Have You Shoulded Yourself Today?
That sounds bad, doesn’t it? Kind of obscene. Yet we all know, in order to be a successful 21st century mom, you’ve gotta get all your “shoulds” in. Even more important than exercise, healthy diet, sleep, friendships, or faith: if you haven’t shoulded on yourself your day is incomplete.
How many times a day do you use the word “should”?
I bet if you were to keep count, you’d be surprised at how often you use it. We use this word with respect to ourselves and to others.
First there are the morning shoulds. You should’ve gone to bed earlier. You shouldn’t have pressed the Snooze button so many times. You shouldn’t let your kids eat PopTarts for breakfast. You should build more time into your morning so the kids aren’t rushed leaving the house.
And we wrap up our day with the evening shoulds. You should’ve done the dishes. You should’ve read your kid that extra story. You should’ve laid out your clothes for tomorrow. You shouldn’t have eaten that second bowl of ice cream. You should’ve checked your email before you got in bed. You should get more done tomorrow.
Any of that sound familiar? Maybe this is why we get to work, or get home from the school run, and feel like if we don’t get coffee and sugar we might just die. Emotionally, we have beaten ourselves up to the point of needing comfort.
Whenever we say we “should” or “shouldn’t” do something, we are criticizing ourselves. That takes an emotional toll. That one word communicates a standard that exists and in the same moment, communicates that we are failing to meet that standard!
It’s time to let “should” go.
Try this simple experiment. Every time you hear yourself say “should”, rephrase the statement.
“I should’ve gone to bed earlier last night” becomes “I wish I had gone to bed earlier last night.”
“I should be balancing my checkbook every month” becomes “Ideally, I would balance my checkbook monthly.”
“I really should call the dentist and make that appointment” becomes “I will call the dentist and make that appointment.”
See what changes for you as you try this experiment. And then tell me about it! Because despite what social media and news try to tell you, you don’t actually have to “should” yourself in order to be a great 21st century mom!