I have no excuse for myself

It is just a fundamental fact that I have nothing pressing to do for the bulk of almost every day now. I can't work from home, and other than doing some daily chores around the house, I have oodles of free time. I have ample opportunity to help my children with their homework, conduct science experiments with them, find educational content for them on the internet, do art projects with them, teach them to cook, get them to run a 5K, play games with them, have them do chores, or do any number of wonderful things that would enrich their lives, make them better people, and build our relationship.

If you follow me on social media, you know that this is not how I've spent my time. Here is how I've spent my time:
-I have learned Michael Jackson's Beat It routine
-I have painted my house
-I have sewn some clothes 
-I have made memes
-I have videotaped a quarantine fashion show set to "I'm Too Sexy" 
-I have purchased a ridiculous Yoga Barbie with light-up boobs that I pose for weird photographs around the house
-I have purchased many other stupid items on Amazon
-I have rebuilt a massive Ewok Village Lego set from a pile of jumbled up Legos from multiple sets
-I have written blog posts and social media posts that I think are funny
-I have made up silly songs 
-I have colored my hair
-I have tweezed my chin hairs obsessively
-I have showered on occasion and brushed my teeth at night
-I have gotten into arguments on Facebook
-I have eaten a lot of crap
-I have had numerous solo happy hours
-I have also done some more edifying stuff, including exercising and reading books and writing more stuff and shaving my dog's butt hole

It's actually been so. much. fun. I am not a person who ever gets bored.  I can always find something to amuse myself, and in fact amusing myself is my very favorite thing. I am living my best life. 

The problem of course is that my kids are also living their best lives, and the child version of that is not the most responsible lifestyle. It includes hours spent sitting around, eating junk, and engaged with various non-educational screens. While I am playing with my Barbie doll, they are up to no good. 

My husband meanwhile is working around the clock at a really important job.  He's too nice to just come out and tell me, "Hey, how about you do something with the kids instead of attending your little Holly fantasy camp every day." He'll instead come around and say, "I think maybe we should rethink the screen time limits" or "Don't you think the kids need some exercise?" or "When was the last time Lawson had a bath?"

So here's the deal. I admit that I have not been doing a good job. I have no excuse for myself.  I need to do better. I'm not going to blame enduring patriarchal expectations of women or the makers of video games or today's weather or my anxiety disorder or the virus itself. Nope, I've got only myself.  And I haven't been doing all the good things because I simply don't want to.  It's really a pretty easy explanation.


Even during normal times, there's a lot of parenting I don't do simply because I don't want to.  I just don't. It's not that I am too busy or tired or stressed. It's not that I don't love my kids. It's just that a lot of the work of parenting--which tends to fall on mothers in most households--is not something that coincides with my natural gifts and interests.  Does that absolve me of the responsibility? No. 

But it also doesn't mean I am a horrible person. I think a big part of maturity and self-reflection is being able to take an honest inventory of one's strengths and weakness without falling into the many traps out there--the narcissism trap (I must only focus on my strengths because I can't face my weaknesses); the victim trap (I admit I make mistakes but they are all the fault of someone or something else); the self-loathing trap (my failures define me and negate all of my strengths and even my own self-worth). I myself am especially guilty of falling into the comparison trap--I feel the need to dismiss or belittle the strengths and accomplishments of others as a way of excusing my faults. 

The correct approach is this:
This is me.  
I am good at this, I do well at this. If I can find ways of doing more of this and applying it to new areas and endeavors, it will benefit myself and others. 
I am not good at that, that is a struggle for me. Most people are better at that than me. Maybe I can ask for help. Maybe I can learn new strategies to cope. Maybe I can work harder to improve in these areas. 
None of it diminishes or bolsters my inherent worth as a person.

At least that is what I've learned from my Yoga Barbie. Thanks, Cloudy!


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