There is a great line in " The Commitments"(which you should see if you haven’t) where a poor Irish white guy is trying to channel the greats of soul for his saxophone and he wanders around Dublin chanting, "I’m black and I’m proud."
I have days where I wander around town with the mantra, I’m Catholic and I’m guilty. This is one of those days.
I am the oldest (guilt!) the only daughter (more!) from a family with an Irish Catholic heritage (capital G), child of a very strict father, educated by nuns and a recipient of a virtual miracle – the unexpected and medically unpredicatble conception of the gaffer and her subsequent near-tragic but all’s well that ends well, birth.
There is even a website for guilty Catholics. http://catholicguilt.net.
This, plus numerous character flaws leaves me in a state of constant second guessing and wonder. I wonder if it is too much to ask that no one else in the family touch my laptop, my clothes or wear my shoes to take out the garbage.
My battery of my laptop is pooched so I keep it in a corner of the dining room plugged in and ready to go. I have made a commitment to Jen and myself that I would blog more often and one way to do that is to have immediate access to my computer when I need it. Except I can never find it. Some minion usually moves it. Yesterday, after a 15 minute search, I discovered it under the couch in the basement and my window of opportunity had passed. Asking nicely has fallen on deaf ears. Freaking out was equally effective.
Last week, I went to the drastic step of password protecting my laptop so that it would not be worth anyone’s while to move it. And now I feel bad…the guilt. Am I being selfish? Shoudn’t i just roll with what’s going on? Is it really such a big deal that my computer isn’t exactly where I left it!
OMIGOD!!! THE GAFFER JUST HIT A BUTTON AND I THOUGHT I LOST EVERYTHING SO I YELLED AND NOW THE BIG C.G. IS FULLY ENCOMPASSING ME.
She is off crying and I am wondering if it is my fault for typing in the am instead or arguing with Mr. Husband last night who decided he needed my password and laptop for his own devices at the same time I was getting ready to type this. I think this just makes me a patsy!
I am strong, confident, self-reliant woman, yet whenever I am in a disagreement with anyone I usually secretly think it is my fault. I constantly second guess my expectations of my step-kids and their lack of respect for my house and belongings. Yesterday, my car was scraped in a parking lot and I let the person go because I had scraped it myself a week before.
I go to church most Sundays and pray for patience, wisdom, absolution and a baby…but I have usually recounted so many sins of the week by the end of mass I feel badly asking for more gifts from God.
I’m exhausted, I’m annoyed that I went to support a friend at a funeral home last night and came home to a filthy kitchen, a teenager who washed her clothes but left all the other ones that could have gone in the load in the bag, an occupied computer and a scrape in my counter because someone couldn’t be bothered to use the cutting board and I needed a rant. Now I’m going to go soothe my daughter, say my prayers and ask for patience, forgiveness and a bit of a backbone.
Yeah. I don’t think it’s just catholic mothers who feel guilt, but mothers in general! I feel it all the time but I do try to “grow a set” from time-to-time. The key is to know which battles are worth fighting. The messy kitchen, maybe not. The laptop, certainly!
I think we can all relate, Elizabeth. It is hard but I am always telling myself to stop focusing on what I think others expect or think of me and just worry about being fair. Sometimes it is really hard but if I think of myself as at least part of the considered group then it usually helps put it in perspective.
As I bake cookies from scratch for the school bake sale, I feel guilty for not taking the time today to read to my children. Shouldn’t I be cooking dinner now? How about some more exercise. Does the guilt ever end for a mother?
Great post Elizabeth. I think many women, including non-Catholics, are easily guilted. As someone said earlier, we need to develop better backbones!
Elizabeth, give yourself a break! You are one of, if not the, most selfless people I am lucky enough to call friend…. You host gatherings and then have people (or me) beat you ‘on the river’; cook 4 different dishes for a meal exchange; volunteer for just about every activity you can possibly fit into your schedule and then squeeze in one or two more; I could go on and on…
Next time you start with you start with the Catholic Guilt, why not focus on another G… the Women’s Golden Rule… Do unto yourself as you would do unto others!
Elizabeth, I loved this post!! My mom is the queen of all Catholic guilt, but luckily (depending on how you look at it) I was not raised Catholic & only received that bit of the guilt that my genes couldn’t weasel their way out of. A backbone is hard work to acquire, but just keep telling yourself you deserve it. BTW, The Commitments is sooooo amazing, I might just have to go out & re-rent it now!!
Wow, that is exactly how I feel most days & my kids aren’t even teenagers yet. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone…Great post!