I’m busy, we all are. I’m trying to be a brilliant mum, partner, daughter, friend, employee. I’m trying to get my pre-baby body back, to feel fit, to ride my bike like I could when I had less self preservation. I said I’d learn French! I just can’t do it all as well as I want.
Sometimes guilt follows me round like a black cloud. I don’t know when it started, I can’t remember what changed.
Today I counted every time guilt approached me. 27.
Does that sound a lot? I’ve no comparison.
The guilt attaches itself to my tiredness. They work together, allies, trying to wear me down. I’m in a battle and on the surface this guilt feels a cruel affliction. But it has me doing more than it prevents. It has me back in the bedroom at 4am because Phoebe is hungry and I want Carl to sleep so they can enjoy their day together when I’m at work. It has me pairing his socks. It has me reading journal articles in my ten minute bath. It has me throwing out crappy food. It has me home from work as early as possible so we can play. It has me working late. It has me not letting her cry. It has me doing the best I can. What an odd emotion. I wonder if it’s only human.
I suppose, if there were no time restrictions, if I wasn’t so tired, if I won the Lottery, I’d be able to do it all. The guilt would disappear. But for now it will have to stay because, in the love / hate relationship I have with it, it functions to keep my priorities on the right track.
“My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted” (Franz Kafka)
The guilt we feel shows we care. It comes when we feel bad when someone else is suffering and it comes with anxiety that we may harm our relationships. It may feel cruel but it preserves us.
“Maybe there’s more we all could have done, but we just have to let the guilt remind us to do better next time.” (Veronica Roth, Divergent).