Dear False Guilt

Dear False Guilt,

I CAN’T believe you dared to show your ugly face around me again!  And so sneaky . . . .After that whole knock-down drag-out we had five years ago in PNG where you made me feel like the world’s worst mom and biggest loser, I thought I’d recognize you if you crept back in my life.

The last thing you made me feel guilty about: my teaching job in PNG. You said, “Great moms stay at home ALL the time.” I finally won by blowing a giant raspberry in your face.

You snarky little witch, with your “You’re not good enough, smart enough, nice enough, pretty enough, etc.”  Maybe it was just my false confidence, thinking that I’d beaten you once and for all instead of realizing that you’d be back, trying to make me believe that “who I am” and “what I am” are the same thing.

SO . . . just to show you that I’m wise to your game, here are a few of the things that I most recently vow NOT to feel guilty about anymore.

1. I DON’T LIKE SCRAPBOOKING!!! I know that lots of great mothers spend hours cutting out photos and small pieces of paper to chronicle their families lives.  I do not.  I am no longer going to waste one second of my life bemoaning my lack of talent in this endeavor.  When all the other children get their gorgeous “Senior Album,” lovingly chronicling each transition from cradle to cap and gown, I will say, “How great for them!” and tell my kids that I’m happy to give them a thumb-drive (or whatever the equivalent will be in the far distant future) full of photos that they may compile.

“WHAT??!? You mean to say this IS NOT ORGANIC pudding? How could you, Mom? How could you?”

2.  I DON’T BUY ORGANIC! Of course it is recommended and better, but I’d rather be debt-free and pesticide laden than the reverse.  The non-organic supposedly steroid-laced milk that is supposed to have some bust-enhancing properties has not done JACK for me and I’ve been drinking it all my life, so bring it on . . . .  While the rest of the world can continue buying it, I am not going to waste one more second feeling like a loser when I would have to double our grocery budget to buy this food.  (I have looked into it.) We eat lots of produce, I cook from scratch, I garden, I shop the Farmer’s Market, and I stick to a relatively teensy budget, so FALSE GUILT, you are just going to have to pick another gal for the organic guilt trip. I and my non-enhanced bust are done with you. (Update: This post was written pre-Poorganic days. Now we eat some poorganic food, but still not the milk. :))

You’ve gotta start them REALLY young. 🙂

3. SOMETIMES I LET MY KIDS WATCH TONS OF TV. My kids are very good at watching TV. I have trained them to watch it fixedly and with total focus so that I can get lots of stuff done while it is on.  The minute they seem to lose interest, I turn it off, so there is no option to have TV in the “background.” They are only allowed to watch it if it anesthetizes them. 🙂 I think TV is a great learning tool, especially if you inundate  them with lots of educational programs and video games.  There are possibly scores of reasons why I could feel guilty about this, but since I am generally awesome at parenting, I’ve decided to let this one go. You FALSE GUILT, cannot convince me otherwise, no matter what statistics say.


4. I HATE EXERCISING. Lots of people have tried to tell me that if I really stuck to it, I would love it, but I don’t. FALSE GUILT, I am telling you that I will keep trying to exercise because I know it is good for me, but I AM NOT going to like it.  I will stay active, and adopt a new pattern (yoga, jogging, walking) whenever I get an ache or a pain, but I am not going to feel bad about not wanting to run a marathon.  I JUST DON’T WANT TO!!! If I have an extra hour to do something, I’m going to blog or read or watch a movie.  If I decide that the best pick-me-up in the morning is not a jog, but rather a fourth cup of coffee, there is just not one DARN thing that you can do about it. Did I mention that you are not the boss of me?


Addie’s Kindergarten class. She’s scowling because she wants to eat her birthday cupcake, not pose.

Even though I feel like it should be obvious to everyone why a public school teacher’s kids would not be homeschooled, I also hear you whispering homeschoolish words in my ear all the time.  I hear you pointing out to me the other moms who homeschool and telling me that they are better, smarter, and more loving than me.  Well, I have two words for you . . . Preschool Prep!. I do homeschool . . . sort of.  By way of all the TV and DVDs they watch, my not-even-two year old daughter knows all her colors, numbers, shapes, and letters AND she shouts “ABRE” whenever she wants a door opened.  Thankfully, they will get to go to a great public school where their father works, where I went, and where certainly they will pick up a thing or two over the years. 🙂  Find some other person to guilt about schooling; I’m done with you on this subject.

Everyone should have an antique leather chair for this purpose.

