Stupid Stay-at-home Guilt

The Halloween candy binge happened (like it does every year).

I told myself it wouldn’t, but it did. (And binge might be going a tad overboard, given that I probably only polished off about a quarter of what my kids did).

Anyways, today I wanted to get in a really good workout to make myself feel better about my chocolate overload. But I didn’t. And I didn’t — for the ridiculous reason that I felt guilty.

Guilty because the house isn’t spotless and I should be working on that.
Guilty because I need to go grocery shopping before the kids are done school.
Guilty because I should organize the messy front closet where shoes go to die.
Guilty because I haven’t gotten down on the floor and played with baby enough today.
Guilty because I should get started on yard work, before everything gets too cold.

And the list goes on. Everything from Christmas shopping to shredding old papers seems to come to the top of the list before my own items do, even though everyone benefits from a happier, healthier mom.

But why?

Good question.

I think it’s because I really feel the pressure to do the stay-at-home thing as well as I do my outside-of-the-home job. I strive to do my best at work, and now that I’m home I’m pretty driven to do the same. Funny thing though — that same return on effort applied equation doesn’t apply at home.

And no one tells you when to take a break, or when you’re off duty for the night or weekend.

At home, there are no promotions, no bonuses, no vacation days, and not the same recognition. You can work as hard as you want and no one will pat you on the back and offer you a bigger office.  

BUT, the incentives for doing well as a mom are exponentially more satisfying, though far more subtle. Instead of flashy office perks, it’s happy kids. It’s morning cuddles. It’s being there when there is a new first. It’s having time to really listen when they tell you about their day.

So, people like me who crave the gold stars and “Good Job!” reinforcements sometimes have trouble recognizing if they’re doing the job well enough.

What’s the point of all this rambling?

That I need to pat myself on the back and give myself my own little bonuses — cue the workouts!

Now, if I can just stick with this reward system, because we still have a bowl full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that are calling my name…


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