The guilt spiral

I am on that introspection roller coaster again. You know the one – where you second guess every single decision and work so hard to see something from all sides so much that you can’t focus on any of them? IT’S SO FUN Y’ALL.

Does this roller coaster have a name, you ask? Why yes it does – cue radio announcer reverb voice – it’s called….

THE GUILT SPIRAL (spiral spiral spiral….)

When I am with my children, I feel guilty that I am not present enough, or that I am coddling them too much. When I see the un-washed laundry, I kick myself for not having thrown a load in any of the 500 times I walked past the laundry room. At night when I collapse onto the couch, I wonder why I didn’t take advantage of the good nap time and get more writing done. When I leave the house on a Saturday to write, I feel like I am being selfish. When I get Wendy’s for dinner instead of cooking, I beat myself up for ruining the morning workout I finally had hours earlier. When I was working out I knew I wasn’t giving it my all and was disappointed that I only did the 33 minute “moderate level” instead of the one hour climb I used to accomplish. When my son looks into my eyes and tells me he loves me, I almost cry because I don’t feel like I deserve his unconditional sweetness, especially after I yelled at him just days earlier for being underfoot. I feel like I take on too much, worry too much, think too much, and talk too much, while at the same time not doing enough, not writing enough, not loving enough and not helping enough.

I am too much and not enough. And down down down I go.

NO.

No grace for me.

I am the grace nazi.

I don’t know the steps. I go about it all wrong and I fail over and over until I get so sick of my humanity that I completely shut it down. I self-medicate with candy corn and so much caffeine it’s a wonder I ever sleep and I start all over again the next day.

I don’t know what I expect of myself. This image of whatever it is would never be something I would impose on anyone else in the world. It’s not a motherhood thing or a womanhood thing. It’s an Andrea thing. I have spent my whole life trying to prove I can hack it to no one but myself. But I am never satisfied. I can never hack it. I will never hack it because I am not supposed to. My own strength will fail me again and again. I am not saying that I am some kind of humble enlightened person either, but I do know that I can’t do it all because no one can (see faith). That said, there has to be a way to make peace with my expectations and my reality. There has to be a way to marry these loves of my life without sacrificing my sanity in the process. There has to be a way to know that my family knows how much I love them, my friends feel heard, my faith is fed and my work gets done while at the same time having a clean house and some down time.

What?

I am hoping that the spiral portion of this roller coaster gives way to the nice smooth descent and gradual slowing to a pause where I can catch my breath, feel my heart race to a belly laugh and say I can’t believe I just did that. THAT WAS AWESOME!

Stranger things have happened right?

*photo courtesy of flatluigi

  • Angie

    Great post, Andrea! You have a way with words. I especially love the ending :)

  • http://mommybknowsbest.com Jennifer Bullock

    I think often in these times it’s easy to get caught up in everything and wanting to be the perfect everything too. We have too high expectations for ourselves and others and we just can’t live up to them so we set ourselves up for failure daily. I am the same exact way.

    I know often times I’ll feel better if I make a short to-do list, check things off and feel accomplished and then if I have room to add more I will, that way I don’t overwhelm myself but keep the momentum. xooxo

  • http://treerootandtwig.com Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig

    I. hear. you.
    Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig´s last blog post ..Getting My Family Photos off the Hard Drive and into Print