Feeling better, so much better

by DaniGirl on May 21, 2005 · 5 comments

in Uncategorized

I don’t usually blog on the weekends, but I’ve been so touched and overwhelmed by your kind comments that I had to write something. Plus, I’m feeling a little bad about leaving such a negative post hanging out there, begging for sympathy, when I really am feeling so much better. It’s quite like SnackMommy said, by the time you can figure out what’s bugging you enough to write it down, you’ve often got the problem more than half solved. And sometimes just transferring it from inside to outside is enough to convince you to let go of it, whatever it may be.

It continues to amaze me the kinship one finds on the Internet. Many of you who responded with reassurance and camradarie are friends from other times and places, but many of you are new to my life since blog. I am truly blessed. Thank you. I wish you the same feelings of comfort and friendship in your next darkened day.

My mother and I had a long, tearful (on my part, not hers) chat about this, and we narrowed the bulk of my problems right now down to the omnipresent Mommy Guilt. I feel guilty for not being more than I am, for being able to give more than I have. She asked me if I am doing my very best, and I said yes, I really am.

Then why feel guilt, she asked me. Why should you feel guilty for doing your very best?

Why indeed?

If you are honestly doing everything you can to be a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good employee, a good daughter, a good person, how can you go wrong? I mean, nobody’s perfect, not me and certainly not my kids (whoops, should have probably worded that the other way around) but what fun would it be if we were? What would I have to blog about in a perfect world?

This guilt is so deeply ingrained right now that I’m really going to have to work at ignoring it’s demanding cry. I’m going to ignore that guilt until it stops throwing fist-pounding tantrums in my psyche, stops tugging on my emotional pant leg and stops whimpering passive-agressively in the background.

Heck, if I can ignore the dust and the unmade beds and the weed-choked garden, I should be able to ignore mommy guilt.

Once again, I wish this was a little more eloquent, but as usual, I am stealing time from something else to write this. With another hour or two to spare, I could edit, revise and polish — or at least make sure I am coherent today.

But you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay with stealing a little bit of time for me, I’m okay with the fact that the lawn probably won’t get cut today (it’s raining anyway – who said it could rain on my long weekend?) and I’m okay with the fact that this isn’t perfectly written and edited.

Because I’m doing my best. And that’s all I can do.

(Could someone please remind me to read this about once a week for the next 20 or 30 years?)

And once again, let me say thank you to all of you who offered your support and shared experience yesterday and today. Even someone as verbose as me has trouble coming up with the right words to tell you how your comments and insight made me feel better about myself.

You’ve done a lovely thing and you should be proud.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Troy May 22, 2005 at 2:26 am

I fret about all that stuff constantly, but I love how you summed up your solution. I believe that, at the end of every day, if you can honestly tell yourself you did the best you could with what you had to work with, you’ve succeeded. Take care of the little moments, and the months and years take care of themselves.

2 AnnaJ May 22, 2005 at 12:29 pm

Danigirl, so happy you are feeling much better. As Troy said above, you summed it up better than most. If only we can remember everyday that we are doing the best we can, than it is all we can do. Thank you for sharing to help bring all of us out that feel the same way but don’t necessarily have the courage to write about it. Hope you are having a fantastic weekend.
Anna – hoping you can squeeze a little bit of you time in there.

3 mgood May 22, 2005 at 8:55 pm

It’s good to hear you’re feeling much better. You are probably being too hard on yourself, too. Your worst is probably better than a zillion other people’s best too. Keep that in mind.
As a former detail oriented perfectionist, I used to not even begin jobs until I could do them exactly right from start to finish. It made me look like a big procrastinator, because so many things didn’t get started and then sat there and silently accused me. I heard this somewhere, and made it my new parent motto:
Strive for Completion, Not Perfection.
So what I’m saying is, you don’t even have to be doing your best sometimes. You just have to be doing it. A posted post is better than a perfectly edited and eloquent post idling on the draft board. (See my blog.) Your lawn is probably not the worst lawn in the neighbourhood. Your house isn’t as dusty as mine, because we are enduring ten weeks of construction on our street and I’m not even going to attempt to do more than wipe the TV screen with the hem of my tee shirt until that’s over. Just follow my house rule about dust: You can write your name in it, but not the date. Cripes, at this point, I don’t even care if every diaper change is an exercise in precision and impeccable hygeine – I don’t want the changing pad laid with the bees in the right direction, the wipes unfurled and warmed in my hand, the diaper cream neatly and evenly applied, the tabs on the diaper evenly matched, and the elastic gathers at the legs arranged just so and then my hands washed with warm vanilla sugar anti-bacterial soap and moisturized with the matching hand cream – I just want the poopy diaper off, and the clean diaper on and clean hands afterward.
Your kids will not remember if they lived in a dusty house with a well manicured lawn – but they will remember a stressed out mommy. You’re not stealing from anything by taking time for yourself – you’re helping your family to have good memories of you.
Yep. That’s it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

4 Batman May 23, 2005 at 7:12 am

I just had to say, that was wonderful.

5 Danigirl May 23, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Ditto what Batman said, Marla!
And I am totally stealing not only the motto but the “you can write your name in the dust but not the date” rule. Brilliant!
Thanks to Troy and Anna, too. {smooch}
xo Danigirl

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