Genre: Humor


Guilt – That 4-Letter Word!

April 21, 2014 Book Talk 24

Guilt – That 4-Letter Word!Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Published by Archetype, Crown Publishing Group on May 7, 2013
Genres: Humor, Non-Fiction
Pages: 288
Source: complimentary review copy
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This post was inspired by the novel Dad Is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan who riffs on his adventures co-parenting 5 kids in a 2 bedroom Manhattan apartment.  Join From Left to Write on April 22nd as we discuss Dad Is Fat.  As a member, I received a copy for review purposes.

Guilt ~ should be a 4-letter word, don’t you think?

We all feel it at some time or another {unless you’re a sociopath}.  If you’re a mom though, that feeling typically works its way into your psyche even before the hospital lets you leave with the baby and stays for. . .well. . .an eternity.  Of course it comes and goes, ebbs and flows – but I daresay, if you’re a mom, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Recently I had a conversation with my mom about having feelings of guilt for different aspects of how I raised my children.  I was asking her if these feelings will ever go away.  My mom is the wisest woman I know so I thought for sure she would have the right answer.  I was definitely not encouraged when she told me she still feels guilty about times when my brothers and I were young.  Aargh!  That’s so not what I wanted to hear.

Then I asked my daughter if she ever feels guilty about the choices she is making with The Little Monkey.  I was expecting a resounding “no” as I think she’s a most fabulous mom, but alas, she struggles with guilt as well.

My best friend who has a 13 month old – same story.

So when I read this quote in Dad Is Fat it was almost with a sense of “YES! Dad’s experience it too!”   Not that I would wish the sensation on anyone, mind you 😉

No matter how hard you try to be a good parent, you always know deep down that you could do more.  I feel guilty when I travel out of town to do shows.  I feel guilty when I’m in town and I don’t spend every single moment with my children.  I feel guilty when I’m spending time with my children and I am not doing something constructive toward their intellectual development. . .(p. 26 – 27)

We all have these guilty feelings, some warranted – like yelling at your child for no reason; and many of those feelings not so warranted – such as your child is in a bad mood so it must be your fault.  I am guilty on both fronts and within this past week!

Although I snapped at my son because I was stressed about making him late for a music gig, I did apologize almost immediately.  And though I internalized that my daughter was in a bad mood because of me or something I did/said or didn’t do/say, I realized it’s not always about me.  She’s grown, with her own life and issues and moods and with a two year old that although he is the sun, moon and stars all rolled into one he can also cause her feelings of guilt.

I guess what I’ve come to realize is that guilt is one of those feelings we all have, but so is joy, confidence, pleasure, freedom, happiness, love, blessed, merry, amazed, thankful and so many others.  I consciously choose to take a step back when I sense guilt creeping in; see what it is bringing that 5-letter word out {should be a 4-letter word}, and then if it is something I can change or fix I do, but most of the time I let it go and choose to be happy and content instead.

How do you deal with feelings of guilt?  

Share your tips in the comments so we can all support and encourage one another.

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