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Pack your bags boys and girls because we’re going on a guilt trip

This week over at Sprite’s Keeper: Spin Cycle, the topic is guilt. Now here’s something I’m familiar with.

I was raised Catholic, and I went to Catholic school for 12 years, and let me tell you, us Catholics? We’re all about the guilt. We feel guilty for swearing (actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve overcome this one), guilty about thinking dirty thoughts, guilty about premarital sex (guilty about thinking about premarital sex), guilty not going to church enough, whatever. Doesn’t matter. I can think of a million reasons to feel guilty without really trying. In school, we were marched into a confessional to rid ourselves of the sins. But not so much the guilt.

My mother is a genius with the guilt. My sister-in-law (who’s Jewish) swears my mom was a Jewish mother in another life. She can be naggy, overprotective, controlling and more than a bit manipulative on occasion. In Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint he says  that “a Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy until the day he (or his parents) dies.” The same thing applies to a Catholic daughter. It doesn’t matter whether I’m a teenager drinking wine coolers or Peppermint Schnapps, sneaking a puff off my mom’s Kents, or an adult with a husband, step-kids and a career, my mom can wield the guilt like a Samurai, slashing and cutting through me like a sword.

Why?

Because I don’t call enough. Because I can’t talk to her for an hour and a half when I do talk to her. Because I don’t get out there to see them enough. Because, because, because…

Unless I work fairly late, I call my parents almost every night on my way home. I talk to them on Saturday morning. I talk to them on Sunday morning. I probably don’t get out to see them enough, but they just live far enough away that I can’t go out, hang for a bit and come home. I feel guilty about that.

My mom is totally frustrating to talk to sometimes (example: Mom: How’s that girl doing? Me: What girl? Mom: You know the one who did that thing. Me: Who?? Mom: That girl. *Sigh*), and I feel guilty when I get frustrated with her.

I realize they’re getting older and I’m lucky that they’re both healthy, so I feel guilty that I don’t spend more time with them.

My my guilt doesn’t just stop and start with my parents, though.

I feel guilty when I’m on overload or just tired and I neglect my husband. I don’t put him first or even second sometimes and I feel guilty about that.

I feel guilty when I don’t have enough time for my friends. I don’t keep a huge circle of friends, but I care very much about the people I do surround myself with and I feel bad when I don’t see them.

I feel guilty when I get home late and don’t walk the dog.

I feel guilty that I get lazy and don’t want to cook dinner.

I feel guilty when I mouth off, trying to be funny or snarky and I end up hurting someone’s feelings.

And in case you’re wondering Bill, I do sort of feel guilty that I never apologize. For anything.

Even when I’m the only one putting pressure on myself, I feel guilty. I feel like I should be able to do more, be more, have more time, squeeze more things into that time.

Really, it’s amazing that I get anything done during the day with all this guilt dragging me down.

Damn, this is just like confession. And I feel guilty that I haven’t done that in at least 20 years.

Oh well, one more thing to add to the list…

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8 Responses

  1. 1. Totally forgiven for the title theft. (Worth it to read this!)
    2. Oh, heaven help me, your mother and my mother would get along so well. My mother sees everything in black and white and shades of Fran. If it’s not right, wrong or the way she wants it, it either doesn’t exist or she will beat it down until it ceases to exist.
    3. I am becoming my mother. Sprite is so screwed.
    4. You’re linked!
    5. You’re forgiven. I know I forgave you on number 1,
    but I thought you needed a little extra.. 🙂
    6. Someone needs to forgive me. If my mom reads this comment, I am SO dead.

  2. Is it idealization or something? Coz in my head, I have an idea of who and what I’m supposed to be to be a good wife, mother, daughter, friend, colleague and blah blah friggin’ blah.

    But I feel guilty for just about all the things you mentioned above! Tho I have to say – you ROCK on calling your mom – I’m about every 2-3 days when I get busy.

    Or maybe it’s this new age of the working woman who also still happens to be in charge of managing the household. Seriously – we really can’t do it all. But we keep trying anyway.

    Maybe it could be a resolution for us both – let’s kick the guilt trips to the curb. 🙂 lol – tho right now I’m feeling guilty for blogging instead of hanging out with the boys. It never ends, does it?

  3. Oh mahhhh gahhhhh. You never have tiiiiiiiiiiime for meeeeeeeeee. You never callllllllllllll meeeeeeee. So we can go to the place? You know? And do the thing? Where that other thing is? *siiiiigh*

    😛

    Dude. I feel lucky because (Bill aside) I think I get as much of your time as anyone does. It works for me so you can cross the guilt off you list for at least one person in your life. Woot!

  4. I hereby absolve from your entire lifetime of guilt. I can do that because I’m an officially ordained blog priesty thingy. For the future, my child, you must do this: Whenever guilt creeps into your brain, shrug the left shoulder and say, “meh”. Whenever someone else tries to make you feel guiilty, shrug the right shoulder and say, “meh”. If you do this consistently and believe you will live a happy guilt-free life from hereon in. Go in peace.

  5. You phone your mother every day?!!! Now I feel guilty! And I’m neither Catholic nor Jewish.

  6. […] at The Daily Snark, had me laughing my southern fannie off at her blog about how she’s guilty for everything because […]

  7. The guilt stops when you give up.

    At least you’re still trying.

  8. Too funny! My dad is catholic and my mom Jewish…so I feel your pain!

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