There are always ‘shoulds’. My list of ‘shoulds’ look like this
– I should be tidier
– I should clean the oven
– I should be more calmer
– I should eat healthier
– I should do some meditation before bed
– I should exercise
I could go on but I am sure you get the picture.
When it comes to being a mother I also have a long list of ‘shoulds’, from the way I parent to what sort of mother I am. This is in part why I have come on this trip. But where there are ‘shoulds’ there is guilt. What I have come to realise is that ‘shoulds’ only make me stressed out. They are on some level an expectation that I have placed on myself because I deem myself inadequate or because I am trying to live up to anothesr expectations of what it means to be a ‘good’ mother, wife… person.
This leads to all sorts of trouble. When I place ‘shoulds’ on myself its like I develop a kind of background stress. I am not fully present with the kids and I become shorter with my response and sometimes unjustified in my reactions. I’ll give you an example to make it clear.
Cleaning. I am envious of every person who never has dishes on their bench or in their sink, a clean toilet and beautifully folded clothes. I am not talking about spending a hour or so prepping for house for guests, I am talking about actually living like that. Day in and day out. I know I should be that way. I feel the older, much tidier generation of mothers watchful eye on me, always critiquing the way in which I keep my house. So I try. I try really hard. But when I end up shoving the clothes in the draw because the kids are screaming or I run out the door with a sink full of breakfast dishes, I feel guilt. I should be better, I should be cleaner, I should…..
By living with ‘shoulds’ and feeling guilt over not obtaining those ‘shoulds’, my threshold for everyday inconveniences increases. When Rocket throws his undies he is about to put on in the air and it lands in the dinner, my response to that is not in perspective. I am already thinking of the ton of dishes and washing I have to do so that I can have a clean house, so one more just makes be mad. But really. Its just some undies in dinner. He was having fun trying to catch them… In reality it is quite funny.
‘Shoulds’ lead to guilt which lead to background stress which leads to out of perspective responses.
So I have been dropping my ‘shoulds’. Getting comfortable with being judged as a untidy person. I guess I would rather be an untidy person who laughs often than a clean one who is always stressed.
In the end it is getting comfortable with myself. Getting comfortable with myself and how I choose to do things as a mother, a wife … a person. Being ok with who I am.
Once you drop the ‘shoulds’, you find out what you are willing to change. Willingness to change comes out of personal growth and challenge which leads to excitement and joy, not from ‘shoulds’ and guilt. That is where I am and that is how I am choosing or willing to live.
I would love to hear from you: What ‘shoulds’ do you feel like you need to do that don’t serve you?