The Why Goblins

This house is a mess.
These clothes make me look terrible.
I’m exhausted.

These little yellow fireflies of negativity flit through my brain, coming and going throughout the day.  I brush them absently away because I have more important things to do than address them:  meals to make (though they are often uneaten), clothes to fold (though they end up in the laundry again in no time), books to read aloud (ahh…the best moments).

But then the goblins come.

Why can’t I keep up with everything?
Why isn’t Theo talking yet?
Why does Sebastian keep testing every single blasted rule?

The why goblins come beating their way into the control center of my brain, muscling out all of the other thoughts.  They make those fireflies look almost pleasant by comparison.

The red ones make me angry.  Why won’t he get up when he hears both of them crying?  Why am I the only one cleaning up after dinner?

The green goblins fill my mind with envy.  Why can’t I have the perfect part-time work situation like they do?  Why aren’t my outfits as put-together and lovely as hers?

The orange ones waste my time on whys of the past.  Why did I quit my job?  Why did we buy this house at the peak of the housing bubble?  

The trickiest are the purple goblins, who slide into my brain in their lovely color, pretending to be friends.  “You need to answer this in order to move on,” they sweetly say.  Why didn’t my teammate want to work with me again?  Why is it so tough to make friends out here?  

The problem with the why goblins isn’t just that they are negative thoughts.  It’s that they turn my days into quests for answers, most of which either lead to more tasks to complete or more negative thoughts about myself.  Or both.

The black goblins are the worst, though.  They have no answers, so I am left spinning my wheels into depressing depths.  Why did my nephew get cancer?  Why can’t they get rid of it?

I’m not against facing the tough whys that have useful answers and have to be dealt with, but the goblins have to go.  They waste my time and sap my energy.  Like Harry Potter looking for positive thoughts for his Patronus, I struggle to kick my goblins out of my mind.

Fortunately, I have a secret weapon.  A little blue-eyed one who can make the rest go into hiding.

But why, Mama?

Why is there a rainbow, Mama?
Why did she say that funny thing?
Why am I still hungry?
Why do we have to have a bedtime every day, Mama?  I want to stay wide awake.

This is the one little goblin I’d like to keep.  Even if he is training up his sidekick when I’m not looking.

if I could talk, I'd be asking why, too

Meanwhile, if you have tips for vanquishing the rest of the goblins for good, I’m all ears.

22 Responses to The Why Goblins
  1. Shell
    August 31, 2011 | 4:31 pm

    I loved this post! Those goblins- they sneak in there and get me, too!

  2. Galit Breen
    August 31, 2011 | 9:17 pm

    Oh girl, I so get this. It’s so very hard to get past those pesky goblins! Good for you for looking towards the good {Those to die for blue eyes!} for a refocus. Such a great reminder. Thank you for that! 🙂

  3. Megan
    September 1, 2011 | 8:01 am

    WOW! Man. What a post! So much of this rings true. Too true, actually. Thanks so much for your honesty. Seriously, when is the book coming out!?

  4. Jennie
    September 1, 2011 | 10:54 am

    GREAT post! If only we could conquer those goblins. All but our blue-eyed goblins that is. 🙂

  5. MommyBrain
    September 1, 2011 | 9:15 pm

    Oh, Jessica, please know that you are not alone … that knowledge is always comforting to me! My energy sapping, waste-of-time goblins have been at an all time high lately, which doesn’t make sense because it’s the most beautiful time of year in the NW! Keep on keeping on … and perhaps you’ll even find a few answers along the way 🙂

  6. Blond Duck
    September 2, 2011 | 4:41 am

    I have goblins and lint gremlins!

  7. Kim
    September 2, 2011 | 6:29 pm

    Oh Honey, if I could make them go away I would. They suck! We all have ours. My (horrible) solution is to just keep busy and do as much as I can, the best I can. Whatever doesn’t fit, just doesn’t. It is a horrible solution. What I end up doing is running myself ragged and almost in tears, then I have to pray long and hard. That is my relief. He is my relief.
    Great post. Truly heartfelt and deeply honest.

  8. KSK
    September 2, 2011 | 6:58 pm

    I dislike those dirty rotten goblins. They’re awful…. except for those sweet little blue-eyed ones!

  9. Rach @ This Italian Family
    September 2, 2011 | 7:45 pm

    Aww, I love the end of this post. So precious.

  10. Stephanie
    September 2, 2011 | 8:40 pm


    I have to say that this is my favorite post thus far. You hit on a topic that all of us deal with daily. Your writing is magnificent and inspires me to keep writing, even though I may not be as eloquent.

    Stephanie (Snyder) Marshall

  11. decoybetty
    September 3, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Eep! Goblins!

    I need a lot of alone time. I think that is how I handle the goblins, I need to take some time to myself every couple of days and it helps to recharge me and give me back some positive energy.

  12. NJ
    September 3, 2011 | 5:18 pm

    Speak mama, speak! Your truths today are also so much of mine. When it comes to the goblins, I’m reminded of something Kelle Hampton once stated on her blog. “There is an ancient Native American story about an old Cherokee who told his grandson about the battle that goes on within us. “My son,” he told him, “Inside every one of us dwells two wolves, one evil, one good. The evil one is angry and jealous, full of regret and arrogance, greed and sorrow, guilt and self-pity. The other is good. He is kind and loving, full of hope and peace, joy and compassion.”

    The young boy thought about it for a moment. “Which wolf wins?” he asked his grandfather.

    The old Cherokee smiled and simply replied, “…the one you feed.”

  13. Giving myself a break | Team Rasler
    September 5, 2011 | 10:57 pm

    […] it a parent who is fresh off loads of adult time and thrilled to be answering the little blue-eyed why goblin two hundred times a day.  Me?  I’m happy even to get out the door to go grocery shopping if […]

  14. Anne
    April 3, 2012 | 12:08 am

    Funny post…loved it!

  15. Stasha
    April 3, 2012 | 8:29 am

    Whys stop me from loving the moment way too often. Specially when I must admit defeat and google answers for my son’s whys…

  16. Cheryl
    April 3, 2012 | 9:24 am

    Well written! I have many of those goblins visiting me as well – some days they are louder than others.

    Happy SITS Day!

  17. Classic NYer
    April 3, 2012 | 9:25 am

    Fighting the goblins with a much cuter little goblin… that’s clever! Those evil goblins won’t stand a chance.

  18. Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos
    April 3, 2012 | 2:40 pm

    Those goblins can drive a gal batty! I like your idea of fighting them with the blue eyed one 🙂 Happy SITS Day!

  19. charlene
    April 3, 2012 | 4:22 pm

    I totally hear ya! When I get the why goblins and start feeling really down, I take a moment to try and be thankful for everything I do have… but it’s hard.

  20. Tricia
    April 3, 2012 | 5:24 pm

    Oh I know those goblins too. I wish I had a method for getting rid of them. But I don’t. I think, though, over time they begin to fades as we begin to accept ourselves.

  21. another jennifer
    April 3, 2012 | 5:41 pm

    Oh, man. Those goblins come and haunt us, don’t they? While they can be tough, I also think they are there to make us stronger. Those little secret weapons sure bring things back into perspective though. We’re lucky to have them!

  22. krystle
    April 4, 2012 | 11:30 am

    Oh, we all have those thoughts. I think it’s normal. I too have my oldest training my little one. Not always a good thing but my little one sure loves his big bro.

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