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March 15, 2006


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Thanks for writing this. You and I have some of the same tendencies. Including the obsession to begin sentences with 'so'. Which I claim the right to by virtue of creative license. So there.

Mary, mom to many

Oh good Lord, there are more of us? Your conversation with your husband about the swimming sounds almost exactly like my conversation with my husband late last night about Gui's sleeping. I just...don't ever want anything to be my fault. My life could fall apart and it wouldn't bother me so long as nobody could say it was my fault for not trying hard enough or not doing the right things.

Gosh, I wonder where that comes from? Its not very healthy sounding when you say it out loud like that.

My husband is constantly reminding me that I am human and it's okay to not be perfect. And every time I hear it, it's a new concept. Sometimes I think I will never be rewired... SO thanks for writing this.

The Dance of Anger was a great book, but it's been so long since I read it that I was glad to read your post today and remember the good lessons there. Wasn't there also The Dance of Love??

I wish I had the courage to get my husband to take over the bill-paying. We both agree that I have too much of the household chores on my plate, but I'm too frightened to give over the major one, managing the $$. My husband knows no time limits and sees no problem in late fees, or so it seems to me. Maybe someday soon I will take a deep breath and jump over that cliff.

BTW, I agree completely with your decision on the swimming lessons and see no problem in your choice to keep Joe by your side. There is no hurry in learning to swim IMO and I think it is best to let the child lead.

"...one of my goals here is to write authentically about my life as a Christian, about its struggles and uncertainties as well as its satisfactions."

And that, Jamie, is why I love reading your blog and am so inspired by it. Meeting a priest like that brought me back into the Catholic chruch, and it's knowing that even people I admire struggle mightily at times that keeps me going, that helps me think that maybe it's the effort, not the achievement, that matters.

I love your posts on your faith.
I know you tried Flylady, but this reminds me some of what I've learned from her about letting our perfectionism go and still loving ourselves.
I have HUGE problems with this. I know God loves me - no matter what - but I also know He is my Father and I know the disappointment of a parent when my child doesn't do her best and I KNOW she is capable of more. I hate thinking I make Him feel that way. I think that is the hardest part, knowing that sometimes I dissapoint Him (ok not just Him but others in my life as well, but I'm working on make Him matter more and them matter less)

So much of what you say speaks to me. Not just in this post but in many others. Except for the eating of vegetables.


Jamie, great post. I know what you mean, I think. The thing with "you can call me ugly or stupid, but don't say that I didn't try" -- well, here's the thing. Ugly or stupid, you can't really do anything about so those are easy to shrug off. But Not Trying? That's something we can always work on so it hurts when someone insinuates that we're not doing all that we should. If that makes sense. Also, I really like what Kate has to say up there. She's right.

Thanks for being all naked with us and sharing this. It's not easy to share difficult aspects like this.

That said, I think you did the right thing; I don't think I would've forced the little guy into the water either. Maybe next time Elwood should be swim-lesson-monitor, just like he paid the bills for a while, just to see what HE would've done. :)

I'll add in my "me too". I struggle and struggle with "I can take what ever happens as long as no one can say it's my fault." But I have to accept sometimes it IS my fault, I am NOT perfect, and my loved ones will not desert me if I make a mistake. God won't disown me. This is really a hard thing, and I am grateful you wrote about it today. Blessings!

Kate wrote: "My life could fall apart and it wouldn't bother me so long as nobody could say it was my fault for not trying hard enough or not doing the right things."

I'm an "under-functioner," which I feel really weird admitting on a fellow Catholic mother's blog. None of that "Recovering Marthas/We women work too hard on practical things and need to take five minutes for ourselves and our spiritual lives" stuff speaks to me. I just need to do laundry more often, stuff like that.

But what Kate said struck me because I'm the opposite in that way too -- I can deal so much better when it's clearly my fault. No frustration or anger at others, no questions why God is not giving what I experience as "help." As for Jamie's feeling that her parents might not love her as much if she "failed," that's very different from my experience as well. Growing up, I wasn't given chores, I had a smart mouth and experienced little repercussion for it, and it seemed to be important that I was "smart" and not whether I worked hard and got good grades (so I got mediocre grades when I was bored or moderately challenged by the subject.) It's not a case of "I grew up thinking I was just grand without doing anything at all" though -- not at all. My mother had issues that caused unpredictable, very negative reactions to either pretty much nothing or behavior she tolerated or truly didn't mind the rest of the time, and every time she stopped talking to me after the latest big rant, no matter how many times it had been, I was sure it was the last. I didn't feel loved in general, and given how unpredictable were the triggers to her worst reactions to me, I guess it seemed unlikely that I could "earn" a better relationship with my mother. So, maybe "knowing it's my fault and why" gives me a feeling of control and ability to make sense of the world that was lacking back then.

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