I live with a tremendous amount of guilt. I never think I’m good enough. I know, I know, in my last post I wrote how much God loves me just the way I am, and that’s true, but there are many times that “I” don’t love me just the way I am.
I am in the process of cleaning up Christmas. Yesterday, the feast of the Epiphany, was the last day of the Christmas season, and in my house, that’s when Christmas officially ends. Over the weekend we had our annual Christmas/Epiphany open house, so I’m trying to clean up from that too. And while we were preparing for it, we threw an incredible amount of “stuff” into our bedrooms to get it out of the way.
My kids’ rooms are such a mess. The family room is a mess. The kitchen is a mess. And I can’t help but think if I were just a better housekeeper or a better mother, my house wouldn’t be in such disarray. Why can’t I get the kids to pick up after themselves? Why can’t I get myself off the computer and fold the laundry? Maybe if I wasn’t fighting depression I would have the energy to maintain a schedule? etc…
When I grew up our house was always spotless. In the back of my mind I can remember how methodical my mother was about housecleaning. She had a schedule for what days she would clean things. Sheet changing day was Saturday. Dusting and vacuuming the bedrooms were also Saturday. I try to rationalize. My mother had children five years apart and she only had two to clean up after. I’ve got three kids and one with special needs, and my kids are each around three years apart. More kids, more toys, plus behavioral issues on top of it. Take that mom.
But it’s not my mother’s fault. It’s mine. I’m not going to shift the blame. However, when I think about it, really think about it, a few suspicions about my lack of “domestic energy” and motivation come to mind. Sure, my childhood house was spotless, but our LIVES were a friggin’ mess. My mother worked tirelessly to emit a certain image of perfection that couldn’t be further from the truth. The house was clean, but we were miserable. My only sibling, a brother, threatened to run away on more than one occasion. I made a suicidal gesture at THIRTEEN for crying out loud.
None of us knew if we were going to get “happy daddy” or “crabby daddy” when he walked through the door at night. Many times when he drank he was actually MORE pleasant than when he was sober. And he could be a real tyrant no matter what his blood alcohol level.
I have this message firmly ingrained in my brain of how my house should look. Perhaps I fight against that. Not that I’m a slob. My house is more clutter than dirt. And I DO enjoy when the house IS clean. But it will not be the highest priority. I still have the guilt though, because of the impossibly high standards that have been programmed into my brain.
At least I’m at the point in my life where I feel angry about those standards, and about the guilt. I don’t need it, I don’t want it. I know it isn’t healthy, and I’m trying to get rid of it. Guilt does no one any good. Guilt is shaming. Guilt keeps us stuck. One of the first steps in moving on with life is to acknowledge that.
No one is perfect. I’m not the perfect wife. I’m not the perfect mother. But you know what? No one is. There is NO SUCH THING. I’m doing the best I can. I try to be a little better all the time. I know that’s good enough for God. I just have to keep telling myself that it’s also good enough for ME.