I should probably have been born a Catholic.
Nah, screw that, I’m far too lethargic/apathetic to remember to pray all the time and go to church every week.
But I do have a guilt complex of which a Catholic would be proud.
I feel guilty about EVERYTHING.
You know when you eat a can of baked beans? If I leave even one bean in the can when I empty it into the saucepan (oh alright, microwave dish, I’m not shit-hot enough at being a wife and mother to use metal saucepans to heat things in. But I digress…) I feel actually properly guilty about leaving that one bean, alone. Alone and unable to fulfill its life purpose as a baked bean, which is to be eaten by my child.
I think I can pinpoint when this all started, and just like every other sob-story, it harks back to my parents separating. Let me just say at this point that I don’t hold either of my parents responsible for this. I think I was born this way. But I do distinctly remember being picked up by my Dad on a Saturday and feeling a huge pang of guilt about leaving my Mum for the day. It didn’t occur to me that my Mum was probably doing the freedom-hokey-cokey in our living room (I was an extremely attached child, I do believe she’s recounted stories of using the loo with me on her lap, which makes it feel like it’s poetic justice when I do the same with Sausage).
But it didn’t end there. Every time my Dad dropped me home I would get so overwhelmingly sad about leaving my him to go home alone that I would sit and cry in my Nan’s hallway.
Wow. This has turned out to be a bit depressing. I didn’t mean for that to happen, this was going to be a post full of scathing witticisms, but I like the way that my blog posts start one way and I think they’ll follow a certain path, but end up leading me somewhere totally different. I guess it’s part of the catharsis.
These days, my guilt is just as prevalent. My husband tells me that I say sorry an unreasonable amount, and that I make him feel like an ogre with my constant apologies. And I don’t do it because I think he’ll be annoyed with me for forgetting to put a sweetener in his tea/leaving his oldest, favourite t-shirt too near the hamster cage so that Happy drags the sleeve in and eats it/doing my best Master Blaster impression and accidentally kicking him the balls. It’s because saying sorry is the only way I know how to purge my guilt, to let people know that I take my own mistakes really seriously. Although, that’s the problem, being my own worst critic means that more often than not, things I perceive to be grave errors are nothing more than a trifle.
Motherhood seems to be a whole barrel of new things to feel guilty over. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I love being a mother and I love Sausage more than is probably healthy. But I worry that I should be doing everything differently and feel guilty that I’ve done things a certain way. It doesn’t matter that Sausage is astoundingly bright, well-rounded and sociable. I still feel guilty that I don’t read to her enough, or didn’t take her to enough activities and groups when she was little.
But where does this get me? Abso-bloody-lutely nowhere.
Guilt is like an anvil that you wear around your neck, and it gets a little heavier each day. So how do we cut it loose?
I can honestly say; I have no idea. I’ve been this way my whole life. I wouldn’t even know where to start trying to change the habits of a lifetime.
If anyone has any idea of how to do that, maybe you could let me know. Until then, I’ll say goodnight….and sorry, just in case!
2 thoughts on “My overactive guilt gland.”
It makes me sad when Sausage apologises all the time too, and I do fully take the blame. I try to tell her that she needn’t do it, I’m just hoping it’s something she’ll grow out of.
I’ve always known that you and I were alike, Mum, but I don’t think I realised just how much! And yes, we are undoubtably fruitcakes, I’m surprised you even still bother to question it!
Hi kiddo, Mum here again.
Just been reading a couple of your blogs which made me chuckle because like it or not, YOU ARE YOUR MOTHERS DAUGHTER! You spoke about the guilt gland, well like you I am my biggest critic and I think I use the word sorry more than any other word in the English language, and in case you havent noticed, your 2 year old also utters the word frequently which often makes me feel sad because invariably she’s done nothing wrong, but she’s a sweet kid who loves to please. I think the women in our family are born worriers and always will be. What you said about feeling guilty if you were to leave a solitary bean in the can all on its lonesome is exactly what I do. Hey, maybe we’re just fruitcakes eh?