Friday, September 23, 2016

No-Guilt Zone

I feel guilty about a lot of things. I feel guilty that I don’t give my kids the very best of me all the time. I feel guilty that my house isn’t as clean as I feel like it should be. I feel guilty that I carry to much weight and so I’m not as healthy as I should be. I feel guilty that my house sometimes smells weird (even though we all know that’s because my husband cooks weird foods and THAT’S where the smell comes from.)

But one thing I do not feel guilty about is the fact that my husband is the food preserver of our house. He’s canned salsa, green beans (I think he canned 105 jars of green beans this year alone, yikes!) He’s also canned tomatoes and tomato juice and he’s frozen a bunch of pears.

And I feel no guilt over all the work he’s put into doing this. I feel no guilt over the fact that I have not helped…at all…with this endeavor. Okay, wait. I did help. I snapped the first batch of green beans. But then he did the rest and I don’t feel guilty over that.

See, canning and freezing food is not something I’d choose to do if my husband chose not to do it himself. I don’t see it as a need the way I see cleaning the toilets as a need. No one else is going to come and clean our toilets. But I can go to the grocery store and buy beans and pears and salsa. So, if he didn’t do it, I would buy those things.

And because he WANTS to do those things, I don’t feel guilty that he does them with no help from me.

My mom preserves a lot of food too. She, like my husband, works her butt off from late-July until mid-September, canning, freezing, pickling. And hey, good for her. I enjoy the fruits (and vegetables, ha!) of her labors. But again, I don’t feel bad for not doing it myself.

I would like to figure out how to transfer this sense of non-guilt into other aspects of my life. Eh, maybe after the nap I won’t feel guilty about taking.


Swistle said...

As the at-home parent, I would not want my working spouse to feel guilty that I clean the toilets: this is how the two of us chose to divide the labor that needs to be done for the family. But I WOULD want him to feel APPRECIATIVE, and I'd be really happy to hear that he NOTICED that we both use the toilets and yet I was the only one who cleaned them (rather than him imagining me sitting at home doing nothing all day). So I wonder if this might work to alleviate guilt: you've already got the noticing well in hand, and if you're periodically verbally appreciating it as well I'd say you're good.

Swistle said...

Oh, wait, I just realized that you don't necessarily mean that he cleans the toilets and you feel guilty about that. I was jumping to the conclusion that he cleans them, but maybe you mean more like "How do we in general stop feeling guilty about things we feel we ought to do and/or ought to do better?" Like I might feel guilty I don't clean the toilets more often, or either of us might feel guilty we don't do some Pinteresty thing all the other moms seem to be doing, or either of us might feel guilty we don't want to volunteer at some weekend project. For THAT, I kind of lean on "We all do a different assortment of things, and none of us do ALL the things" combined with working myself up into an indignant "Well why SHOULD I do that??" attitude.