Living guilt free…

I couldn’t leave my last post just hanging out there, plus this is my 50th post on my blog so I decided it should be well-thought out.

Struggling with guilt is not easy, and I know I cannot be the only one who deals with it.  I decided to put a few thoughts together on how I am actually living out my new guilt free life.   They say it takes 30 days to shake a habit?  So why would it be any different when changing the habit of feeling guilty?  I am getting better…much better, but I know I need more practice at just “letting go”!

1) Blogging: As I write this blog, I am happy to be writing, but I will not feel guilty about NOT blogging for awhile.  Yeah, it’s true, I actually have felt guilty for the past 4 months that I haven’t written a single post.  This blog is more than just updating extended family on the kids, and showing off some pictures…I enjoy writing, but I just can’t find the time.  However, is it worth feeling guilty over and causing more anxiousness? Nope.  So I won’t be feeling guilty if you don’t see another post from me for 6 months.

2) Taking pictures with an actual camera…and then editing them:  I love my camera, and I love taking pictures.  It is just too big to carry along on excursions when I have so many other gadgets that need to be brought along to help with keeping three kiddos happy.  Plus, I have my phone, and it has a camera.  I have photos of my kids doing things…they may not be the best pictures, but Instagram sure makes them look good.  I have pictures nonetheless and I can quickly share to FB, text or email to grandparents.  I will not feel guilty that my children do not have pictures of everything they do as long as I am fully present with them no matter what we are doing.

3) My Phone:
I WILL NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR BEING ON MY PHONE.  –yes, I just said that! My kids and husband see me on my phone, a lot, but guess what,  my phone helps me do my job.  I’m not old fashioned anymore.  I do like the convenience of having everything in one place.  My phone is how my life and family are organized…it’s my recipe box, grocery list, Target list, reminders, family/kids calendar and activities, and not to mention my way of staying connected with my close relationships.  If I am out in public and looking at my phone, I am looking at lists or texting my husband while he is at work to see if he needs anything.  I will not worry that other people are judging me because I am on my phone while I am with my children.  My children know exactly what these phones can do…they know why I use it and what for…and yes, I randomly peruse Facebook but not at the expense of my children’s attention.

4) Facebook: Oh speaking of FB–I have a love-hate relationship with this social networking site.  I love it because I can see photos of friends and family far away and I can even upload a picture of the kiddos doing something fun.  I enjoy staying connected with so many in this way.  Then there are all those “good-read articles” that you see as you scroll down your newsfeed.  I read them, a lot of them actually, because I love hearing so many heart warming stories of people doing good and loving on others.  Then I read the occasional “i’m going to stop yelling at my kids” type of articles and I get a bit frustrated.  First off, I grew up in a home where there was no yelling…really, I have no recollection of really being yelled at.  I bet that was because I was so well behaved. HA! I used to actually cry when my husband would yell at our dog for something as I hated yelling that much.  Then I had kids…I learned to yell.  I don’t like it and I have been trying to yell less in my house, especially when it’s just not necessary, BUT…I will not feel guilty when I do yell.  Let’s face it, I have three kids, and they are going to fight, sometimes it is the yelling that only gets through to them.  I’m going to slip up and yell at a child who won’t put their shoes or coat on when I’ve asked them 3 times.  I won’t feel guilty, but I will say I’m sorry, ask for their forgiveness and move on.  If we feel guilty for everytime we slip up as a parent, especially in the yelling department, we are going to feel terrible about ourselves…at least I will anyway, so I’m just not going to do it.  I will end this part of my rant on a positive note…my kids know that I do want to yell less, plus they don’t like to be yelled at in the first place.  So I give them warnings, which are sort of my warnings too…I remind them nicely a couple times and before I flip my lid I let them know I’ve asked in my “nice voice” already and it might not be so nice next time.  It usually works, but if it doesn’t well, then, I might just yell.

5)  Healthy eating: Another area in which I am choosing to not feel guilty over is how and what I feed my family.  Oy-vey…this has been a big one for me over the last year.  I am overwhelmed with what I should and what I shouldn’t be feeding my kids.  I’m not saying that I’m just feeding them junk.  Far from it, actually.  I try my best to feed my kids a good variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. but some meals just aren’t balanced and that’s okay.  I read a lot of foodie blogs, and some that are specified for healthy eating for children…the goal in reading this kind of information is taking what you can apply for your house and your kids. While I continue to learn, and try new things in my kitchen, I won’t feel guilty for not being the best cook.

6) TV:  My husband and I gave up TV for Lent last year.  What a blessing that was for us…we spent more time together, in the Word and more importantly doing those things around the house and with our kids that we didn’t do before because we were watching TV.  I started to read more, which was something I could never find the time to do.  Other than a couple favorite shows that are only on once a week, I have continued to live without watching TV.  That is unless I’m doing my guilt free activities of laying around with my husband watching the Chiefs or KU or a 20-minute episode of Bubble Guppies with my kids.  The guilt of all my shows on the DVR was lifted…I didn’t care anymore if I had missed 10 episodes of my 15 year addiction to The Young and The Restless, or hadn’t watched my daily ritual of Good Morning America.  The truth behind it all was that I would watch them when I didn’t have the time, then I would complain that I didn’t have enough time, and then I’d complain that I wasn’t getting to do what I wanted to do like read, write/blog, or edit pictures I’d taken for fun.  So, I gave up TV, and haven’t really looked back.  I still watch my two favorite one hour shows every now and then, but now I read, write and do things for me. So, my  TV and DVR won’t leave me feeling guilty.

7) Scrapbooking:  oh scrapbooking…Lana, if you are reading this, you better have forgiven me for saying this even before picking up the phone.  I love scrapbooking, it is my one true hobby, but I haven’t done it in over a year.  My best friend and I have had some annual weekend trips where all we did was scrapbook for 48-72 hours with a bit of sleep in between.  It was so much fun!  I have two full books for my oldest son, a partial one for my middle daughter, and not a single photo scrapped of my 18 month old son.  And then there’s the baby books, but I won’t even discuss those…it’s the same as my scrapbooks.  I always said I wanted everything equal between all my children, but there is one and only one thing that they are all going to get from me that is equal and that’s my love.  Maybe one day they will all have a few scrapbooks that they can cherish, but instead I’d rather live fully with them than with feeling guilty about not having all the baby books, and scrapbooks done that I want to have, so I won’t…I won’t feel guilty.

8) Getting babysitters and leaving our kids with grandparents for trips with my husband: I see it on FB, and I hear it from friends…I hate leaving my kids.  It’s totally normal and I dislike it too…it’s hard to leave the kids overnight, let alone 5-7 nights, but it is so important.  If I can just say to those that are reading this…one important thing you can do for your marriage, is to escape without the kids and make time to connect just the two of you.  It helps make your marriage stronger and gives you the energy you need to parent as a team.  Do not feel guilty for getting a babysitter, do not feel guilty for going on date nights and do not feel guilty going on a vacation with your spouse. Your love is what created this life and in order to enjoy this walk of life, you need to be continually work on your marriage.  My parents are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, yippee for them, but what an example for me.  Having kids in your home is really only a short 18 years of the many years of your marriage…as your kids grow, you grow and so does your marriage…grow together, change together and love deeper.  Get a babysitter and don’t feel guilty!!

I am beginning to think that my Skinny Pop moment was way more life changing than I’d originally discovered.  I am at a place in my life where I have finally realized my time on earth is precious.  Letting go just feels really good.  Stuff, things, and guilt cannot run my life.  I am blessed beyond measures with a man who loves, children who need me, and a God who gives me Grace to live each day fully and honoring to Him.

Go. Live. Guilt Free.