Wash me clean from my Guilt...

This is a pretty typical conversation in my household.

Husband:  How was your day?
Me: (spoken at Mach 10, and more high pitched than I care to admit) I KNOW, the house is a mess.  My day was crazy, it took us 4 hours to get through school today.  I tried to get laundry done while doing school, and then Owen unfolded all the laundry that was sitting on the sofa, so I had to do it again, and I am pretty sure more food ended up on the floor than in mouths at lunch today, and then we tried to do a craft but it was a total disaster, the creation is sitting over there with that pile of bills I haven’t got to.  Oh yeah, I did not call that company I was supposed to, but I did set up that appointment for you, and that was fun, because before I got on the phone I reminded Olivia to be quiet while I was on the phone, and she did great the first 15 minutes while I was sitting on hold, but Owen hit Olivia and screaming ensued the moment the operator came on and I basically just left the kids to fend for themselves so I could finish the call because quite frankly I couldn’t handle the elevator music any more and while I was on the phone Owen climbed up on the ladder and fell and now he has a nice welt on his forehead. And of all of that is why dinner isn't ready and the house looks like a bomb went off in here.
I feel guilty.

Instead of just answering my husband’s question, I looked around at what I perceive him seeing as he steps in the door,  (a mess of toys, books and plenty of food on the floor but nothing he can eat for dinner) and immediately feel the need to justify why.  

Why do I feel the need to justify what gets done in the day?  It’s not my husband’s fault.  When he walks in the door, he doesn’t mention the toys.  He is pretty great about scooping the kids up and talking to them to give me a few minutes to myself.  

It’s me.  For some crazy reason I put this burden on myself.  I have truckloads of guilt some days because I get to stay at home, and I don’t have to deal with a daily commute, or a boss and a deadline.  For the most part, I make my own deadlines, and if I feel like going to the zoo, we can or we can meet friends at the park.  In some ways, being a stay at home mom is a pretty sweet job (you know, minus the whole no income thing).  There are days where I actually seemed to have all my ducks in a row, and there aren’t any pressing chores on my to do list, the kids are playing quietly, and I sit down to read a book, and I just feel guilty.  As soon as I sit down my mind starts racing with all of the things I should be doing.

As I sat down to write this, I asked myself why I feel the need to justify my day to people.  Where is all of this guilt coming from?  Here are my personal reasons.

1 I want reassurance what I am doing is correct.
2 I want to prove my worth.  I try to justify ALL that I do in a day because I don’t bring home a paycheck every week.  Look at what I did today.  I am a contributing family member.
3 I am seeking praise from other people.
4 I am seeking help/counsel/advice.  

So where do I go from here?  
As a Christian, I am set free from this burden, so why am I carrying it?  
If I am completely honest with myself, I have fallen out of my routines.  I haven’t been consistently reading from my bible.  I haven’t been praying without ceasing.  There has been more than a few nights I have tucked children into bed with a “Thanks God for all that you do, We love you, Amen” as I sprint out the door to do more stuff.

This leads me to my first point.
I am making ‘work hours’ for myself.  I will have a clock in/clock out time.  During those hours I will do my best to get all my chores done, but if something doesn’t get done, it can wait until tomorrow.  I am stopping the madness of rolling out bed and immediately doing whatever chores I see need done, and dragging myself to bed each night weary from running around so much during the day.  About 30 minutes before my husband leaves for work, my time starts.  That gives me time to get his lunch packed, and breakfast started.  My kids go to bed at 7, and once they are tucked in, I am done with chores for the day.

But if my day is so busy now, how will I manage to get all I need to done in one day?  Any given day, I can tell you a lot of stuff I did, but very little of it is something that is needed.

Second Point
Too often I allow ‘If you give a mouse a muffin’ to take place in my home.  I roll out of bed and walk downstairs to read my bible, but first I will make some coffee, and then I will see the dishwasher needs unloaded, and then I will see that toy that needs put away and I let myself get distracted.  I am a distracted individual.  I tell my husband I just don’t have time in the day to do any more, but in reality I lose focus on what’s most important and I let menial tasks fill my day.  

Third Point
I am putting reminders throughout my house to help me remember to focus on what is most important.  I am a visual person, so notecards are being tacked up all over my home to remind me that
1) I am child of God, and I don’t need to prove my worth by doing more  
2) It’s ok to rest
3) I don’t need to carry this guilt.

Fourth Point
Lastly, I am drinking more water.  So much of my day is spent meeting other people’s needs (as I am trying to write this I am giving one child a back massage, and wiping another’s nose) I often forget to take care of myself.  If I don’t take care of myself, then I can’t take care of others.

What it all boils down to is this: I will never be able to meet all my family's needs. I wasn't made to. We are not created to have perfect homes, perfect families, and perfect lives, because if everything is perfect we don't need a Savior. So although we will never have it all together, we will have Jesus, and he can hold us together.

I would love to hear from you.  Do you feel you need to justify yourself as a stay at home mom?  Do you feel guilty when you rest?  How do you overcome the guilt?  Share in the comments below!  

**Photography done by Bambi Guthrie Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting! We love to read your comments on our projects. When you leave a comment it may not post immediately, but don't worry we will see it!