Sunday, February 01, 2009

Welcome to my Guilty Conscience

Come on in, have a seat. Would you like a lemon bar, or maybe a drink? I have left over booze from the holidays (and even some frozen hot buttered rum mix in the freezer) just dying to be let out of the bottle.

Here, lets grab a section of couch or chair or ottoman, heck you can even sit on the floor if you don't mind the fact that there are eighteen million kajillion dog hairs living there that I haven't vacuumed up yet.

Hey, yes - I know I have a brand new Dyson. No excuse, right? Don't judge.

Here's the thing, I have a guilty conscience. A very guilty conscience. And I have no idea why.


I go to throw away an empty box of something that has been devoured by my pack of kids and as soon as that cardboard (which I have flattened accordingly, per recycle bin instructions for recycling a cardboard box) hits the bottom of the big green monster, I panic. Was there a box top on that box? I think frantically. Because if there was, and I threw it away with this knowledge, well then that is just like throwing perfectly good money in the trash. Money that my kids schools could use to buy paper and glue and oh my god I will certainly be hit by a truck if I even think about throwing away a perfectly good box top.

So I fish out the box from the lovely smelling recycle bin, cut the box top off of it and wash my hands for no less than 10 minutes under scalding water with my anti-bacterial soap before carrying on with my day.

Since I'm on the topic of throwing away perfectly good money, I can't do that either. Throw away money.

If I am aware that there is some spare change left in a pocket or an old purse that has been deemed trash worthy, I must get it out. I must. I fear that if I were to throw away money - and know that I was committing such a horrible crime, I mean, be aware that I was doing it and not just do it by accident and not know about it, I would be forever doomed.

Yes, I really think this way.

The other day, my good friend called me up to ask if I had any plans. Since I had none, at that very moment, other than running a few errands, I told her no. Then she invited me to go to a party where they sell stuff later in the evening to which I said, "Oh, well I am going out to dinner later, I can't go..."

I'm sure this seems completely normal to anyone else, but as soon as I hung up the phone I freaked out. Would she think I was making up a story just because I didn't want to go to the party with her? (And for the record, I did want to go, despite my dislike for the parties where you go buy stuff) After all, she did ask me if I had plans, I said no, and then when she told me what she wanted me to do I suddenly had plans. Should I call her back and explain that I thought she was talking about this afternoon, not this evening? Should I call her and tell her that I know I sounded like a jerk, but really, I'm not and I would suffer through some party where you buy stuff just to spend some time with her? Oh no, what is she going to think?

When I walk through those security machines flanking the exit doors at Target, I always think they're going to go off and someone will think I stole something. Even though I didn't - and never would. If you saw the amount of junk mail that Target sends me, you would understand that I don't have any problem forking over my children's college education funds to them.

If I smell a bad smell in a room full of people, I think everyone will think it was me.

If I spot someone driving erratically on the interstate, I have to dial 911. And the guilt I feel when I'm trying to make up my mind about whether that person is really drunk, or just really mad at her husband and she's driving like a maniac because maybe he did something really, really awful and she's just having a really, really bad day and oh lord! Just dial 911, clear your conscious and let the authorities deal with it. It is your civic duty. Get over it.

And if I don't, I know my karma will come and force a Mac truck into my lane and crush me like an ant on the bottom of a sneaker. I know it.

I have to tell the truth. If I don't the guilt will eat away at me until I'm reduced to nothing.

My kids have to wear coats to school in the winter, because I'll feel like a horrible mom if they leave the house on a frosty morning with only a sweatshirt on. I just know that everyone will think I am a terrible mother. So I make them wear the coats, which end up wadded in a bundle in the bottom of their back packs, but so what? At least they had them with them and nobody can accuse me of sending my kids to school without a warm coat because look:

If there are no more cookies in the cookie jar, I know my husband will think I ate the last one. Even if he ate it himself.

