Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty about silly, stupid things? This is something that’s been on my mind all weekend long (mostly because I’ve been sick which gives you a lot… too much… time to think!)
I started to think about guilt because I was on the phone with my mother yesterday and I confessed to her that I had gotten a cleaning lady. It was only after I had said the words that I realized how guilty I felt about it. Deciding to get a cleaning lady was for some reason, a huge decision for me. When my ex and I lived together, we had a cleaning lady that came every. single. week… but when I moved into my little studio, I decided that was not something I wanted to pay for… and that I should be able to keep such a small space clean on my own.
Alas, after a few months of regular travel and working long hours, my space was a disaster. So dusty. Tidy… but incredibly dirty. I’d broken my vacuum and hadn’t managed to get it fixed yet… and Tyrion’s fur was everywhere. And so I finally took the plunge and did it. In hindsight, as guilty as I felt about it, doing it was one of the best things I’ve done. No more dust, no more fur, and that amazing pine smell when you walk through the door. But still, I felt (and still feel) very guilty about it.
I’m not sure which thing I felt worse about… that I was paying someone to do something that I should be able to do myself… that I was being that “frivolous” with my money, or maybe it was admitting defeat… that I couldn’t do everything. I can’t really pinpoint it but I think it was a mix of spending the money and feeling ashamed by how messy my apartment had gotten… mostly, I think it was admitting defeat. I think also, that this time of year brings out the worst in me. For me, November/December is when everything goes into overdrive… the day job, the blog, and just life… and I expect perfection from myself… but usually have so much to do that achieving perfection would probably be impossible.
And then there’s the money thing. More guilt. In theory, given my income and what I’ll spend on other things ($35 Soul Cycle classes come to mind), spending $50 every two weeks to have someone get my apartment ship shape really is not the end of the world. But for some reason it felt like a huge deal. So then, after feeling really guilty about the cleaning lady, I moved on to feeling (really) guilty about my spending priorities. Guilty about my apartment, about paying someone to do my dirty work, and guilt about how I spend my money. I say this, having socked away a bunch of money this year and paid off all of my debt. These two facts are irrelevant, but more to point out that while I do still feel really guilty, in the scheme of things I have actually been pretty responsible this year. But still.. guilt.
The guilty list list could go on: other things I felt really bad about this week include but are not limited to: missing work on Friday (but only because I was really sick.) I always feel horrible about myself anytime I miss work or leave early, even if I’m too sick to function. I know it’s messed up, but I will sit at my desk trying to work until it’s time to go home, no matter how rotten I feel. Also: Bagels. I feel guilty about bagels. Always. I know they are nothing but empty carbs but can’t resist them…. inevitably, I find myself reaching for one every Monday (at BaubleBar, this is a weekly tradition… a massive order from Murray’s arrives like clockwork around 9:30am) And magazines. I subscribe to nearly all of them and often find myself recycling them without having had time to read them (I’ve started canceling subscriptions.) Also, while we’re on paper and being wasteful… Christmas cards. Try as I might… I’ve only sent 23 thus far… which wouldn’t be bad, except I ordered 100! They are going to be really late if I don’t get my sh*t together this week.
So there you have it. That’s my guilty list. As for how I deal with it? The best solution that I’ve found thus far is to talk to myself the same way that I would talk to a friend. If a friend were to say everything I just said, I’d probably think she was a little bit crazy. (For the record, I also think that I am a little bit crazy. I don’t feel guilty about that, for the record.) I know in my heart that a lot of the things I feel guilty about are actually very silly. I also know that guilt is not a productive emotion. All you can do in life is the very best you can. This month, my schedule has gone something like… 7am workout class — home to get ready and answer emails — work from 9:30-7, nap from 7:30-8:30, blog/answer emails til midnight or 1am. So if spending $100 this month (two cleaning lady sessions) is going to make me a little more sane, why not? And if I manage to work out four or five times a week, why not enjoy the weekly bagel and just eat healthy for the rest of the day? Cancel the magazine subscriptions, write a few Christmas cards every night. As long as you’re making progress and making a genuine effort at fixing the things you can fix, that’s really all you can do (I think?) Keeping perspective helps as well. If some of my Christmas cards arrive after Christmas, who really cares? No one (at least that I’m sending cards to) is judging… they’re just happy to get a card. So there you have it. Though even after writing this, I still do feel a little bit guilty.
This was a long, rambling post… but I’m curious if any of you guys feel the same and find yourself feeling guilty about big things and little things… and more importantly.. what you do about it. No one is perfect and we all have our things… but sometimes sharing these things really helps. Knowing you aren’t alone in your crazy really helps.
I deal with a lot of silly guilt too. I honestly couldn’t tell you how I manage to be okay, but I think talking to yourself like a friend would is important. Or, even better, having someone talk to you! If I’m feeling guilty about, say, leaving dishes in the sink for a day or two too long, I talk to my boyfriend. He reassures me that it’s okay! It’s okay to have to skip dish duty when you’re exhausted at the end of the day or stay home because you’re sick. We have to remember that we’re feeling guilty because we’re a perfectionists who are already exceeding expectations, and it kills us to not complete or be the best at something for once, NOT because we’re lazy and sloppy.
