Innocent Until Proven GUILTY!

In our Straight From The Heart(land) podcast this week, we discussed Guilty Pleasures (you can listen here!) and it got me thinking about those guilty pleasures in our lives. Those songs, books, foods, and activities we love which are “not generally held in high regard” (according to trusty ol’ Wikipedia).

In the podcast, I mentioned my faithful following of The Bachelor. I know. I can already hear your groans and read your mind. “How can you stand to watch that show, Christine?”

Listen here, people. Didn’t you just read the definition of guilty pleasures? I love it although it’s not generally held in high regard. Assume that’s the case with the rest of these items as well.

Now, back to the ever-important:

The Bachelor

I used to watch it in secret. I would steal away for a couple of hours each Monday night, reveling in the romance (swoon!) and drama (cat fights!)

But, I started getting more serious with my Bachelor watching commitment when my sister joined me for live-texting throughout the show each week. No longer were we both secretly watching alone at home. Now, we had each other. Bonded by blood and our shared guilt.

We would text about the fashion, the drama, the jaw-droppingly beautiful locations and bizarre activities for dates. We predicted who would receive a rose and who would be sent packing. We gave contestants funny nicknames because we usually couldn’t remember their real ones. (Is that Britney H., L., or S.? Who cares! We’ll call them Tall One, Short One and Crazy Eyes.)

It doesn’t matter to me that the Bachelor or Bachelorette (Oh yes, we watch that one, too!) rarely marries the person he/she proposed to. It should. I’m a huge fan of marriage and making a lasting commitment to one person ‘til death do you part.

But, my guilty pleasure with The Bachelor isn’t about the final rose or the marriage potential for the couple. It’s all about entertainment. Looking for interesting locations for future vacations, taking note of fashion trends, laughing with my sister. And because of that last point, I don’t feel guilty at all.

Nicholas Sparks Books

Next up, who likes Nicholas Sparks books? My friend Brad said every Nicholas Sparks book has the same plot: Two people fall in love. One person has cancer and dies. The End.

I can’t even argue about that because it’s true. But, that doesn’t stop me from reading the books and watching the movies. Who can watch The Notebook without crying? No one ever.

Nicholas Sparks books don’t keep me up at night pondering profound thoughts. I don’t finish a book knowing that my life has been transformed and I’m ready to change the world. I don’t think I’ve ever even had a conversation with another human being about one of his books.

But, they do make me hug my husband and kids tighter. I smile when we’re hanging out cherishing the simple moments of life, not taking each breath or burst of laughter for granted.

This genre or author may not be your cup of tea, but a whole lotta somebodies out there must like his books and movies because they keep churning them out. No guilt, only pleasure for this guilty pleasure.

McDonald’s French Fries.

There is no fry comparison in the fast-food world. Trust me, I’ve tried them all. I’m not particularly fond of their burgers, opting for Burger King or Hardee’s in that department, but McDonald’s fries can’t be beat. I’ve even been known to drive through for fries alone pairing them up with my Burger King Whopper.

Oh, they’re not good for you. Nope, absolutely not. Zero nutritional value. Enough preservatives to keep them looking exactly like french fries, no decay or mold at all, months and years later. I don't pretend to believe they are good for me - 100% guilty - and yet, it's tough to resist that golden, salty goodness. Pure pleasure.

Cookie Dough

Moving from salty to sweet, how about cookie dough? Early in our marriage, my husband was confused when I would make cookie dough, but never make cookies. But, that lasted about a hot minute. One spoon of sugary bliss and he was “all in” on the cookie dough, late-night snacking. He's now to the point, like Pavlov's dog, that upon spotting freshly-baked cookies on the counter, he responsively starts rummaging around in the fridge in search of the much-preferred dough.

My favorite cupcake shop recently added cookies to their offerings and, smart “cookies” that they are (pun SO intended!), they coupled the cookies with edible dough. You can buy cookies (why?), dough for baking (possibly), or dough for eating (come to Mama!).

I should feel guilty about the potential health risks I take each time I eat that glorious, raw-egg infused yumminess, but I don’t. As my friend and fellow cookie dough-lover Sarah says, “I’m a walking billboard for salmonella.”

Summer Afternoons at the Pool

I could go on and on about all my guilty pleasures, but let me end with one I’m counting down the days to: summer afternoons at the pool. I work from home affording me the luxury of a flexible schedule. This is especially nice when the weather turns warm and the local swimming pool calls my name.

I get to lay in the warm sun catching up on life with my girlfriends, all in the name of motherhood.

“Oh, you want to go to the pool every day, kids? Okay, twist my arm.” I get to be the best mom ever doing what I’d prefer to do each and every afternoon anyway. Bring on the sunscreen, the waft of chlorine, and the sounds of splashes with pop songs in the background.

A summer filled with afternoons at the pool brings me complete, absolute pleasure. However, the tiniest bit of guilt does creep in when I think about my husband and friends slaving away at work.

I also feel slightly guilty when my kids beg me to ACTUALLY get into the water. Yeah, not happening. At least not until mid-July when the water is tolerable. “Mommy, why do you even wear a bathing suit to the pool if you’re never gonna get in the water?” Two words, kiddo: tan lines.

I’m gloriously past the stage where I have to get in the water to hold a toddler or catch someone going down the slide. I can sit on a lounge chair or the side of the pool keeping a watchful eye and talking with my friends, all while staying warm and dry.

Many things about parenthood are challenging, but not summer pool days. Summer pool days are the ultimate guilty pleasure for a busy mom. A busy, Bachelor-watching, Nicholas Sparks’ book-reading, McDonald’s fries and cookie-dough eating mom.