Posted by: angiefm | July 8, 2010

Guilt

On Saturday, while trying to keep Daniel entertained while I was changing bedsheets in the master bedroom, I turned on the TV and found myself watching Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.  😛  This was the episode where Nicole Appelman, wife, mother of two young children and school teacher, gets help to dress her petite self in something other than T-shirts and capris (hmmm … sounds like my kinda dressing!).  She has supposedly neglected herself while taking care of the needs of her home, her husband and her two sons.

During the episode, Laura Bennett comes on.  She is apparently some person from Project Runway who has six kids.  But who am I to know these things.  🙂  She makes Laura write on strips of paper, the things she wants to do but feels guilty about doing.  The list includes going for a manicure, pedicure, facial, dinner, etc.  Then (and this part gets too cheesy for me) she makes her put on this weighted jacket, adds the strips of paper, which we now see are tied to weights, and makes her walk around in it, commenting about how terrible it is to be carrying all this guilt around.  Then she cuts the strips of paper off the weights, puts them in a jar and gives her a pep talk about how it is OKAY to take time off for herself and indulge in her own needs and how she should shed the guilt.

Okay.  That was a LONG lead in to my thoughts.  😀

I have three thoughts about this.  I didn’t get them all at once, mind you, and after I talked to TC over multiple occasions about this, I still couldn’t articulate them properly when I sat down to write this post, so I had to mull over it for a few days.  But now there are three, and here they are …

1. We all make choices about how we live our lives.  And we live by the choices we make.

It is in the nature of a choice that we gain something and lose another.  TC used to dive, but after having children he stopped for the very practical reason that diving mishaps are not covered by insurance companies.  🙂  I stopped working after our 3rd child was born.  Now I can’t have uninterrupted coffee breaks at Starbucks.  For that matter, the word “UNINTERRUPTED” no longer exists in my vocabulary.  When we get married, we have to consider our other half when we make decisions.  We no longer function, think, decide, live in a vacuum.  When we have children, lagi (even) worse!  Ha ha.  Some choices are reversable, or at least alterable.  You can change jobs, you can move house, you can buy a new wardrobe.  Hey, if you homeschool, you can even send your kids back to school!  *shudder*  Others are not.  You cannot unmarry (let’s not get into that right now), you cannot un-have children.  So think before you choose, and to the best of your ability, count the cost before you decide.

2. Guilt is an emotion you feel when you have done something wrong, either legally or morally.  Why should one feel guilty about going for a manicure?

You shouldn’t feel guilty about going for a pedicure or a facial or out for dinner alone with your spouse.  Unless your family finances can’t afford for you to do it, or you have left your young children alone at home in order to get it done.  If there is something you would really like to do, agree with your spouse for you to do it, then get help with the kids, or make other arrangements to get it done!  TC and I went to a massage at the Aramsa Spa at Bishan Park (wah!  SHIOK MAN!).  It was my best friend’s gift to us.  And she took care of ALL FOUR children while we were there.  Once a month, I go to the reflexology place at Loyang Point run by Refresh and get a back massage for my aching back.  TC stays home with the kids or they hang out at McDonald’s to wait for me.  I know a mom who takes an afternoon off every week and leaves her kids with her mom to do so.  She goes to the library and has some alone time to get back on track and plan for the next week.  If you feel you must do something, find ways to do it.  The last thing your husband and children need is someone playing matyr at home.  You know the kind of person who says … oh poor me, look at how much I have sacrificed for my family, and no one appreciates me, and I can’t do anything for myself, etc, ad nauseam.

3. We all have different needs.  And wants.  Don’t compare.

Some couples go off on holiday for alone time together.  TC and I would never dream of doing that.  Are these other couples wrong and selfish by doing that?  Or are we insane and not looking after our spousal relationship by not?  Who’s to judge!  Each family makes its own decisions.  Don’t compare.  My favourite “getaway” is to go grocery shopping on my own then sit down at Ya Kun for a cup of tea.  Upsized of course.  Or to have a WHOLE cup of bubble tea (milk tea with pearls please) to myself and not have to share it with my kids.  😀  Being able to do these things is enough to revitalise me.  I’m cheap to upkeep.  🙂  Others go online shopping to stay sane.  Others need that manicure (I have one had ONE manicure/pedicure in my life just before my wedding.)  Or that session at the gym.  Or that afternoon nap.  Do what you need to do.  And don’t compare.

