Pleading guilty

No one told me about the guilt.

Before I had kids, there was only talk about the late night feedings, the dirty diapers, and terrible two’s when people spoke of the cons of parenthood. There may have been some mention of teenage angst and preteen moodiness, too. But not guilt.

I would have remembered guilt. I’m Catholic.

But from about day 8, which is when I brought Madeline home from the hospital, guilt has been my companion.

Back then, it was feeling guilty about not getting more done around the house while little Maddie slept. Ha! Wish I could go back to those days and tell that City Girl to relax.

When Zoe was born, it was full-on guilt. No doing enough to give each girl individualized attention. Not being able to get them into enrichment activities because I didn’t have the money/schedule/ability to make it work. (really came to fruition when the girls started soccer and played with kids who had been playing for 6 years!) Not being a calmer parent. Not feeding them whole grains all of the time. Finding out those whole grains were making Zoe sick because she has Celiac Disease. I could go on and on…

Now, my guilt is centered around schooling. The girls are smart kids. Yeah, yeah, blah blah blah, that’s what every parent says… Still, standardized tests and grades have both of them in top percentiles so there’s something there. Before the farm, we lived in a school district that was very affluent and very competitive. Madeline especially was in a strong program that challenged her and her skills. Zoe hadn’t yet reached that yet because she was just in first grade and we were starting to uncover her strengths.

The schools were in now are good, “excellent” if you go by state testing scores, but something doesn’t feel right. I just feel guilty that the girls aren’t learning as much as they could be. After all, Zoe spends some of her day helping classmates with their lessons. I want her to be giving and kind, but does that mean she needs to be the Teacher’s Aid. Guilt.

I don’t care if the girls get all A’s, I want them to be pushed and excited to learn. I know that means I need to take more ownership over pushing them to learn. I try. Taking them on a surprise trip to DC, touring the White House, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress lead to many discussions on our forms of government, the process of litigation, and the importance of knowledge. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and visiting the MLK Monument brought up discussions of slavery, freedom, and equality. Good stuff.

But then I put them on the bus, watching them leave for another week of school only to see that my friend, Guilt, is sitting next to me in the van.

How Guilt found me again so quickly, I’ll never know. I’m just trying to not feel guilty for not seeing her climb in so I could have locked the doors.

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About CountryBoyCityGirl

A city girl who fell in love with a country boy. Found bliss, along with large piles of mule droppings for her and two little girls to now try to avoid.
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2 Responses to Pleading guilty

  1. Susan Adams says:

    Janice,
    Have been thinking about you, and your/my own ‘false guilt’ as Carol would say! And came across this daily entry from Joyce Meyer and wanted to share it with you and as a reminder to myself! Love you!

    Living Without Regret

    by Joyce Meyer – posted January 19, 2012

    But one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. —Philippians 3:13-14

    Many people stay trapped in the past. There is only one thing that can be done about the past, and that is forget it. When we make mistakes, as we all do, the only thing we can do is ask God’s forgiveness and go on.

    Like Paul, we are all pressing toward the mark of perfection, but none of us has arrived. I believe Paul enjoyed his life and ministry and this “one aspiration” of his was part of the reason why.

    Like us, he was pressing toward the mark of perfection, admitting that he had not arrived, but having insight on how to enjoy his life while he was making the trip.

    Mistakes are a regular part of life, and I spent many years hating myself for each of my failures. I desperately wanted to be a good Christian. I wanted to please God. But I still thought it was my perfect performance that would please Him. I had not yet learned that He was pleased with my faith. In Hebrews 11:6 we read, But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him.

    Even when we make mistakes and waste precious time as a result of those mistakes, being upset when we could be enjoying life, it is useless to continue being miserable for an extended period of time because of the original mistake. Two wrongs never make anything right.

    If you made a mistake twenty years ago or ten minutes ago, there is still nothing you can do about it except ask for forgiveness, receive it, forget the past, and go on. There may be some restitution you can make to an individual you hurt; and, if that is the case, by all means do so.

    But the bottom line is that you still must let go of the past in order to grasp the future. Until you do so, you will not enjoy life the way God intended when He sent Jesus.

  2. Ron Mortimer says:

    Theres more to learning than what school you go to.Its more what life valeus you learn EVERY DAY .

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