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Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Mar 02,2009
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Tonight, in a fit of guilt, I finally let loose on my mother and told her that no matter what I do, "it is never enough."  Then "bad daughter" kicked in my mind.  Guilt, guilt, guilt!

I am taking her to lunch and a concert this weekend.  She said we could eat at her apt. afterward.  I said, no, that I could not do dinner. I explained that I'd be gone from home until 9 that night, and I didn't want to be gone all day. She was not happy.  She said, "Well, you go away all weekend, what's the difference?"  

I just blew up.

Later I apologized and said I was wrong.  She ended the conversation with, "I should not have asked you to come to the concert."

I feel overwhelming guilt at the simple statement, "I need some time Sunday to myself." What she heard me say was, "I don't want to spend time with you."

Only on weekends do I wind down, and going out of town is therapeutic for me.

You will tell me I am not responsible for her. I need to hear this. I need to know that it is OK for me to take care of myself first.
&n bsp;

Dear Guilt,

You must take care of yourself first.  No one else can do this for you.

You are not responsible for your mother’s happiness, although you do have responsibility for her as your parent.  You did the right thing to protect your Sunday evening.  If you allow your mother to bully you, your resentment will eventually destroy the relationship.   

I disagree that you were wrong to blow up.  It happens when feelings have been withheld too long.  Or when we are overtired or frustrated.  It was the best you could do in that moment.

Speak your truth simply, “I need some time Sunday to myself.”  There is nothing in this statement to cause guilt.  Practice simple statements like this one – which needs no explanation.

Consciously relax into allowing your mother to be exactly who she is.  While you can shift your own perspective, you cannot change her.  

How lucky she is to go to lunch and a concert with such a ‘good’ daughter.  If only she could cherish the experience.

Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at

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