6. MY HOUSE ISN’T THAT CLEAN. I’m tired of apologizing for this and you making me feel like this makes me an inadequate person, unworthy of having guests over.  I have three messy small children crammed into 1090 square feet.  They like to spread their food on the walls, miss the toilet when the pee, and strew as many small Lego or Polly-Pocket-sized toys around as they possibly can.  Is this really my fault? How can you expect me to feel bad about this anymore?  Does my house get any more clean by way of all the disclaimers that I offer people before they come over.  Here is a news flash for you: Having a messy house does not make me a bad person.  HA!  In fact, in the times of my life where I am most stressed out by my house, I am strung a bit tightly. I am cranky. I am annoyed easily. I am nit-picking.  I am probably ovulating. Is that really a person you want to visit? No. No it isn’t.  You want to visit the messy me. The one who has lots of laundry (usually clean) piled on the red chair.  Sufficient crumbs and juices remaining on the last eating surface to provide and additional meal for any hungry insects. The one who, yes, dashed to the bathroom to wipe down the corners of the toilet for pee, because even relaxed me doesn’t like to have my guests smell urine in my bathroom. It’s not you, FALSE GUILT, motivating me. It is a truer nobler friend, PERSONAL HYGIENE.

FALSE GUILT, I want you to know that I intend to write you letters every time I think of one thing that you’ve tried to make me feel unnecessarily bad about. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m perfect.  If ACTUAL GUILT ever visits, mark my words, I will pay attention. ACTUAL GUILT usually keeps me from sleeping and reminds me of some sin or poor choice I made rather than generally insinuating that I’m just lame or not as good as I could be if I was cleaner, more organic, homeschooled, scrapbooked, exercised a lot and didn’t own a TV. (I am so depressed just thinking about that girl. Poor her.)  ACTUAL GUILT points the finger at ME instead of suggesting that I look at others to see how I fall short.  ACTUAL GUILT motivates me to change. You, giant cloud of depressing shame and self-loathing, you make me SICK!!!

With a giant hokker directed at your face,


To my lovely Readers, feel free to purge your own FALSE GUILT in the comments section. This has been EVER so freeing for me, and I feel sure it will be for you as well. 🙂

29 thoughts on “Dear False Guilt

  1. Katrina Ryder, I love you & miss you! This was EXACTLY what I needed to read this morning, thank you. Returning ‘home’ brings on a whole new load of false guilt to contend with. We need to immerse ourselves in the Truth, and the Truth will set us free. My worth does not depend on how perfect/ imperfect I am, in fact, it doesn’t depend on me at all. My worth is all about GOD and who he is. How self-centred to think it was ever about ME!

    Kindred spirits forever,


    1. Kate, I am so glad that my post found you at the right time. I hope it finds ME the next time I need it. I think our “Enemy” whether you call him FALSE GUILT or his correct name, Satan, likes to distract us from effectiveness by keeping our focus on petty things, imperfections, and generally ourselves. You are so right to point out that our freedom is in Christ. When you loaned me the book The Myth of the Perfect Mother in PNG, it totally changed my life. I have to remember constantly that it shouldn’t be Christian peers or even the church per se that tells me who I am, but Christ and His Word.

  2. I also hate scrapbooking, i came to that realization this year and along with is, the defiant attitude… I DOn’T CARE that I am supposed to like it!
    Furthermore, I am undecided on whether or not I will finish the albums I started.

    We use a small private school, public sports and homeschooling and I won’t feel bad about any of it. We get the best of it all.

    I am in my jammies… i just don’t feel like putting something more constricting on my belly…

    Sometimes, I am not going to answer my door if someone knocks. I don’t want to see anyone and I don’t have to…

    I routinely allow my phone to go to messages… that’s right, I might not want to talk on the phone for 20 min when I can listen to the jist of what you need and decide if I need to call back or not.

  3. Preach it sista! You have described me to a “T”. Thanks for the reminder to lose my false guilt and to stop comparing myself to anyone. God has a plan.


  4. give it the finger, kick it in the butt, taunt it as you throw it out the door: liar, liar, pants on fire.

    let the truth fill up every nook and cranny, and let it set you free.

