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Don’t feel like you have to read my essay on guilt. I worked really hard on it, but no big deal.

When my grandmother disapproved of something I was doing she’d off-handedly tsk and say, “Oh, I thought you were smarter than that.”

Ow. Give me a second while I recover from that backhanded compliment.

Whether genuinely unaware of her manipulation or just believing I was too stupid to see through her psycho-babble, my grandmother had no qualms about letting me know exactly what she wanted.

“I don’t want to tell you what to do, honey, but it if were me…”

Translation – Do what I would do. Now.

And unlike my strong-willed cousin and her two “rotten” children, I could always be counted on to listen, to do the right thing even if it wasn’t necessarily the right thing for me. I hit the trifecta with my gender, my first born status and my Jewish heritage.

Oy, she wasn’t a boy, the least she can do is be a good girl.

And I was.

A natural people pleaser and child of divorce, I didn’t like to disappoint people, because honestly, I didn’t want people disappointed in me. I made the phone calls, brought the presents, volunteered for things I didn’t want. I said yes, when I wanted to say no. Guilt was my middle name. Along with Schmuckevoo.  And Kim. You know, only one of those is real, right? Schmuckevoo. It’s French.

Now after years of experience, and my grandmother only a voice in my head, I know that no one can guilt me. I’m the only one with that power, and it seems I’m a bit of a sadist.

Here’s some of the guilt I had yesterday….

I didn’t call my father, even though I knew I should.

I gave my kids cocoa puffs for breakfast.

I helped my son too much with his homework.

I picked up my kids toys after they neglected to.

I ate ice cream for lunch.

Here’s some of the guilt I had today…

I called my father, and wished I hadn’t.

I didn’t give my kids cocoa puffs for breakfast.

I didn’t help my son with his homework.

I put my affronted kid in his room for not picking up his toys

I ate ice cream for lunch.

It’s like I can’t win. I’m either doing too much or too little. With everything. For everyone. Was I short with my mother? Did I only let my father vent in monologue for a half hour before becoming impatient? Did I put my kids on the bus in the morning when they wanted me to drive? Did I jump to attention when they asked me to something for them, then yell in frustration when they didn’t return the favor? Did I not give them another snack? Did I give them too many snacks?

Was I good enough? Was I nice enough? Do people like me?

Bleh!! You can go crazy with these kinds of unproductive thoughts.

I’m over it.

I’m going to try to feel less guilty and do more things for me.

Unless of course you need anything.

Oy. This world is heavy.

Oy. This world is heavy.

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

29 responses »

  1. Well said. I am the youngest girl, Jewish and was a people pleaser for so many years. Once you let go of this it is liberating. Let go too and enjoy!!!

  2. Wow, there are Jewish people everywhere! I’ll be darned! I don’t know how you women walk around with those uteruses of yours. Uteri? Whatever, you get the point! You need to learn to be able to tell your kids to get bent without the guilt ICM. That should free up more guilt to go around for the others in your lives. I might add that a person who feels such guilt over every little thing may just be a sadist if she agrees to judge important blogging contests wherein if somebody is ousted he will be sad and depressed and probably lose his job and stop jogging to start drinking beer and stuff. Something like that.

  3. Crikey, you can feel guilty about many things, but eating ice-cream (no-way). Talk about guilt, I’ve been missing my favourite blogs while I’ve been away, so good to be back and catch up!

    And hey, found flat stanley in “The Landy” on our trip!

    Cheers, Baz

    • you’re right. but somehow my guilt and ice cream are tied together. i eat when i’m guilty, i’m guilty when i eat. s’alright, i’ll manage. 😉
      glad to see you. looks like you’ve been having a nice holiday. enjoy. flat stanely better have some muscles by now!

  4. Darn this guilt. Never leaves us. Are you sure you weren’t talking about my grandma? Boy, mine sure sounds like yours. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I get it. I really get this. And now I feel guilty that I don’t comment on more of your wonderful blogging. Thanks a lot. xoxo

  6. I can completely relate to this… I’m still trying not to change my ways so that I feel better, but have yet to accomplish it.

  7. As a recovering people pleaser, this one hit home! All my worst guilt definitely comes from me. My husband used to dig and dig until I’d finally tell him what was wrong/what I was worried about doing wrong. Sometimes he’d try very hard not to laugh and he’d say, “You know nobody even THINKS about that but you. You’re doing a great job.” Sometimes, I suddenly remember why I married him 🙂

  8. I’ve always had a problem with being guilted into doing things I didn’t want to do. I’m working on getting past that.

  9. Last night I had two huge cookies for dinner (guilt), and I kind of wish I had Cocoa Puffs for breakfast this morning, even though, hello, guilt. I’m with you.

  10. Been there, done that, felt that, still struggle with that and wish I could kick it out to the Universe where it would be recycled into positive energy. Good Luck!! You can do it. Ice cream helps :).

  11. I’m the baby sister, not the oldest. We deal with all the guilt too 🙂

  12. Those backhanded compliments hurt. Why do women always seem to deliver those well-targeted bombs? They rattle the self-confidence for life!

    Let’s all eat ice cream for lunch today!


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