. LOVE IT! I seriously need to adopt the way you just lay it all out there on your blog.....sometimes I feel that I will be judged for what I say if I happen to have one of these moments. Perhaps it is because in the past I have been, and it is hard to deal with thousands of miles away having your parents be told something completely out of line with what you said because people aren't used to complete honesty. I debate every other day I swear about posting everything I want to and talk myself out of it every time. Maybe I will get up the courage one day!

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    1. Go for it! There's nothing quite so freeing as saying your mind, even if it's a bit ugly. In fact sometimes it helps me feel better about everything to get the ugly out and have a good look. Most of the times it's not as ugly as I though and by the end I have something else to laugh at. Honesty feels so good. If people don't like it then they don't have to read it! :)

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    2. Man. I cannot agree with that more, Lora!

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  5. Did I mention how much I love how you put things into words so easily, so perfectly? I found myself laughing and nodding through your whole post. I know exactly what you are talking about! And have felt that way many a time. Thanks for your eloquent words. We hope the baby blessing went well and sorry again we couldn't make it. We were definitely thinking about you guys. Your family pictures are adorable. We love you and can't wait to see you in a couple weeks.

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    1. I so very much missed you guys coming! But May will be here before you know it. The blessing went well despite our pathetic picture taking skillz... translated into: we didn't take any cause we're cool like that.

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    2. the things no one tells you about having a baby... or the things no one can put into words. i'm still waiting for the same feelings to leave completely! i keep telling myself that when miles starts school that will get me out at least for a bit each day. but in the meantime, between my day that's split up into 2 hour chunks between feedings, i have to find other things to keep me busy!

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  6. Oh, I love you! It really is that way.... The mom guilt is HUGE here too (I even feel bad when I'm feeding one baby and can't hold the other. That's SO completely irrational, but I want 2 sets of arms most hours of the day :) Some days it would be nice to turn that switch off completely.... I mean, do we REALLY need guilt?

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