Life is full of shoulds. Once kids enter the scene the enormous pressure those shoulds bring is suffocating. My children are now 2.5 and 1 year old. In the few short years I have been a mom I have been drowning in shoulds. I should have a perfectly organized house at the end of each day. I should have fresh, well rounded snacks at the ready regardless of where we are at any given moment. I should know every detail of each stage of development and encourage my children in the appropriate activity to ensure they are reaching every milestone on time – or a little early.
These shoulds aren’t limited to the kids. I should be perfectly put together every time I leave the house. I should be unfazed by tantrums and take everything in stride. I should be an active part of my community and make a positive impact on the greater good every day. I should continue to be a well rounded adult bursting with well articulated ideas that stretch beyond child-rearing. In short, I should not be just a mom.
Articulating all of the shoulds swimming around my brain makes the entire situation seem laughable. Sadly the realization that I am living in a world of shoulds is very recent. In the past year I have suffered through postpartum depression and a complete loss of identity with the joy in my kids as my only stronghold.
I have made a commitment to myself that I will no longer think in should. Rather I am looking at life through a new lens. Instead of feeling that I should do something, I am asking what is my intention behind that action. I am looking at the world from the inside out, not the outside in. Will this serve me and my family? Can it meet my desired outcome? And more so, is that outcome truly my genuine desire or does it meet a notion of who I think I should be?
My story is not unique, but I hope that by sharing my journey and returning to Mrs. Siri I can create a place for others to evaluate and shrug off their shoulds.