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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.

Tug of War – Mommy vs Mommy

It’s 8:30pm. I’m lying with my five year-old at bedtime. After a few minutes of snuggling, I try to leave, but he begs, “One more minute!” So I stay a minute more, growing restless. Again, I kiss him goodnight, and he pleads for more time. I leave, but five minutes later, I return for one more minute.

It’s 9:15pm. My 8 year-old wants tickle back, which I do, but then he wants longer, which I do, but when he whines for more, I kiss his head, and say, “That’s it babe, time for bed.” Immediately he squeals his offense and huddles under his blanket to ward off any of my gentle advances for a good night. I sigh, pat his blanketed back and leave. Five minutes later I return for one last minute of tickles.

It’s 9:45pm. My 11 year-old in bed declares he’s starving.

“Mommy has closed up shop for the night.” I say firmly.

“But I’m hungry,” he whines.

“Baby, I asked you an hour ago.” I whine.

He looks down at his belly and gives me a cock-eyed grin. “It’s rumbling, mommy.”

I go down and cut him an apple.

Finally, I get to the couch where my husband rests comfortably, baseball on the TV, laptop on the lap. I sit my tired ass down and begin to speak, probably for the first time of the day to my husband, but we’re interrupted by a small voice from upstairs.

“Mama.” We hear, and both roll our eyes.

“Mommy’s busy!” My husband calls up. “Go to sleep.”

It’s quiet for a minute, but then we hear it again. “Mama.”

“Go on,” my husband says, as annoyed by their constant need of me as my babying, “You know you have to.”

I take a deep breath. He’s right. There’s no way I can ignore him, even though I really want to. I race upstairs and into the room calling Mama. Tonight it’s my 11 year-old but it could have easily been any of them.

“One more hug.” He says, sleepily, and I melt into his warm body for a sweet moment.

I leave and head back downstairs, exhausted from the constant push and pull, both physically and emotionally. I wonder why I can’t stick to my guns without shooting myself in the foot? Why I must always soften any tough talk with a batch of fresh cookies? I am a jumble of contradictions and the biggest one is that I often complain that I’m not everyone’s bitch, when clearly I willingly am.

“I could really use some pretzels.” My husband hints, not at all subtly.


He lifts his brows to give me a pleading, goofy look, not so unlike his son’s.

“Arrgh! Get it yourself!” I yell as I make my way to the kitchen, grab the bag from the closet, stomp back into the living room and toss them at his chest.

“Thank you.” I hear as I head upstairs, hoping not to feel another tug at my heart to do anything for anyone. This rope is going to bed, before it strangles someone.

rope 2

Linking up with YW, then taking a couple of weeks off.

Can you tell I need them? 😉

See youuuuu in Septemberrrrr….  xo