If the house is a mess, I know that everyone will assume that I'm lazy and a horrible, awful, completely non-Martha Stewart type of a housekeeper. I just know it.

When a police car shows up in my rear view mirror, I panic. I look at my speedometer and realize that yes, I am doing the speed limit and I know I haven't committed any traffic infractions, but I am convinced that I'm going to get pulled over. That cop is out to get me.

I can't even go to bed without brushing my teeth because I know when I go to the dentist she will look at my teeth and immediately know that on January 12, 2009 I didn't brush my teeth before bed or floss them!

It's not easy, living with this.

I'll return to my regularly scheduled ups and downs on the parenting express in a few short days. Heck, maybe even tomorrow because now that I've made you suffer through all of this, you can bet that I'll be feeling guilty about it and I'll want to woo you with a cute kid story soon, before my luck runs out!

I just know I am going to regret hitting "publish" on this one.


Blossom said...

yup yup yup...
I know how you feel........
no judging from me.
just some hugs across the miles.

Ness said...

It's only OCD if you let it get the better of you. :) Sounds like you have a good grip on yourself, so stop stressing. Oh and that cookie jar thing is *totally* normal. My husband WOULD accuse me of eating the last one even if it was him. It's life!

wyliekat said...

I know this feeling. I know it well. I still live it to some degree, but I have to be honest - I have taken the edge off the constant anxiety through a little "better living through pharmaceuticals". It's not a choice for everyone, but it's made a huge difference in my life. I still have the "ohmygod, I am Teh Fail" moments - all the time. But then, I can put them away and move on with my day.

Angela said...

omg, long lost twin?! I'm so glad I found you!

"When a police car shows up in my rear view mirror, I panic. I look at my speedometer and realize that yes, I am doing the speed limit and I know I haven't committed any traffic infractions, but I am convinced that I'm going to get pulled over. That cop is out to get me."
That one especially. My heart stops when a cop is behind me. LITERALLY. I can feel it stop, and then start back up again, and my skin is clammy and my hands are shaking and my arms and legs feel weak.

I think they have drugs for this level of anxiety. But I'm afraid to ask. I just know my doctor will think I'm a junkie, looking for a fix.

Kyla said...

I think I love you just a little bit more now.

Ann(ie) said...

We were totally separated at birth. And I would love a lemon bar. :)

Mrs. Chicken said...

You + Me = Twins.

Love this post. SO true and so honest. Thank you for sharing my obsession with the personal blame game!

Anonymous said...

That was absolutely hilarious - thank you for it.

Are you serious?!!!


Tracy said...

Wow.....I didn't know that you worried about all of this. Just know that I love you and I don't judge.....I am right there with you!

Wendy said...

now that I have a kindergartener I have the same panics about trashing boxes, cans, bags.....

jadecarmella said...

Ha! Sounds like someone I know... ME!

The Coffee Lady said...

I know how you feel, exactly. And the erratic drivers? KEEP CALLING.

J. said...

I'm understand what you're saying, and unfortunately, I can't control my erratic thoughts either.

monstergirlee said...

Wow, its like you crawled in my head and wrote about everything that nags me all day everyday. Seriously.

Every Day Goddess said...

I call alot of this Catholic Guilt in my house, but I can see that it all adds up to be mommy guilt in so much of it! I hate thinking people are judging me, but I know they are!!!!

kristi said...

LOL, I feel the same way about a lot of these too!

The Scott Family said...

You and I? The same.

Perhaps we should form a support group.

painted maypole said...

this is far too familiar to me!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You are so not the only one.

Christy said...

Wow, I had no idea there were so many of us out there--check out these comments! What's WRONG with us?! LOL

loural.murray said...

This post made me come out from my lurk to comment. Hi, I'm Loural..a non mom but a very proud Auntie and I 100% understand how you feel. I agree with The Scott Family, a support group would be great lol. Keep slugging away :)

(Oh and if you know any single cute firefighters ;) lol)