guilt-shmilt

“these mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” -najwa zebian

I know I can’t be the only one who’s ever felt guilty for not properly learning how to juggle. For having 10 balls in the air at a time and inevitably dropping at least half of them. For having a good rhythm going, thinking I’m managing all things in my life, and then some sound distracts me and I turn my head and next thing I know, chaos ensues.

I have two young kids. Do you know how many pieces of paper come how with them each day from school? How many things I need to complete and sign? How many apps I need to communicate with various teachers and coaches and how many different accounts and websites are required? My boys aren’t even in that many activities and it’s still ridiculous. I want the best for my kids but they also need a sane mom!

I have a husband living with ALS. I’m grateful for the internet and Amazon because that allows him to at least order what he needs & wants without assistance. But you fellow caregivers know… letters from providers, medication management, appointment scheduling & contact lists, being placed on hold only to be connected with the wrong person, paperwork galore. Not to mention assistance with daily activities that require time and attention. It’s overwhelming to navigate, much less with patience and grace and a smile.

We also have a house that needs cleaning and a flower beds that need weeding and a lawn that needs mowing and other bills that need paying and clothes that need washing and folding and on and on. Oh and all these people in my house expect to be fed, and more than once a day.

So why, when I wake up and make my to-do list, and fail to cross much off by the end of the day, do I feel guilty? I know I’m not the only one. I can never do enough, because there is SO MUCH to always do. And then, I feel guilty for feeling guilty, because I know my job right now is to support and care for my family and these other little things I want to do and keep up on shouldn’t matter, and I should just focus on being present. If I focus on the task, I’m a lousy mom and a lousy wife and a lousy caregiver. If I focus on the mom/wife/caregiver responsibilities, I’m failing at being a home maker and house owner.

But I also want an escape and do things for me because maybe I’m selfish but I also believe in personal growth and keeping my own health up. So now I feel guilty for not only not doing the things on my list but also for not being present with my family. Yet I know I need to also take care of myself because, self care, blah blah blah. We all know we need to care of ourselves.

It’s all a big mind screw. It’s so stinkin’ hard to just accept we cannot do it all, or at least not today. Not when so many demands are in front of us. And to just be okay with that. To accept it. To give ourselves GRACE rather than feel the guilt. To remind ourselves, not everything needs to be done now. Not everything needs to be done right. I am enough and I am doing my best. I deserve peace and calm. Sometimes the laundry sits for a few days and sometimes my kids play video games and sometimes I say no to the whole damn world and let all the balls fall to the ground so I can sit and write to try to process my emotions.

I have no magic bullet. No real answers. Some days I feel all the guilt weighing on me and that can be the heaviest burden of all. Of judging myself and only seeing where I am failing. But when I take a deep breath and remember life is so much more than a to-do list, and each day brings its own needs, I can find a way to fit what matters into the day. I’m learning, day by day, how to give myself more grace.

How do you let go of the guilt and give yourself grace?

2 Comments

  1. Love your first comment about juggling. To be honest, I actually learned how to juggle when my daughters were young and participated in a circus performing arts program. Unfortunately, actually knowing how to juggle does NOT help when on the caregiving path! 😉
    But, I know what you mean. Adding the caregiving layer onto an already normally busy life seems almost cruel. I mean, stereotypically, the man’s main role in life is to be the bread-winner. If that’s going well, being a dad and himself seem to take care of themselves. But for women, we tend to make every hat we wear / role we play a priority, all at the same time: wife, mother, employee, daughter, sister, head-of-household, school / extracurricular volunteer, neighbor, friend, chef and housekeeper are just a few of the many directions that we are expected to master and stay on top of. But this expectation is mostly self inflicted. Throw caregiver in the mix, whether full-time or part-time and you have the perfect recipe for overwhelm. And a natural breeding ground for guilt.
    Honestly, I find it a roller coaster ride as well. And I’ve learned to hone in my “fire fighting” skill on the crisis of the moment, and let everything else fall away. When I can’t stand the sight of the unfolded laundry, I deal with it. When the sink full of dishes begins to annoy me, or we’ve run out!, I deal with it. Since visits by family and friends seem to drop off when there’s someone who needs a lot of help to survive on a daily basis, I don’t sweat it. And, if someone does stop by and witnesses the cyclone effect of my life, I don’t feel guilty. I’ll actually try and spin it to make THEM feel guilty…. guilty for not coming around more often, for not offering to help more often, for not showing up … like I am.
    I don’t remember who coined it, but : Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s ALL small stuff.
    Keep on keepin’ on … you’re doing GREAT.

    Like

    1. Awesome that you can juggle for real! And you hit the nail on the head… we do try to do it all, and usually only because we ourselves think we need to. I love your comment about letting visitors see the chaos to encourage them to help! Thanks for commenting and agree… don’t sweat the small stuff! Easier said than done, but it’s true none the less!

      Like

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