Exactly why do we feel so guilty?
It’s Monday evening. I have just sat down, earlier than usual having neglected to tick off more subjects than I care to mention from my to-do list. My brain is awash with things I should do, could do, want to do and really can’t be arsed to do.
My children are at an age where they still want me to put them to bed, story read, tucked up and cuddles for everyone. The eldest now comes back down most nights till about 9pm. It’s a weird time. By the time we actually hit the hour of the shower I am pretty much done in and patience is waining as I ask through gritted teeth for the smallest child to please get out of the shower for the 47th time.
Stop fighting, have you brushed your teeth, no we cannot read seven chapters tonight, yes I will bring you up a drink, you could have one before you come up or better still, bring one up yourself? Yes you do need to use soap, no your brother is not sleeping in my bed tonight, yes I did promise to make a cake but mummy is running on empty now and will go to Tesco straight after drop off in the morning.
Spending time with the little people is so important. Time is precious and for every bedtime they want me for cuddles, there will be a hundred where they don’t.
But when the kitchen is a mess, dinner’s not been started, the washing pile is growing despite the machine being on constant, the pile of “paperwork to sort” has grown into two and seems to be spreading across two rooms, there is more clean washing to fold than there is dirty to wash, the cat’s claws need trimming and you haven’t written a single hand written letter this month, how can you not feel guilty?
I used to write. Regularly too. Handwritten letters and cards, I have the most amazing collection and something for every occasion. But have I written to anyone recently? Taken the time to put pen to paper and inject some sunshine on to someone’s door mat? No. No I have not.
I used to cook. Love cooking. Am atrocious at the sweet stuff but savoury? I can most certainly get by. And I genuinely enjoy it. Nowadays if I spend longer than half an hour in the kitchen preparing a meal it must be midnight and I must be so drunk I have not yet worked out the toaster isn’t switched on at the wall.
I like to keep a clean and tidy house. I realise this makes me somewhat of an oxymoron what with three young boys living in the house but I just can’t help it. It makes me happy. It really does. Sad but true, I physically cannot relax if the house is a mess. But if tidy up time infringes upon my time with my children, I feel guilty. I should be spending time with them. I should be cleaning and tidying when they are in bed. The stupid thing is, I do. I make lunches and fold washing and tidy up and clean and sort. But there are not enough hours in the day and though superwoman I may be, a miracle worker I am not.
Why do we have this constant push pull inside of us that makes us sweat the small stuff? One of my favourite quotes is;
“I do not have ducks. They are not in a row. I have squirrels. And they are at a rave”
It’s a constant balancing act. Deciding what to get done and what can wait till later. What can be done tomorrow and what may never get done again.
I am trying to prioritise. I recently read an article that said if it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now. Fortunately for me most of the jobs I have to do take less than 5 minutes, the problem is there are 743 jobs to do and that’s just before breakfast tomorrow.
In some areas this mantra has made a difference to my life. I have found myself becoming that little bit more productive, forcing myself to get stuff done now rather than later.
Saying that is there anyone that doesn’t push the contents of the bin down really hard just so you don’t quite have to go to the bin right now? Man I hate that job.
I’m not sure of the point of this blog really other than to say I sat here procrastinating over what to do. Which jobs have to be done tonight and which can be left till tomorrow. And here I am. Writing. Not doing any of the jobs on my list. What the hell, it’s cathartic right?
I guess the message is to do what makes you happy. Try to get a balance. I love spending time with my children but I also enjoy being in a clean and tidy environment without clutter or chaos. I like cleaning my house but I love going to the gym and working out super hard and catching up with my favourite gym buddy. It’s a balance. A nightmare, china plates on a stick kinda balance. But it’s a balance nonetheless.
Do more of what makes you happy.