Hang in there and take care of yourself. And by all means, hire a cleaning lady!
OMG I totally hear you. I feel that guilt. All. The. Time. My vacuum also broke and I was waiting to replace it to call back my cleaning lady… Which was… too long ago. I finally did a huge clean today and it feels so good but still, I’d rather have someone come and clean for me. With everything you do every day, you completely deserve this little luxury (and that bagel). So go for it. We all have to stop feeling guilty for not being able to do everything in life. xo
I went through guilt about having a cleaning company come in every two weeks, too. I finally admitted it to a few of my coworkers and, to my surprise, they sheepishly admitted that they do, too! You’d be surprised at how common it actually is. It is pretty liberating to admit one’s own insecurities/guilt. Once you’ve done so, it really isn’t such a big deal.
Thanks for being so honest. And, whenever I feel guilty about splurging or indulging, I try and remind myself that there are people like Karl Lagerfield (love him, I really do) or the Kardashians. It puts things into perspective!
Love your posts!
I really enjoyed this post, not because you are feeling guilty, but because I too have been feeling super guilty lately! I feel guilty about not cooking enough, working too much, not working enough, not playing with my baby, spending time for myself, etc. It goes on!!!! And I think it’ll always be a work in progress too! Anyways, the way I see, we are all trying our best so stop feeling guilty! 🙂
Oof – not cooking enough is a HUGE one with me, too! 🙂
I definitely feel you. At times I get so stressed and feel so guilty about such ridiculous things but we’re all human and we’re far from perfect. Although I think at times I allow myself to become very distracted by things like not cleaning and end up only cleaning- youre right, it’s more a matter of doing the actionable things you have control over.
I went through this same exact thing. It shouldn’t have to change you just because you’re trying to simplify your life in a good way. What I tend to do after many hours or days over rationalizing something like this, is to just go for it if that’s what you want as long as you pay it forward in another way. Balance erases the guilt.
I love that… “balance erases the guilt.” You have a great outlook!
SAME! I feel guilty about most things, especially little indulgences. My husband keeps saying I really shouldn´t, but I can´t help myself. But I do have a helper, as I have two kids and work
Wow, YES!! I was just telling my friend about 30 minutes ago that I keep finding myself feeling guilty over the silliest things. Also, BAGELS – yes!!! I always tell people pasta and bagels I feel guilty about – always. Just like worry though, this guilt gets us no where. You’re incredibly successful, and you should be proud of your hard week! Have a great week!! xo
The guilt trap is something we all fall into. As a romance novelist, i make my own hours which is amazing but also incredibly guilt inducing. If I hadn’t worked ten hours that day then I throw a huge pity party and work myself into a coma. I’m starting to learn it’s ok to take a day off and relax. It will only benefit you in the long run.
Nicole – 1) Thanks for your comment… 2) That is so cool that you write romance novels! I am going to check out your work.
And I hear you. I often think about what I would do if i left my job and blogged/freelanced full time and it would probably be very similar to your approach. Eek. We need to give ourselves a break every now and then.
You make my night better as I come home from my crazy day and get to finally relax + read your blog. I love it! You’re a real person, working their butt off and living a real life. I say you’re doing a swell job! It’s hard not to do, but don’t be so hard on yourself 🙂
I love these types of posts. I’m happy to also be on the cleaning lady bandwagon, for the 4+ years I’ve had my condo. Hope you were able to rest & recooperate this weekend!
I believe we all deal with guilt at one point or another – but it´s a female thing, isn´t it? Guys are way more laid-back in their personal life when it comes to chores they can´t get to. We women believe we have to do it all and be on top of it all. I say screw that. Actually I was thinking about getting a cleaning lady myself – the thing is that cleaning the apartment is the one thing that I sometimes need to refocus. It kind of relaxes me when I get home from my day job and dedicate 2hrs into cleaning up my place and doing laundry. Afterwards I feel serene and content with myself and head to the blog to work on that for the rest of the night. But getting a cleaning lady would probably give me more time to prep food and therefore make better choices and to have more time for a workout routine though I can´t really be bothered with that right now. Yes, I am weird like that 🙂
Grace, I’m on “Team Guilty” too. My husband calls it my “default setting.” I’m pretty much a Type A overachiever, so when I realize that something is not going according to the perfect plan I set in my head, I feel as though I let other people down which then leads me to feel as though I let MYSELF down. I think managing realistic expectations has gotten a little easier as I’ve gotten older and my life just keeps on getting more complicated with kids, work, and general life responsibilities. I just keep reminding myself to do what I can when I can… and your true friends and family will love you more for it.
Hang in there, girl- you’re doing GREAT! You should be so proud of what you continue to accomplish.
