I have a lot of guilt.
I’ve tried to unload it over the years and sometimes I do a good job of misplacing it for awhile, but I always manage to find it again. Usually under a pile of laundry.
I feel guilty for standing at my computer so much instead of playing with my kids. 90% of the time when I’m on my computer, I’m working but that doesn’t make me feel better about it. That just makes me feel guilty for working so much.
I feel guilty for working so much when right now it feels like my business isn’t profitable enough to actually be a business. Now that my biz is entirely online, I am struggling to make actual money even though I am passionate about what I do and put so much effort and love and attention into my work.
I feel guilty that I just dumped a bunch of money into my business to try and make it function more professionally (better website, the ability to sell directly from my site, a legit biz plan) even though we’ve had to make tough decisions about what we can afford and what we can’t afford lately.
I feel guilty for not just giving up this dream of running a successful and satisfying online business and being a stay at home mom instead.
I feel guilty for feeling that being a stay-at-home-mom is not what I want to be.
I feel guilty for putting Archer down when he wants to be held because I have work to do. He plays really well by himself but I feel guilty for not giving him more of my attention.
I feel guilty for using the TV to babysit and distract Milly when I am working, especially when she watches TV for more than 2hrs at a time. Especially when she’s watching something that’s not particularly educational or valuable and just brain candy. She doesn’t eat much food candy. She shouldn’t let her brain eat too much candy either.
I feel guilty for not going to the playground as much this summer, even though this was due to the fact that every day felt like we were being cooked alive.
I feel guilty for not spending as much time outside even though we have a fully fenced back yard.
I feel guilty for not exploring our city every free moment and learning all of its cool secrets.
I feel guilty for missing book club this month, which I’d been looking forward to. In fact, I feel guilty for blowing off so many of the social offers I’ve received or not following through on the friends of friends who reached out to me since we moved here. I’m more socially awkward than most people realize and get all nervous when meeting new people. I’ve also felt super isolated since moving to Texas, so I need those lifelines and feel guilty for not using so many of them.
I feel guilty every single time I buy something with plastic. Especially if it’s something I could make that wouldn’t involve using plastic packaging.
I feel guilty because I haven’t learned how to can foods like tomatoes or peaches. I feel guilty because I haven’t learned how to make my own jam or vegan yogurt or kombucha. I feel like I should be able to do these things and I don’t because they also feel daunting.
I feel guilty every single time I throw away food.
I feel guilty for not loving my body enough. Even though I’ve conquered my eating disorders and have a much healthier approach to food, I still find myself judging my body more than loving my body. Some days I do; some days I don’t.
I feel guilty because I believe in body positivity and acceptance at any size and yet I still struggle to find daily acceptance in my own body.
I feel guilty when I pick fights with my husband out of stress and defensiveness, even when he’s done nothing wrong.
I feel guilty when I yell at Milly. I know better. I can feel the better choice in my brain and in my body and still I sometimes choose to yell because I know it will make an impact. I hate scaring her. It is literally the last thing in the world I want to do. And yet sometimes I can’t help myself.
I feel guilty when Milly calls me “the meanest Mommy in the world.” I am afraid it is true. I am afraid I am scarring her for life. And although there are far more hugs and cuddles and laughs and giggles and joyful moments than there are yells and tears, it still breaks my heart when she hurts because of me.
I feel guilty that my house is constantly a disaster area. I feel guilty that there are still some boxes that we haven’t yet unpacked from our move over 6 months ago. I feel guilty that I don’t clean as much as my husband does. I also feel enormously grateful that he cleans as much as he does. Especially the bathrooms. There is nothing I like to clean less than the bathrooms.
There’s a lot.
I could go one.
Basically, you’ve been reading my journal for the past 875 words.
The truth is, this is only one side of the story. I do think it’s an important story to tell because many people only show the shiny, pretty, picture-perfect sides of themselves to the world (I see you, Instagram and Pinterest) and I’d rather show both.
That said, here’s the other side of that guilt coin.
There is one thing I never feel guilty about and that’s self-care.
I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself because it’s what keeps me sane. In my opinion, doing self-care is like taking chocolate-flavored vitamins. They are delicious and give you the extra nutrition you need to function at a higher level of health.
I don’t feel guilty when I say to my daughter in the morning, “Mommy is going to sit in meditation right now. That means I can’t help you with anything unless it’s an emergency like you have to poop.”
I don’t feel guilty when I stay up a little later than I’d intended to in order to soak my feet in leftover bathwater and pumice my feet for a few minutes.
I don’t feel guilty when I sit and read a chapter in the book I am currently reading instead of washing the dishes from lunch.
I don’t feel guilty when I draw or paint instead of working on my business.
I don’t feel guilty when I end up playing on my yoga mat longer than I meant to and end up rushing a bit more through my morning.
I don’t feel guilty to dancing in my kitchen to Pink and Katy Perry and Old School hip hop like “Baby Got Back” and the entire soundtrack of Hamilton.
I don’t feel guilty when I take a day off work to go tubing with my family, which we’re doing tomorrow.
Self-care is not something that makes me feel guilty. I used to feel guilty about doing things for myself instead of (cleaning the house/working on my biz/playing with my kids) to the point that I wasn’t actually doing anything for myself.
I’d completely forgotten how to take care of myself.
So I slowly started rebuilding my daily self-care and my weekly self-care. It took time, but eventually I created a pretty sweet self-care toolkit full of the best self-care tools for me.
And even though I still feel a fair amount of guilt for the many aspects of my life I wish were different or I wish I could do differently, I also feel a lot healthier and happier than I’ve ever been. I also feel like I have a greater ability to change those things that I feel guilty about, slowly and consciously, in the same slow methodical way that I added self-care tools to my toolkit.
I also know what makes me feel good, what brings me joy, what calms me down, what cools my fire, and what gives my overactive mind a break so that I can manage the challenges that I face daily without letting them make me crazy every time.
I’ve realized that feeling guilt is healthy. Sometimes it’s appropriate; sometimes it’s not. Most of the time, guilt is just my conscience talking to me although sometimes it’s my conscience bullying me.
And while there are plenty of things worthy of guilt, self-care just isn’t one of them.
Oh and if you want to make your own chocolate “vitamins”, here’s a recipe:
Double Walnut Chocolate Energy Balls
(raw, vegan, low sugar)
1 cup walnuts
walnut pulp *
1.5 TBS raw cacao powder
1 TBS chia seeds
1 TBS maca powder (optional, but worthwhile if you’re going to make these often)**
5 dates, pitted
1 tsp vanilla
a little salt
2-3 TBS coconut oil
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.
When it’s all sticky and mostly together, scoop out a TBS at a time and roll into little balls.
Place them on a plate in the freezer or fridge to make them hold together better. I also like them better colder.
*if you make nut milk, after you squeeze the liquid out you’re left with nut pulp. I used to throw it away. Instead I now add to these types of balls. Any nut pulp works. Just make sure you don’t put it in the blender first because it won’t combine as well.
**I like maca but if you know herbs, there are other dried powders you could use instead, depending on what you’re after. Ashwaganda, astralgus, nettles, burdock root – you can get creative depending on your health desires.