Guilt Be Gone! Let’s Give Ourselves A Break, Because We’re Pretty Great.

I’ve been following a weight loss program for the past 17 weeks, 2 days and 3.5 hours — that’s just a rough estimate. I’m doing really well, but still, when I slip up it’s all, “Shut your pie-hole, chubby” and, “I hope that Oreo was worth it, butterpants.”

With all this going on I’m still a working-full-time, wifing-and-mothering part-time person, and so on top of the guilt about straying from my “lifestyle change” (we don’t use the D-word), there’s guilt about the times I’d rather email than play concentration with my daughter for the 100th time, or perform thirty renditions of Green Eggs and Ham. I feel badly when I don’t get my act together in time to make a decent dinner for my family, especially for my husband who doubles as Anna’s full-time care provider. I feel like my sex drive is probably inadequate, and Anna’s TV time is more than any pediatrician would recommend. Our dogs’ nails need to be trimmed, one of them needs to be completely shorn, and all three have horrible, face-melting breath.

But then I re-evaluated. I got tired of spending so much time feeling guilty, which led not to the motivation to change, but directly to the freezer in a fit of acute Benjerryosis. I looked at my little family — the disheveled, naked two-year-old, the hard-working husband, the three rescued dogs lounging blissfully on our couch — and realized that I’m not doing so badly.

That daughter of mine, she’s bright, happy, and hilarious. My husband works his tail off for us and has given Anna the amazing gift of spending her earliest years with a parent at her side. And me, I bring home the bacon — when I remember, I even cook it. I snuggle, I kiss bumps and scrapes, I keep our fridge stocked, and sometimes, to my husband’s delight, I might get frisky.

So I’m done with guilt. I’m boycotting it. I think we should all, parents or not, make our list of non-guilt-worthy items and go on a permanent guilt-cation. Join me?

About the author: Brenna Jennings is an experienced photographer living in Portsmouth with her husband, three spoiled dogs and almost-two-year-old daughter. Visit her blog at for advice and musings on parenting by surprise.

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