When I Relax, I Feel Guilty

That’s the title of a book written sometime in the last 20 or 30 years. I’ve never read beyond the title, but the concept resonates with me.

More than 3 people have told me that they don’t understand why I am so hard on myself about reading novels. They look at me with confused faces and ask what could be so bad about reading a novel? Indeed.

Well. IF you have a to-do list that ain’t to-done, and IF you have a special needs child that will do well with one hour of personal attention from mom in a day and even BETTER with two or three or four hours, and IF you homeschool four students, and IF you are a stay-at-home mom who never is caught up on laundry, meal planning, cleaning, or decluttering, I SUPPOSE a case could be made that you don’t really have time to relax.

But I SUPPOSE a case might also be able to be made that ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES SIOUXSIE A DULL BOY. Not to mention a FAT BOY, a STRESSED-OUT BOY, and an UNHAPPY BOY.

And we know that if MAMA ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Eh? Full of pithy sayings this a.m.

Well, MAMA ain’t happy.

In a big-picture sense, I have an appreciation for the blessings I experience every day — my cool husband, my great kids, my comfortable home, my excellent health, music, sunshine, sweet memories, and many more too numerous to mention. In a day-to-day sense, though, I see that embracing the idea that I SHOULD feel guilty when I relax really sucks (sorry mom if you read this). REALLY. sucks.

I made a list last night of things I have enjoyed over the years, such as singing in a band, working out and lifting weights, spending time in the wilderness, wearing clothes I really like, making things, playing games, and others. I found that many of the items on that list are not things I am making time for right now. Why? Is it because I don’t want to be happy, as a friend suggested yesterday? Is it because I am afraid that I am doing something wrong if I don’t have my Responsibility Meter in the red zone? Is it because I don’t think I deserve to do things that I enjoy? Is it because it’s a lot easier to choose things that provide momentary pleasure, such as ice cream, and really only take a minute or two, and can be stuffed into a responsibility-driven day?

I’m just back from a walk. I feel great. I’m listening to my blog music — all songs I really love. Walking is relaxing. Listening to my music is relaxing. Blogging is relaxing. There’s a little nagging feeling in there that says I BETTER get moving since I’m supposed to be somewhere at 10, actually two places, or even three, but I’m only planning to go to the one place.

Today the step I will take to treat myself nicer is to send my ipod, which currently is in a coma, to iRescue to see if it can be fixed. The music on my ipod makes me smile. And I think smiling is something I want to do a whole lot more of.

Enjoy your day. Take good care of yourself. Love yourself and the people who are in your life. I will if you will.

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