4. (Okay, make that FOUR thoughts, not THREE) Remember that there is a season for everything.  Enjoy the one you’re in.  Because it will one day be over.

Just because you can’t leave the kids home on their own now to have some couple time, doesn’t mean you will NEVER be able to do it.  Just because you can’t go to the gym on a regular basis because you have a nursling, doesn’t mean you will NEVER be able to go.  Recognise that we are in a particular season of our lives.  There will be time enough to do many (probably not all) the things we want to do in the next season of our lives.  So embrace the season you are in now.  All too soon it will be over.  And when it does end, don’t be left with regrets of all the things you should have done but didn’t.  For our family in this season, that means enjoying our children at home, teaching and bringing them up to know and love the Lord and each other.

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Responses

  1. Amen I say! 🙂

    And to add – some people’s seasons are longer than others. But it is still a season 😀

  2. I couldn’t agree more!
    “Me” time can take many forms and need not necessarily be hours away from home or the kids. A 15-minute breakfast at home after sending my little girl to playgroup does wonders for me before I get down to the chores.
    And yes, a season for everything…for now, I’ll treasure the hours I spend with my little girl each day 🙂

  3. How very true, Angie! My husband and I are so used to feeling guilty that now we don’t do certain things anymore because of that! That’s a real pity. But like you said, there’s a season to everything. My daughter just turned six yesterday and we are like “wow, that’s fast!”. My son will turn four soon and we still have a baby girl that turned 5 months. Have to treasure every season!

  4. Thanks for analysing, organising and expressing these thoughts out clearly that are somewhere in my being (as if)! I too only had one pedi and medi so far in my life (yes, on my wedding day), and my favourite chill out drink is MOS ice lemon tea and bubble tea w/o milk and sugar! Yum yum yum delicioso! Yeah! Embrace each season of life with contentment and super joy!

  5. I woke up earlier yesterday morning and was able to enjoy a slow breakfast over sunday papers – the first in months and months since my 13.5month old was born – before he woke up and demanded my full attention. Recalled your article and I felt blessed for that little me-time!

  6. Angie, I’ve got a reverse regret problem (for lack of a better phrase). I totally get your point 4 but for me, I’m enjoying the season with my kids so much that watching them grow up, I’m getting the blues now! I so want to hang on to this moment because I see it zooming past so quickly. I guess it’s a better “problem” than most and I now understand why some parents have another sudden “bundle” when their existing ones are some years ahead *grin*

    • I totally understand, Monica! I get that way some days too. I don’t want them to grow up. I see Alethea and how she has grown so much and become so mature and sensible, and I want her to STOP! So good thing we have Daniel to keep us sane for now! 😀 Does a 9 year gap count as a “sudden bundle”? *big grin* Or should we be working on another? *wink*

      • Haha! I didn’t feel it so much with Lesley-Anne cos I don’t think she was ever a kid (like maybe for 6 months LOL) but Andre growing up gives me a real pang. No wonder mums tend to baby their youngest, I plead guilty to that! 9 year gap not too bad lah, considering you have 2 others in between. Enjoy them all, it ends too soon!!

  7. Grin. 🙂 When the season is right for you, maybe you’d consider putting your posts together in some way and you could publish a book 🙂 I’ll buy it, read it and give it away to friends 🙂 I’m often bemoaning the fact that Jared is way too grown up and he’s not “cute” anymore (not in the little boy way)…but SK wisely reminds me that there will be joy in the next season – just as much as there is in this. 🙂

  8. […] across this post by this blogger: https://teachingourown.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/guilt/ insightful and i guess, a good thought-provoking piece for […]


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