Guilt About Nothing


One of the great things about following blogs is that a good one can get your mental wheels spinning. A recent post by Lipgloss Mama provoked a little Mumabulous navel gazing but in a good way. In the piece titled “What Do You Crave?” ( Jodi Gibson eschews talk of chocolate, coffee and even hunks to ask readers about their inner most emotional cravings. She speaks of the things we really want but are too embarrassed to admit.  For many these “things” are love and self acceptance but that’s not really the head space I’m currently in.

Sure I have a relentless craving for Michael Fassbender but there’s no shame there. (Unless you count the movie Shame where Fassie plays a sex addict. Thank you God. I may have a chance!).  My repressed yearnings are far more shocking. What I really want is the freedom to do absolutely nothing – nada, zip, zero, SFA. Its not like I want to sit like a potato for the rest of my days but I sure could take a week of vegetation right now. Umm – make that a month.

Do you ever want to just vegetate?

This unsatisfied longing hasn’t come about due to motherhood. Back in the Jurassic era when I had a semblance of a career, I would sit plugging financial data into my spreadsheets (my monumentally huuuuuge spreadsheets) wishing I could park my butt on a beach somewhere and practice my pumpkin impersonation. Motherhood has only inflamed a pre-existing condition. The thought of having a whole day to sit and stare at the wall without kids or husband making a single demand is my blue heaven. In fact I was knocked down with the flu over the weekend and secretly enjoyed it. My husband was forced to take over as I lay prostrate in bed for the entire day. Yippee!

Its something that I’m loathe to talk about. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about it up to this point. It seems strange that something so innocuous should be such as source of guilt.  Inactivity is frowned upon in our society(economy). Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. Increasingly we live in a world where our worth is measured by our achievements and achievements don’t just materialize out of thin air. The harder we work the better we are. Every idle moment has an opportunity cost. Its time frittered away when we could have been building  our own personal portfolio.

This attitude is particularly pronounced in the finance industry. In some of the larger investment houses 14 hour days are de rigueur and you’ve sprouted a set of balls once you’ve pulled an all nighter in the office. Ultimately all this work ethic gave us was the GFC. Perhaps if the product development people in the big banks did nothing instead of conjuring increasingly complex derivatives the world economy would be in much better shape.

Stop it Dude!

The Buddhist approach appears positively leisurely compared with the uptight west. They place value on quietening the mind and finding the still spaces between one’s thoughts. Perhaps I should go on a lengthy meditation retreat. Not only would I have the best time just sitting, I could think of myself as a high achiever rather than a lazy bones. (Although ironically thinking of yourself is not the point of such shindigs.) Sadly the spartan lodgings, orange robes and vegetarian diet puts me off the idea*. It looks like I’ll just have to continue to do nothing at home in secret until I can learn to be idle responsibly.

Ommmm. Yeh! That’s the stuff.

Are you similarly afflicted by feelings of guilt about nothing.

Happy Veging


* I apologize for reducing the Buddhist philosophy to its most basic cliches and mean no offense to vegetarians.

Because I’m truly hopeless!

photo credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast via photopin cc

photo credit: eric1g via photopin cc

photo credit: Eddi van W. via photopin cc

photo credit: Lyon & Pan via photopin cc

16 thoughts on “Guilt About Nothing

  1. absolutely! i can’t sleep in ..ever. even before i had kids i got to 8.30 and i just have to get up i feel terrible just lying there. Now with kids nup, even on the very rare occasion that hubby gets up in the morning and says you sleep in i have to get up by 7 at the latest – otherwise i just lay there going through all the things that need to be done and i for some reason i have to do them right then (reality is they will all be there later in the day if not tomorrow!)
    terrible isnt it
    i’d love to be able to be a pumpkin one day

  2. My family makes me feel guilty about needing to do nothing for a few hours on the weekend… its, annoying! I’m quite fine with it – knowing i wont be able to function on any level without it!


