Monday, September 27, 2010

The Guilt Complex

Why is it that ever since I became a woman, I feel guilt ALL the time? Is it like some sort of pre-requisite for being a woman or what? Men don't seem to suffer from this complex as much, or at least they don't show or voice it.

Take for example, tonight. I was putting R to bed, and as is the routine I was reading to him. Yes, he's nine now and can read to himself, but we both enjoy it and it's a nice end to the day (we do the same with L, DH and I switch back and forth between the two when we can). The usual lights-out time we aim for is 8:00, give or take a few. I was anxious tonight to watch House, one of my favourite shows. So I was trying to get it all done before then, but at the point that I said goodnight, R complained vehemently. We hadn't actually finished a chapter, and when I said I wanted to watch my show, he looked at me with glassy eyes and said that it made him feel bad.

GOD! The guilt! That I would put my own selfish needs to watch a show before him...So of course I stayed, read more of the book and missed my show. Oh well.

Then there's Mother Guilt. And I'm not talking about the same mother guilt as above, the kind when you feel guilty for every action you take in regards to your children because you feel like you're f*ing up their lives royally and feel bad for it. I'm talking about Mother Induced Guilt - my OWN mother. I'm not sure how I end up feeling guilty about the things that are wrong in her life, but I do. I guess it's because she's done so much for me in my life (raising me, taking care of me, feeding me, clothing me, giving up things to buy me stuff, being there when my own kids were born, you know, small stuff like that!) and I'm not there for her when she needs someone. It's not really possible most of the time, due to the (geographical) distance between us and time constraints. But this coming weekend I have chosen to spend my birthday weekend with the boys at their Scouting camp (DH is going too as he is a Beaver leader, and the parents are allowed to come for Beavers) instead of going to my mother's as she suggested. This decision was made partly because I still want to spend my birthday with my boys (as much as I don't wish to celebrate turning 37), we wanted to go camping this summer but never got to, and another friend/mom who said, "Awwww, come on, it'll be fun!!" Yeah, sure, spending a night in a cabin with 50 other people and one (?) washroom sounds like a disaster waiting to happen blast.

So I feel guilty about that. That once again I'm not going over to see my mom. Here's the funny thing - She has one Friday a month off. That Friday happens to fall this week (tomorrow). My birthday is Sat. She had said she was going to come see me on the weekend for my birthday, however since I've chosen to go to the camp, she obviously won't. Then I asked her about her off Friday. I asked her when it was, and she confessed that it was this week. I asked her if she would come over then, but she has to take the car in, and then she is going out to celebrate a friend's 70th birthday. So why am I feeling badly about not seeing her when A - it's my birthday and B - she's choosing to celebrate a friend's birthday over mine? Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter about that, really, I'm not. I'm happy she has friends, and I know she really needs those relationships. Plus I am still harbouring guilt (again with the guilt) about not going to see her on her birthday this year due to a cotttage trip, so I kind of feel like I deserve it. But I just wish I could stop feeling guilty about it!!

Let's not even get started about the other kinds of guilt I feel. Guilt for having a crappy looking garden in the front of my house that doesn't look even close to as nice as anyone else on my street, guilt for throwing out things in the garbage occasionally that should have been separated for recycling, guilt for using non-environmentally friendly cleaning products, guilt for not taking my kids to the dentist, guilt for not taking them to (take your pick here), guilt for not paying more attention to the dog when he was around, guilt for not donating enough to charities, guilt for not being able to go on field trips or volunteer in the classrooms etc, etc, etc.

I once read a book about motherhood and the pressures that mothers feel in this day and age as compared to say, the 50's. It had a lot of info about guilt. It said that we need to rephrase in our heads anytime we feel guilt for things. For example, when you think, "I feel so guilty for dropping him off at school upset," you simply rephrase "I regret dropping him off at school upset" and if it makes sense to you phrasing it that way, then you take steps to change that. If not, stop the guilt and accept it for what it is. Guess I need to remember that.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Secret Addiction

Ok, maybe I wouldn't call it an addiction, exactly. It's not like I can't stop, or that it's taking over my life or anything. But I do love it. It's so much fun.

Online shopping.

