Don’t “Should” on Yourself

Many of you will read the title of this blog and immediately know what I am talking about. I don’t think it is just a “mom” thing or a “woman” thing, although I do think mothers are prone to the “should” in life. I know I feel that pressure and that is where this blog came from. It was really as Oprah would say, my “a-ha” moment.


What if I let go of all the “should” in my life?

I am a mother, a wife, a health coach, a blogger, a friend, a sister and a daughter. I am no different from you.  Many of you out there also juggle wearing many hats. I sometimes find at the end of the day saying things to myself like, “I should have gotten more work done” or “I should have cleaned the house” or “I should have gotten to the gym” or “I should have not yelled at the kids this morning.” I don’t know who writes the should list. I don’t know where it originated. I just know that I am often shackled by this master of all lists that I need to be checking off everyday. I find that the should list leaves me feeling defeated, less than, and often times as if I have failed.

I don’t want to feel like that. I won’t feel like that!

What would my life look like if instead of my should list I celebrated everything as a victory, instead of focusing on the should  list that I didn’t accomplish.

I declared yesterday the first day in my victory revel.

I got out of bed, I am magnificent. I got my children out of bed and fed them breakfast. Yes, I am awesome. My kids got to school with clothes on, socks and shoes and underwear that isn’t on backwards. I am a superhero, yes it’s true. I kissed both of my kids goodbye and told them I loved them, I am on fire today. 

What if that is all that I did that day? What if that is all that I was capable of accomplishing?

When you see everything as a victory it takes away from all your perceived failures. I am still the most amazing mom, even if at the end of my day I could say that was all I did that day. I can still feel that my day is complete. When I go to sleep tonight I will think to myself, I did such a great job today at what I was able to accomplish, and not feel a sense of shame from what I feel I should have done better.

The bottom line is, it all comes down to comparison. If you weren’t comparing your life to someone else’s you might not have a should list. I think mothers especially have a should list that they feel will bring them closer to being the “right” type of mom, the one we see on social media. I started taking FB breaks, it feels really good. Do you ever feel sad or lacking after you scroll through your news feed? Do you think oh I “should” do more of x, y and z like Susie Q. I know I did. That is a huge contributor to my “should” list.

What if you only worried about your own life, not your life in comparison to your friends or family? What would that look like? How can you compare you life to another? Only you are walking in your shoes? Your life is unique, your children are unique, your situation is unique. You can’t compare snowflakes and you can’t compare your life to somebody else’s either.

I am the mother to a neuro-typical child and a special needs child. One of the biggest pitfalls in my life has been comparison with my special needs child. Even when you try not to do it, you do. I compared him in his younger years to his typically developing peers. Then as he got older I started comparing him to his special needs peers. Then comes the worst part, when I started comparing myself to the other mothers. Spending countless hours everyday thinking about all the things I ‘should’ be doing for my son, the things I ‘should’ be doing better, or what I ‘should be doing next. It is so exhausting, and honestly depressing. Every time I ‘should’ on myself I take a little part of my soul away. I take more of my happiness away and replace it with a feeling of regret and insecurity. I know so many of you can relate. I hear the same thing from so many mothers I know. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, this type of self sabotage sees no distinction in your age or class.

I created this imaginary should list in my head. I should be at they gym 6 days a week. I should be able to shuffle both my kids to their activities with a smile, even though I am exhausted. I should be able to handle the stress of PWS, because its been 8 years already.  I should finish 2 books a week. I should not ever eat anything bad for me, and my list goes on forever. I made these things so real and concrete, and guess what everyday I was failing at them and giving myself a reason to feel bad. That just sucks, and I was ready to be  done with all that.

I decided to stake my claim on my life, no more should and a whole lot of victories. I decided to stake claim on my “snowflake” and not worry about what the rest of the world is doing. I decided to not “should” on myself anymore.

This is one of my favorite quotes in the whole world


I want to challenge you all to do the same. Where in your life do you sabotage yourself with your “should” list? Where do you compare your life to another?

I challenge you to write a list of all your victories for the day. At the end of the night I encourage you to read them to yourself. As you settle in to bed enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and sense of self-worth.

Wayne Dyer talks about the how you spend the last five minutes of your day. What you think about in those five minutes is what you will marinate in for the next 8 hours while you sleep. Let it be about how victorious you were in your day. Let it be about how amazing you were in your day.

Don’t Should on Yourself!

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