Riddled With Guilt

My mom and I were talking this weekend about the things we feel guilty about not doing. We are a guilt ridden family. Of course, we are also a family of women.

My mom has a big, beautiful backyard that just screams for a vegetable garden. She really wants to be able to eat fresh vegetables from her backyard, she just doesn’t want to do the work of gardening to get them.

I on the other hand, had just come from a failed running attempt. For the first time in my life, I stopped a run partway through. After 5 minutes of jogging I thought “I don’t really feel like doing this right now,” so I stopped, turned around, and walked home.

We sat there together in our joint feelings of guilt, discussing how silly it is that we feel guilty about not doing things we don’t even want to do!

My mother, being of an age where physicality doesn’t come as easily as it once did, and me with an arm that only “half works,” talked about how we now pick and choose the activities we think are worth the effort.

We both agreed that keeping a clean kitchen and bathroom are 100% necessary and worth the effort. We both agreed that some form of physical activity must be done. But we both also agreed that we shouldn’t waste our time doing the small things we don’t want to do just because we feel like it’s expected of us.

I don’t have to run if I’m not feeling it just because it’s a nice day out. I decide on when I run, not the weatherman.

And just because my mother has a nice backyard, doesn’t mean she needs to plant things if she doesn’t like gardening.

What a waste of emotional energy to feel so guilty about these things.


In the end, we went for a long walk. I enjoyed the weather walking way more than I would have running. My mom is still on the fence with gardening, but we’ll get that sorted out. Maybe a potted garden that doesn’t require so much physical work? If you’ve got ideas – leave ‘em below!

For such an otherwise uneventful weekend, I feel like I came out of it having learned a lot of lessons.

Posted on June 13, 2011, in Lessons Learned. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Having the big backyard, doesn’t mean the veggie garden needs to be dug into the ground. You can either do a potted garden or if you have the means to have built, a raised garden bed. This might be easier for your mum instead of being on her knees.

  2. Good for you for realizing that all this guilt and “should do’s” are just wasted emotional energy!

    Glad we’ve got that straight now. :)

    And thanks for the super sweet bday wishes you left me on my Fbook page :)

  3. I know exactly what you mean! There are so many times when I feel like I push myself to keep going on a run because I am convinced I will eventually get into it. But you know what, there are times when I just don’t. You don’t always HAVE to love a run. It’s knowing when to stop that makes you a runner, not always knowing when to keep going.

  4. Susan, I just have to say how much I enjoy reading your posts like this one! You put things to a different perspective than most ”healthy living” bloggers. Love it! :)

  5. My Dad called those “ShoulddaCoulddaWoulddas” and they are such an energy drain. I feel guilty way too often and yet I definitely try to be on a guilt diet and announce that I’m not going to feel guilty about this or that. I’ve gone to the gym, started on a machine and after 5 minutes got off and went home. Yes, some guilt, but I knew I must have needed something else in my life at that moment. And climbing a stairway to nowhere was not what I needed.

    Glad you two had a nice time together. Tell your mom I feel her pain- we hardscaped an area in our back yard specifically for veggies. I think that was a year ago. THrough travels and living part time in another city, I guess it’s just not a priority for when I’m here :-/ guilt guilt guilt.

  6. Good call- life’s too short to waste doing things that aren’t making you feel happy! :) I’m the same way about gardening as your mom- I don’t have a backyard but I feel like I should plant SOMETHING on my balcony. If only I was so inclined!

  7. Ahh… I don’t even want to talk about guilt; I’ve let it rule my life for too long! No more.

    But about the garden–the pots are a great idea! That’s what we do. We grow herbs and tomato plants in pots on our deck. Real low maintenance and easy… the payoff is definately worth the 30 minutes it takes to plant them in the pots!

  8. Love these last 2 posts Susan. I packed all my eggs in one basket. Lesson learned, and guilt is such a waste of energy. Thanks for the reminder. Needed to hear that today. :)

  9. I know some people in Ottawa who started a business by ‘borrowing’ other people’s backyards to garden and in return give the owners half the vegetables! Harder to do in Moncton where there is so much space but maybe possible :) :) xoxoxoxoxo

    • Yes, mom and I were talking about the need for a business where someone comes in and does a vegetable garden for you! I think all there is around here are landscapers (aka Weedman :P )

  10. Has your mum considered fruit trees? I find they do well with benign neglect and can give a fantastic harvest once established. DH & I have 2 satsuma trees that we (ok, he) planted about 8 years ago and that cost $30 each (US$). We water and prune them, and that’s about all we do. I’m not exaggerating when I say they produced at least 300 satsumas this year, and they were so much better than the ones we could buy. We and our friends and coworkers were very pleased with the crop!

    • She’s got a crab apple tree in the back, but it’s infested with bugs so the apples aren’t edible. That is a good idea though! Some raspberry and blueberry bushes would be nice, I’ll have to look into what fruit trees are good in this northern climate!

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