I spend hours perusing websites, dreaming about this product or that, adding things to my shopping bag and mostly never buying them.

I guess in that case it makes it a rather harmless hobby. But I worry that my frequency of pushing that purchase button is becoming, well, more frequent.

I recently had to purchase a uniform for R, who has this year finally decided to join Cub Scouts. Man oh man was I happy about that, as a part of me loves nothing more than seeing my children in uniform. What is with that? I don't know what it is, the conformity, the "matchy-matchy-ness" or just how darned cute they all look, but I love uniforms. I wish my kids went to school where they had to wear a uniform.

But I'm getting off topic.

So I had to go on the Scouting website to purchase the necessary items, which led me to perusing the not-so-necessary items. I ended up adding quite a few extras, like the travel mugs, the extra patches to sew on to their newly purchased blankets (for around the campfire), some zipper pulls, and a little stuffed beaver (for L) and a wolf cub (for R) on a key chain for their backpacks.

You see? I'm so bad.

But I do love that lovely package when it comes! The best ones are the ones that come straight to the door, but I'm good with the ones that come to the oversize mailbox (when they put that key in your regular mailbox, it's so thrilling!) or the ones that I have to go pick up at the postal outlet. Opening it up is like Christmas. Seeing all the things you purchased in reality, and not having to drag whining kids to the mall! Such a bonus!

I frequently look at my other favourite websites, Lands and I also love and Toys R Us. I often add things to a shopping bag, just to see how much it would all add up to in the end. Usually that's what stops me from pushing that buy now button. And I never have websites keep my credit card number on file, mostly for the reason that for me to make the purchase means I have to haul my lazy ass upstairs to get my wallett and credit card out, which is as much a deterrent as the huge number staring at me. This is my mistake with iTunes. My credit card is on file, which makes it oh so easy to just download new apps/songs/videos straight to my iPod.

Dangerous I tell you!

But come Christmas, my online shopping "addiction" is justified! Woohoo! I have very limited shopping time, worse now that you can't pull one over on the kids (they're just too darned smart and observant!) so I can't shop with them. And DH and I practically fight over who gets to be the one that gets to go get the gifts, seeing as how we can't go together. So I just boot up the old computer (ok, who am I kidding, it never gets turned off!) and shop to my little heart's content. Most of the online shopping sites will offer free shipping at some point, so you have to watch out for that.

Anyone care to share their favourite online shopping websites?

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Sad Day

Wednesday was the day. The day we had to put Vader down, our "puppy" of 13 long years. I talked in a previous blog about the fact that he had a bad heart, and mostly about the expense of it all. So here we are, almost 5 months later. That was five months of very expensive heart medication! We managed to cut back on how much he needed, which saved money of course, but it was still pricey.

So the decision to finally do it came a couple of weeks ago. His cough was getting bad again (which signaled the fluid in his lungs was building up again), and he was having more fainting episodes, which was something the medications were initially helping. We knew the vet had said he would deteriorate, despite the meds, and we honestly thought he wouldn't last this long.

DH was distraught. He cried and sobbed all night long, the night before he took him. Then we had to get up and tell the boys what was happening that day. They already knew it was coming at some point, but they didn't know when. L cried a lot. R cried for less than two minutes and was over it. I wasn't surprised; he was never very attached to Vader. L cared for him more, so is missing him more. I cried a little, the day of. I find I miss him at certain times of the day. Like when we come home from being out (and he would come greet us at the door) or at lunch time (when he would come out from wherever he was sleeping and wait patiently under the table for all the food to drop from the messy children.)

It was a rather long and stressful day. This is our first experience with having to put an animal down. And not the last, I'm sure. We still have our guinea pigs, so that will be another death we will one day have to face. And I don't doubt that one day we will get another dog (although it won't be soon, and I'd really like to avoid the puppy stage if possible.)

On a completely different note, I'm sorry I haven't blogged for a while. I also haven't been reading other blogs either, so if you are one of the ones I follow, I will be catching up on your adventures soon! And since I haven't been looking, I realized today that I have two new followers, which is very exciting!! Welcome! Now I feel all this pressure to write something good. I hope I don't disappoint you.