“I feel guilty,” says my client, “when I leave my wife with our three young kids at home every morning to go off to do a job I love. I love every minute of what I do, and I feel that she has the tougher job of the two of us.”
“I feel guilty” was the response to me saying, “You are booked up every minute of the day. Either you are at work, or you are spending time with your wife and kids. What would it be like if you booked in breaks for yourself to just sit and listen to music, or if you actually took the time to have lunch?”
“But, how can I?” was his answer. “I feel bad if I am not productive every minute of my day, because she is such an amazing mom and I feel bad that she has the harder job.”
I know that feeling well. Just as this client feels he has the better deal, I used to feel the same when my children were young and I got to take time off to be a full-time mom for a few years, and then had the luxury to slowly build my business. I felt bad seeing my husband leave the house at 7:00 a.m. to sit in traffic to go to an office to do a job I would have hated doing. And because of feeling bad, I could not sit still when he was home. I felt I had to be busy around the house every moment or be super mom and over-function, because of this feeling of guilt. I felt I had no right to have needs as an individual because I already had the better deal.
So, is this feeling of guilt useful at all? If you feel guilty, it is still about you. In a way it is quite self-centred and at the same time self-abusive. Who is served if we deprive ourselves of our good fortune or of our needs for balance? I believe feeling bad is completely redundant, and even harmful for the partnership (unless we have in fact done something wrong).
Guilt serves no purpose unless we turn it into gratitude and appreciation for our partner. If you are thankful, then you can say, “I am so fortunate to have a husband/wife/partner who allows me to do what I enjoy so much, so that I can provide for us in my way, while he/she does the job for our family that he/she prefers.”
From that place of gratitude, we can then check in with them, “I am so appreciative that you make this possible for us. What are YOUR needs, dreams, and desires? What would you still like me to make possible for you?” That way both partners can feel appreciated in this team. You are creating your dreams together as a team. There is no room for guilt in a team. Afterall, TEAM stands for Together Each Accomplishes More.
Are you looking to strengthen your partnership or your own individual self? Reach out for a session. Thanks to modern technology, I see individual clients and couples from the convenience of your own home.