I am the type of person that is ruled, plagued, and defined by my guilt. At any given moment, there is something or someone somewhere that I feel I have let down or failed. I don't know why I am like this or what made me this way, but it is my greatest character flaw... or maybe the source of all my other flaws. No surprise, the number one guilt inducer in my life is my family.
I'll get to my immediate family in a moment... namely Husband since my guilt with the kids is typical mommy stuff. Right now, I want to focus on those other people that fall under the definition of "family". I am not a very good daughter. My parents weren't very good parents once they divorced and they are terrible, uninvolved grandparents. So let's just say I'm returning the favor. I still feel bad about my lack of interest in a relationship with either of them.
I have three siblings counting my two step-brothers. My sister and I have been battling it out ever since her birth just a short 22 months after my own appearance in the world. After nearly 30 years of the constant bickering in our on-again off-again relationship, I gave up. I have no desire to try and salvage something that has always been broken.
I used to be close with the youngest of my two older step-brothers. He actually walked me down the aisle at my wedding because I felt *guilty* asking my step-dad despite the fact that I did not want my dad giving me away. Then we had kids and our parenting styles were so opposite that we didn't know how to bridge the gap and didn't really care to be around the other's parenting (or lack there of) anymore. I don't know why I have such a low tolerance for people and I feel bad that I don't even want to try to fake it.
My in-laws are pretty OK. It has taken me over a decade to get to the point where I can say this honestly but Husband's family, for better or worse, are the only people besides my eldest step-brother and his family who consistently make an effort. I was not what MIL had in mind when she dreamed of her baby marrying someday, but she's no picnic either. We've learned to make the best of it for everyone else involved. Which brings me to Husband.
I love the man despite the fact that our marriage has exponentially increased my craziness. Husband is the type of person who constantly needs to be told what to do... and reminded five times so he doesn't forget... in every situation. He makes me cry then *I* have to tell him how to make me feel better which just ruins it because I had to tell him what to do. If I ask (or bark), he usually will help with whatever I need... unless he forgets first. I feel bad that I nag him the way that I do and that I use him to vent all of my frustrations. Even the ones that have nothing to do with him. Sometimes I just need someone to make whatever it is better without having to explain how to accomplish making that happen. A big part of our (my) problem is that I don't ask for the help that I need because I feel *guilty* doing so. He works, I stay home. I feel bad, like I'm not holding up my part of the bargain, if I ask him to help out more around the house.
I bit the bullet today and asked him to delay his workout to help me clean and, something magical happened, the house got cleaned and I didn't feel guilty! Poor Husband doesn't realize that the bathrooms are officially his domain from now on. I came to a very important conclusion after all of the cleaning supplies were stashed away again and he had left for the gym. I DO NOT NEED TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THIS. I support his job by caring for our kids while he is at work. I then get the benefit of shopping with his paycheck. In turn, he can support me in running this household by helping with the cleaning. He will then reap the benefit of not living in a pit. :)
All of the other chores are pretty evenly divided between the two of us. It was just in this one area... work vs. household... that things weren't right. I resented cleaning since, in all honesty, I do not make the majority of the mess. Today was exactly what I needed even if I did have to spell it out to Husband. He postponed something that he wanted to do so that he could help me with something that I really didn't want to do. It took some of the burden off of me and it made everything else that much easier to bare since I now carry a slightly smaller load... less guilt and fewer household tasks.