I just finished a post on the other blog about having planned out so much for this weekend only to watch a good half of it fall by the wayside. Which happens—sleep cycles get hosed, emergencies occur, and some times you just aren’t feeling it and say, “Fuck it.”

Except that I have this inner critic who rails at me if I don’t get shit done on schedule. And no, I don’t have ADHD (I’ve been tested). Instead, I have an internalized group of Eastern European female ancestors who tell me that I’ll bring shame on my family if my house isn’t clean, I leave craft projects to moulder, my husband isn’t fed dinner regularly, and I don’t churn out a minimum of six books a year.

Maybe it comes from being a latchkey kid, I dunno. When I was in sixth grade or so my mother had an argument with my grandmother who had been babysitting us. Mom then announced that Grandma wouldn’t be babysitting us anymore, my sister and I were old enough to look after ourselves and my little brother after school, and we would have chores that we were expected to do before she got home.

So we’d come home from school, S would tidy up, dust, and vacuum the living room, I would clean the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, and sweep the floor, and our brother would take out the garbage. After that we were expected to do any homework we had and let my brother watch The Three Stooges on Channel 32. I’m not complaining about this, mind you—it wasn’t difficult and didn’t take that long. But the whole idea of “You have to do your chores no matter what” got so ingrained in me that one day I came home with a stomach virus, cleaned the kitchen, puked in the sink, then cleaned that up before staggered up to bed.

So I’m not comfortable if my mental list of chores aren’t done, but I’m also in my mid-fifties which means my body usually hurts when I wake up and on some days I don’t want to go outside and fix the fence or take down the Christmas lights or stand for a long time while I knead dough. And yet they have to be done, and not doing them makes me feel like a slacker.

I probably need therapy. I wish my therapist friend in Florida did telehealth because I would pay him for sessions without hesitation.