  5. In my experience, scrapbooking would be totally contradictory to being a “Low Ryder”. I think my ex-wife spent about $5000 on scrapbooking supplies and in the seven years we were together she finished 2 scrapbooks. These are not exagerations from a bitter ex. I have actually spent a lot of time with God to ensure that I have completely forgiven her for everything. She had a whole room of our house dedicated to scrapbooking with digital cutting machines to cut designs into the ultra overpriced, acid free paper. The result is that $3.50 will buy one 12″x12″ piece of acid free paper in which most would be wasted by the cutting machine, so you cut out a one inch design and run it through a device that makes it into a sticker, which wastes more sticky paper than

    1. Oops… My baby bumped my hand and made me hit submit before I was done. Maybe I should take that as a sign to stop my rant regarding the expensive wastefulness of scrapbooking. All that to say, you are right not to feel bad about it. You are far better to steward your family money wisely.

      1. Well, I think even doing scrapbooking the Low Ryder way (cheaply and simply) was at odds with my perfectionism and indecision. Thanks to the d*&% digital age, I have to sort through 9 million pictures to find the one that looks best and then perfectly position it with the other 4 choices I have to narrow it down to. Impossible. I feel relieved on your behalf that through forgiveness you are free of bitterness and the Scrapping Ex. 🙂 (And really, I think this might be a pseudonym that you might want to consider for her. )

  6. I told you last year that you should stop worrying about your house not being neat enough for me (or other people) to visit. People come to see YOU, not your house, lovely as it is. I have a mostly-clean house, you have wonderful, messy children. Rational people don’t expect you to have both. When 8-year-old Jeph spends Sundays with me, my house is not clean for long. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now if the stuff that was making your house “messy” is still there when I come next summer, then we’ll have to talk…:)

    1. Thank you! You are invited anytime just for being so understanding. 🙂 The only messy thing that is still out from last year is the children, and I’ve determined I can’t do much with them.

  7. I agree with many of the things on your list. One I’d add for me is that “I am not breastfeeding my baby.” I tried, I really did, but after 3 rounds of mastitis it just wasn’t working. I only had milk on one side anyway as a result of an abscess with my first son when mastitis didn’t clear up (it turns out they only gave me half the normal dose of antibiotics at first.) I tried pumping, but eventually stopped because spending 3 hours a day to only manage to give him about a third of what he needed just didn’t seem worth it, especially when I’d have to get up in the middle of the night to pump.

    Oh, and here’s another one. I have never in my adult life hung laundry up outside to dry. Nope, not going to feel guilt about that one. I’ve heard it can cause problems for people with allergies, so if I ever feel the need for an excuse I’ll use that one.

    1. My mom always said, “Breastfeeding is not the way to heaven and people shouldn’t act like it is.” I was able to nurse, but I was always cheezed off by people who wanted a jewel in their crown for it. For goodness sakes, ladies . . . get a life!

  8. I am not going to feel badly for not organizing or preparing to move to Germany. NOPE!!!! I am going to let the military packers pack all our crap, and I will sort it when it arrives at our next duty station. 🙂 I will organize on the flip side.

  9. I do like scrapbooking – but there is a false guilt in that too. Every thing else is so true for me. I’m 1st a wife 2nd a mother and 3rd (don’t fall over) work full time. Definitely have false guilt over #3. My work is super fun and exciting so it is really hard not to move it up to 1 or 2. That is thing I choose daily.

    1. Don’t feel guilty about working. It is good for us to use our brains for different things. (PS: I just got home from work. :))

  10. Awesome Post! So glad to see you blogging again! But no guilt (lol!) :o)

    1. Actually, I cheated! This post is two years old; I just reran it on FB. 😉 I’ll be back some time soon.

      1. Hey I’ll take cheats! Great Post- shared it on my facebook page. 🙂 I love you writing style, makes me laugh and think. Enjoy your sabbatical!!

  11. It is funny how our personal history can inform our POV isn’t it? We all have different value systems and things that are important to us. I was reading your other post about letting your roots run deep and I loved the last part about letting Him dig up all the ugly parts of our character etc. Part of how He does this is through us letting His word dwell in us richly. It is not about living up to other Christian’s values, or about fitting in in our Christian subculture. It is about letting Him dig through the crusty parts of our mindsets that have gotten all clogged up with the values of the culture around us (‘Christian’ or not). Letting Him guide us through His word on how to be a mother. I think it is that difference: Doing it to become more like Him, rather than to fit in more or get praise from those around us, that leads to conviction rather than condemnation and acceptance and approval from Him rather than pride in our own accomplishments. In conclusion to that, I feel differently about some of the beliefs you have formed, but I can definitely relate to feelings of inadequacy at times and DAILY even minutely, I feel conviction to grow as a mother and awareness of my sin. I’m a work in progress. Our kids are blessed to have parents who love them and care.

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