  3. I always say that I wish I could do nothing, but on the rare occasion that I have five minutes to myself I soon get fidgety and bored. I’ve never even warmed to holidays at the beach/bush where the idea is to just ‘do nothing’, although a good book always helps. But then reading is not, in fact, doing nothing. Does closing your eyes and dreaming of Michael Fassbender count as doing nothing? I suspect that even when you appear to be doing ‘nothing’, you are in fact at least doing that – therefore, no guilt required!

  4. I hear you!! We are so busy filling our lives with stuff that we forget to actually enjoy the stuff. Great post, we have a similar background too!

  5. Yep. Nothing spoils a faff-about day than the barrel of guilt at the end of it. I try and balance it out by having a run of busy days and tell myself I’ve ‘earned’ a quiet day. I’m at home full time with a very cruisy 5-month-old at the moment so I’m enjoying the chance for the odd quiet day – it’s come after busy years in the workforce and will abruptly end once that baby is a toddler and (hopefully) also has a younger sibling.

  6. So, being a guy and a dad means that I am pretty much immune from guilt. What I have noticed though, is how much of said feeling is felt and taken on by females and mums. Again, as a guy it is hard to understand why this is the case when all the mums I am close to seem to be doing an amazing job and tying their absolute best.

  7. Oh how I would love to sit and do nothing (guilt free)! Even when Munchkin goes to his dad’s house I’m run off my feet doing everything I can’t do with him around! xx

  8. I would love to have a day off. Sometimes it feels so nice, just to sit down for no reason. I often feel guilty about it, but secretly love it.

  9. I was fortunate enough to do “nothing” for 7 months in Southeast Asia, 3 years years ago. It was wonderful, having no decisions to make except what to eat and which direction to go on the map, for such a long time. We did have some wild and wonderful, eye-opening experiences as well of course, and read heaps, and learned much, and it wasn’t all pleasant – but we also did sweet NOTHING, a lot. I don’t feel guilty at all and I’d kill to do it again – altho chance would be a fine thing now we’re parents 😉 We do plan to travel with our girls, but it won’t ever again be that kind of trip where you can just vegetate, whenever, however, at great length – I think it can be good for the soul 🙂 …. Love your comments about reducing Buddhism to a cliche, made me laugh! I lean toward Buddhism although I am extremely limited in my knowledge and am not a Buddihist. Love this quote tho: “Muddy water, let stand – becomes clear” (Lao Tzu). I think it’s true. Nothing wrong with veging for a bit, to clear the mind 🙂

    • I am deeply envious. I was too busy on the work/mortgage hamster wheel to really do the travel thing. It’s one of my regrets. Alas the grey nomad trail lays ahead.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      • I was 35 when we did that trip, after 10 years with a multinational in finance & IT. However, I have no mortgage (have always rented and still am altho hope to change this next year fingers crossed) and I have walked away from my career, which scares the hell out of me if I think too hard about it, so I try not to think 😉 I also have no super, so there will be little, if any, long haul grey nomading for us I imagine. But, pros and cons in all decisions – don’t regret…your travel time will come!

      • P.S. Just noticed you put “alas” with regard to grey nomading – don’t you fancy it? I’d love to! But as said not sure will be possible. We’ll see 🙂

  10. I hate that pretense that exists in some offices/industries that to be a good worker you have to be first in/last out. My two little girls go to daycare Wednesdays to Thursdays, and after I drop them off Wednesday morning, I am supposed to get immediately stuck into work, but need half a day to faff about and catch up on internet reading. I did feel guilty about that until recently a business coach told me not to, that it was my time to unwind and recharge. Perhaps we just need to be given permission?

  11. You are right about the financial industry – it’s push push push, sell sell sell, quicker, better, less waste, more customers; and when you manage to do what they ask they just set the bar higher. It’s not an industry you can slow down in without stepping out for a while.

  12. I practice it unashamedly as much as possible – perhaps because it’s so rare I just don’t get a chance to feel guilty. I think a modern day approach to doing nothing or indulging inyourself is called ‘being kind to yourself’. That seems to cover just about everything. I love it!

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