Shame, Guilt and Housework

Long time, no write. I considered letting this space go recently. My hosting came up for renewal and I wasn’t sure I could justify the cost anymore. It’s been a while since I had even looked at my blog, let alone written anything on it. I just couldn’t quite let it go though. This space opened up a lot of conversations over the years. It allowed me to *meet* a great range of people.

Image by Maaark from Pixabay

I’ve had this particular subject percolating in my brain for a while now. I’ve written it in my head a few times but never gotten to the point of actually writing anything down. It just felt like a step too much, I have too much going on, not enough energy to dedicate to writing. My brain feels like mush and when I’m alone, I don’t want to use it, I just want to watch trashy tv and play mindless games on my mobile.

In November last year I was diagnosed with ADHD. A lot of things finally made sense. It was reading my son’s WISC assessment report and seeing myself in the comments that made me seek a diagnosis. Suddenly I had an explanation for why my life was a bit of a shit show. It allowed me to give myself some grace for things I had struggled with my entire life. I’d felt like a failure and a fake, but it turned out I had a reason for my struggles.

A few years ago I decided to make a conscious effort to stop using the word ‘should’. It’s a word loaded with shame and guilt. It is used to tell people that what they are doing, isn’t enough or what society believes they need to be doing. You ‘should’ have a clean house, you ‘should’ cook everything from scratch, you ‘should’ be a better mother. See what I mean?

While I had mostly been successful with removing the word from my vocabulary, it was still making an appearance on a regular basis in my inner dialogue. I was still beating myself up for not meeting my own impossibly high standards. Shame and guilt were constant companions and I did what I do best, I ignored it all together. That of course just intensified the shame and guilt. Then so on continues the cycle.

I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment recently. Or maybe the years of therapy was finally sinking in, now that I was allowing it in. I realised that I needed to stop telling myself when I ‘should’ be doing things and how I ‘should’ be doing them. Instead I needed to work with my own brain, and its executive dysfunction.

I have always been a night owl. I work best at night and that’s when I have the most energy. So instead of fighting that, I started doing my housework at night. I hang the washing out overnight. I vacuum and mop before I go to bed. I realised that forcing myself to do any of it in the morning was just fighting an uphill battle. When I started this, I was doing this stuff more often. I got rid of the guilt around not doing it at the ‘right’ time.

Cooking and I have an up and down relationship. I’m not terrible at it, but long, drawn out processes aren’t my jam. I stopped beating myself up because I wasn’t cooking elaborate meals every night and started realising that a meal that takes 20 minutes can be just as good as one that has 50 steps and takes hours. I also buy precut vegetables ( I was pretty excited recently to discover that I can buy chopped spring onion) and premade salads. Once upon a time I felt shame about this. I would tell myself that I was lazy. It wasn’t that hard to cut vegetables. Then I realised that buying them precut meant that I was more likely to actually eat them.

Our brains can be bastards at times. Shame and guilt does very little to help long term so kick it to the curb. You do you. You weird, wonderful person you x

3 thoughts on “Shame, Guilt and Housework

  1. Vanessa

    You know I’m on the fence about seeking an ADHD dx too… the cut veggies thing has been huge. I used to think buying grated cheese was “bad” or “lazy” … then I hurt my shoulder & couldn’t grate. It’s weird the rules and permissions we put on ourselves.

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  2. Mirella Keast

    Phil and I started eating our main meal at lunch time instead of dinner time for similar reasons – by the time dinner time rolled around, we were both too tired to cook anything, let alone something nutritious. We could do it because neither of us were working or otherwise committed during the day. Obviously it won’t work if you have work or school, but there’s no reason the biggest meal of the day has to be the evening meal aside from convention.

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