Yoga and Mother Guilt

The first critical paper I ever wrote was during my junior year in high school. The book was the Scarlet Letter, the topic was our own to choose. The title of my paper ended up being Guilt: the Ultimate Destroyer of the Human Soul.

Fast forward to last year some time. I'd been a faithful Y[MCA] member,but Magnolia was in the middle of teething. She would cry and cry when I left her in child care. My attendance grew more spotty until finally I didn't go at all. For a long time. All the while the membership fee was being automatically deducted from our account each month. That last point made me feel guilty on two points. Guilty for leaving my child and guilty for the frivolity of an unused gym membership.
(Magnolia is into dressing up)

Well then Cora started school in August. I couldn't begin to imagine dedicating mornings to me when she would have to get to school in the afternoon. Would it be too much? I went to Yoga a few Saturdays ago with the girls. I got called out 20 minutes in because Magnolia had been crying for 10 minutes. The next Saturday, I left them with Jake and couldn't decide why in The world we were paying for a family membership to get "free" child care if I didn't want to go unless I left them home. Blah.
 (Googli McGoogerson)


I went today. Like I got up early, we got the girls fed and dressed, and then I looked up the times for child watch at the Midtown and Downtown Y's, was disappointed and drove 20 minutes to Bethany where it started a little earlier and where yoga was offered at the perfect time. I spent a little time on the elliptical, then went to yoga. 30 minutes in, I had to go change Magnolia's diaper. She smiled when I left, and I got back just in time for corpse pose. It was wonderful. We fit everything in. No guilt.
 (Cora climbing at the children's area in the Boathouse District on MLK Day - part of the Devon Boathouse in the background)

One of my big secrets, you know, in case you thought I was perfect or something, is that sometimes when go to bed at night I'm terrified because I know when I wake up I'll have no idea what I'm supposed to do with myself. Like sure the tasks that get our family through each day, like food and diapers and cleaning up little messes, but will I learn something new? Will I have made this day count? Will I have wasted too much time on things that mattereth not? Will I have contributed to making my childrens' childhood a happy one - the stuff dreams are made of? Sometimes being in charge of my own time is completely liberating, but also completely debilitating.
(She's really into doing "tricks." This is one of them. "Hey Mom, watch this trick," and it's usually followed by hopping on one foot or doing something similar to the tree pose.)
Tonight when Jake got home, we exchanged hellos and goodbyes and I went out the door to visit someone from church. I really enjoyed the visit, and when I got home, I pulled into the garage, began making my way down the sidewalk to our house, and it hit me. No, not the BIG answer to everything...

The smell of Downy, coming from our dryer vent. The whole corner [Dot lives on a corner] smelled like our clean warm clothes. And suddenly the guilt lightened a little because of the bit of structure I added to the day for me. I've been starting to think about what I want to do with myself after my girls are a little older, you know, my career. It's been exhilarating and terrifying, mostly for the guilt thing, because guilt is the ultimate destroyer of the human soul. Live more deliberately, less timidly. And if deciding to go to the Y can help me do this, then I'm hoping my muffin top and saddlebags will start headin' for the hills.


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