Why Do We Need an Excuse to Do Nothing?



There are very few times in my life when I’ve experienced something I like to call a “Guilt-Free Parenting Day.” On these days, I am completely at ease with however I choose to spend time with my daughter, free of the mom guilt that plagues so many of us so much of the time.

As moms, we think we need to spend our days, working, cleaning, running errands, and (for me now) homeschooling. And most days, we do. It makes us feel like good, productive moms. There isn’t a huge chunk of downtime for me, but I like it that way for the most part.

My daughter is a non-stop bundle of energy when she’s awake. It takes her two full hours to wind down before bed, even with a bath and story. We have to start the process at 7pm to get her asleep by 9pm. Plus, we live in an area where it’s sunny 90 percent of the time. Our winters are gorgeous, mid 50’s and 60’s from October to April.

All of these lovely things add up to feeling very unproductive and useless when we have nothing to do, nowhere to be, and no desire to go outside. The only time this feels OK is when one of us is sick.

At that point, my daughter Bella and I both take full advantage of a lazy day at home. I don’t care that the sun is shining, or that the dishes need to be done, or that we’re wearing T-shirts to bed because the laundry hasn’t been done. We curl up on the couch, watch more TV than we have in the previous two weeks combined, use the iPad, and do nothing. My mom guilt goes out the window.

At that point I find myself wondering why it takes one of us being sick to get here. Why do we have to have the excuse of being ill to relax without guilt? What do I worry is going to happen? That my sink will explode with dirty dishes or the entire town will know, JUST KNOW, that we didn’t go outside today?

There is a drive in me to keep busy to pass the time. I need a mental checklist going to feel like I did something that day, and …

  • couch
  • movies
  • ordered pizza

… just doesn’t do it for me. Then I wonder if I labeled it like this …

  • snuggles
  • long talks with Bella
  • playtime
  • changing up the routine

Would that make all the difference?

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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