I feel really guilty about buying clothes that aren’t wardrobe staples. I look at the amount of clothes my husband buys and then compare that to what I buy (and even worse what I want to buy) and it just does’t compete. It’s just not fair that I spend “our money” on frivolous clothes. It’s something that I’ve always struggled with and even if a new necklace or dress makes me happy, it eventually makes me feel guilty.
We’ve all got things we feel guilty about. I guess it’s a good thing because it’s one way to keep us aware of what we’re doing, it allows us the opportunity to re-evaluate priorities, and keeps us on our toes.
I am glad you “confessed” to me about the cleaning lady, I think that was a smart move, I should have done it years ago! You can’t do everything so just make good choices in what you choose to do. Coming home to a clean house is a gift you gave yourself, very important! love you 🙂
I just wanna say you’re not alone in this. Especially around the holidays. I just found out I was pregnant a little over a month ago. Let me tell you how productive I’ve been. The only thing I’ve been productive in this past month, is in the sleep department. I feel guilty for neglecting my friends. I feel guilty for eating copious amounts of pizza. I also started working at a new job a couple weeks before I found out I was pregnant. I miss working out and I miss having energy. I haven’t gone Christmas shopping yet. This time of the year everyone feels a little bit guilty in some kind of area in their life, but it’s also good to remember like you said of all the successes you have achieved this year. Whether it be paying off debt or exercising and feeling a bit healthier than last year. All in all, I just wanted to say that you are not alone in feeling guilty and it’s okay to feel so.
dont be too hard on yourself! like you said you are making progress to make changes (canceling the magazine subscriptions) and i don’t think there is anything wrong with having a cleaning lady if you are putting in long hours at the office!! feel better. xoox
I feel this way ALL the time. I got sick on Saturday afternoon and tried to ignore it, which is my usual MO when I’m sick, but this time it was worse (fever, nausea…not fun stuff). I tried to force my way through it but just couldn’t do it and had to miss our holiday party for work yesterday, which I still feel guilty about. I apologized profusely to everyone and was checking in to make sure everything was OK, and first thing this morning everyone asks how I’m feeling which just made me feel more guilty in return!
Also, the financial guilt…have it. All the time. 2015 is the year of getting-my-sh*t together so I can feel less guilty about things when I do want to spend on them. And I get you on the guilt where you feel like you have to do everything, and feeling a little like a failure when you can’t and you have to admit it. It’s OK to not be able to do everything!! Try as we might none of us are superwoman (unfortunate but true!).
I gave up guilt as a new year’s resolution in 2008. The first year was tough, but ever since I just don’t feel guilty about stuff that makes my life easier anymore. Yes I make “irresponsible” financial decisions sometimes, but that’s my prerogative and it’s my money right?
I always felt guilty about buying magazines but my boyfriend’s mom recommended nextissue, and it is the BEST. You get almost every magazine ever on your iPad for the price of like two newsstand magazines. No waste, no guilt, no problem!
when you start having her feed you bagels, while laying on the couch reading magazines as she vacuums around you, THEN you can (maybe) start to feel guilty. otherwise, good for you!!
I think for a lot of people having a ‘cleaning service’ seems like a misuse of money or a snobby rich person thing – like you’re too good to do it yourself — but really I misuse money in a wholllle bunch of ways (brunch, 3 mimosas, brunch again) that are a lot less beneficial to my well-being and yet don’t receive the same judgment from others or myself. (my mom excluded – she doesn’t understand the whole brunch phenomenon). If $100/month allows you to focus on what’s really important in your life (work, blog, bagel eating, friends & family) and keeps you sane, then the trade off is totally worth it.
I first read your post the other night and it really resonated with me as a fellow young-professional. Then yesterday I was flipping through Self and came across an article called, “The Busy Vortex”. It dives into some of the same topics you discussed & how many young women feel the need to do-it-all and do-it-all perfectly at that. We hold ourselves to such high standards and can be our own worst enemy by feeling guilty for things that make us happy but don’t fit the mold we try to cram ourselves into (p.s. I just guiltily hired a cleaner too)! Long story short, I thought you’d in enjoy the article. So in case this is one of the mags you’ve cancelled, here’s the link. 😉
For what it’s worth – you’re an inspiring woman & I hope you enjoyed that bagel today!
I feel the EXACT SAME WAY about everything.
I’m home sick right now and I feel guilty about missing work. When I have a busy day and neglect the blog, I feel guilty. When I’m at home looking at my phone answering emails, I feel guilty I’m not spending time with my kids.
My Christmas cards will be late, I’ve barely tackled my Christmas list and my house is a mess. I will say though, the one thing I don’t feel guilty about is having a cleaning lady. It is the best thing ever.
Love this post and the honesty. Definitely something I can relate to. Don’t feel guilty about any of it though. You know you’ve got it going on. 🙂
I have these feelings all the time, about everything in my life and it just drives me crazy. I suffer from terrible anxiety so adding all that guilt on top of my anxious being, it’s a nightmare. It’s so nice for you to share your stories this way and remind me that I’m not alone in these feelings. I LOVE the idea of talking to yourself as a friend and “fixing what you can fix”. Great advice that I’m going to take.