I'm reading Cara Alwill Leyba's new book, "Like She Owns The place”.
For those who don't know, Cara is an author and master life coach who works to help women empower themselves and change their mindset. I found her online several years ago and discovered that a lot of her message resonates with me.
One passage she wrote about guilt in, "Like She Owns the Place" stood out to me. She discusses the idea that women often feel guilty due to external forces. Such as ones culture, religion or the society they live in. It may come from childhood experiences or friends and family making them feel guilty. This may be intentional or not, but never the less, the guilt shows up. She poses the question, if you are not hurting yourself or anyone else, why feel guilty? Cara describes one situation where she was taking a day off from work, spending the day at home. Her plan was to binge watch a show and have a glass of wine. Meanwhile, her husband decided to reorganize a closet full of Christmas decorations. Seeing this, she felt guilty and went over to help, but he encouraged her to take time for herself. That’s the sign of a good man, by the way. She said she went back to watch tv, but it didn’t come naturally to her. She felt guilty for taking time for herself and not working.
I often feel guilty over things like this. Today, my mom took Rosebud so that I could rest as I haven’t been feeling well. I can’t rest though because I start feeling guilty and thinking of everything I need to do. If I’m napping on the couch, the laundry isn’t getting done. The dishes are piled up in the sink. Rosebud's toys need to be rotated. Countertops need to be dusted. That’s just the house work. Then there’s the work you actually get paid for. I don’t feel guilty about taking time away from my job outside the home, but I feel guilt over not working on transcription stuff. I think to myself, I should be transcribing practice files or doing the business plan paper work. As with the blog posts, I set imaginary deadlines and the guilt sets in.
This week is supposed to be my vacation, but I’m having trouble just letting it be. I always have to fill my time and not necessarily with the things I enjoy. I need to feel productive even in times when I should be resting. The mom guilt is never ending. While Rosebud is not here, I’ve spent much of my time doing things for her instead of myself. I’ve washed toys, did laundry and prepared her dinner for later. It's one way to ease the guilt of taking time away from her. Then again, when I'm spending time with her just playing, I get that nagging feeling about the house work. Then when I'm cleaning or doing other things, I feel guilty about giving her screen time. While she's away, I’ve been pondering how to take away the pacifier. Should I try a gradual approach or go cold turkey? This was prompted by her visit to the dentist this morning. In between cleaning and thoughts of the annoying paci, I wonder how she’s doing. What is she doing right now? Has she napped? What did she eat for lunch? Then I think maybe I should watch some videos of her. Oh, wait... I better get back to work.
As Cara points out in her book, when we are old, what will we be worrying about? Will we be worried about all the times we should’ve cleaned closets, typed up that report or swept the kitchen floor? Definitely not! We will be remembering things we enjoyed. The times with our loved ones, the things we’ve created or times we did something crazy, fun and memorable. The fact is, we all need time to replenish ourselves. If we don't get that, we become unhappy and lose sight of our strengths, passions and our joy. We need to start erasing some of this guilt. If not, what are we teaching our children and what are we doing to our emotional well-being? I’m finally in my element. I’m taking the time to write which makes me feel lighter and taps into my creative side. I’m sitting outside enjoying the breeze on my face, the shade of a tree and listening to the birds over head.
Here are some of Cara's other books if you are interested.