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Ahhh the guilt.

Posted Sep 09 2011 4:00am


I have to confess, up till now, I’ve bumbled through life pretty much guilt-free.

Guilt (& her bitchy BFF shame) simply didn’t have much of a place in my life.

I experience healthy guilt (my conscience telling me that I acted in a manner which didnt mesh with my self-definition/personal mission statement) and in those instances I immediately take steps to change the situation as typically I’d accidentally done something hurtful or unkind.

Guilt with regards to food or exercise? Never .

Was I born this way? Hell no Im Jewish, remember?! Not really.  You can find the four steps I took to shed the guilt here.

Recently, however, I’ve struggled with squelching emerging feelings of guilt.

Feelings which, for me, are tied into motherhood but the same ones I saw frequently with clients when it came to making time for themselves in all realms of self-care from exercise to quiet moments.

An ah ha! moment of sorts I want to share and see if youve experienced the same or if you have an tips or insights to share with us.

With the start of kindergarten came the onslaught of volunteer requests. 

Everything from booster club meetings (845a on a weekday!?) to helping in the front office (various & sundry times. All during the day).

As I do in the rest of my world (and whether it’s right or wrong it’s who I am) I whipped out my Sharpie, picked an activity I could work into my schedule and I drew my mom-working-out-of-the-house-so-it-appears-Im-always-free-but-really-Im-not boundaries.

I fought off the pressure of the school as if I really did wield super-powers because I knew, if I over-committed, the one who’d pay the price is the one for whom I ostensibly was volunnteering.

The  Tornado.

I was proud of myself and yet, for the first time ever, I experienced guilt that didnt mesh with my guilt-definition.

I felt it while working.

Something which neither violated my moral code nor caused me to be unkind or hurt someone’s feelings.

I felt it at the end of the day when she & I would snuggle and she’d asked me how my work was & if it had been hard.

An act I should have celebrated (really? you’re learning empathy & to think about others? Im so proud!)

I was seeing my world through a narrow just-me lens —- something I’d always tried to challenge my clients not to do.

I heard her saying: How was work mama? Is that why you weren’t at school today with me like other mamas?

I exhausted myself with 18 thousand different approaches to how I could volunteer more than I’d already planned while still maintaining my current workload.

I beat myself up over the fact I loved my work almost as much as I adored unplugging entirely, meeting her at the bus stop at days end & immersing myself in Tornado time.

I likely would have maintained this cycle (here’s where I admit I wasnt listening to you adult-types who tried to tell me ) had I not seen the artwork pictured above at Meet the Teacher night.

Needless to say this over-tired misfit cried I noticed what she wrote & asked her about it the next morning as we played.

We had to say what we wanted to learned in kindergarten Mama (she said half paying attention and half coloring) and I want to be good at writing like you are good for your bosses with your work.

And like that my guilt vanished.

I cant promise myself it’s gone forever—but at least for now I learned (again) it was a wasted emotion & all in MY INTERPRETATION of the world around me.

When the Tornado prayed at night Thank you G-d for my mama come to lunch today she meant merely that.  THANK YOU MAMA.

When the Tornado prayed at night what I heard was Seriously G-D why the heck is my mom only there for lunch & only once a week?! 

It was all in my misfit-head.

So that’s where I am on this Friday.

Looking to you and wondering about YOUR EXPERIENCES with GUILT.

Are you like I am was & have you experienced guilt when, in all reality, it was entirely in your mind? (Hello we women beating ourselves up over self-care & making time to be healthy!)

Or have you happily lolloped through life, experienced nary a pang of misplaced guilt, & never lost sight of the definition I’d thought I’d internalized?  (I command ye to share below and feel not an iota of GUILT at asking for your time in showing us the light!)


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