We all do it, don’t we? Walk around feeling guilty about what we “should” be doing instead of focusing on all the things we actually are doing?
Yeah. I think everyone does it, but you know who SHOULDs on themselves the most? Moms.
The SHOULDing starts right away. Pregnant? I SHOULD probably stop drinking wine (LOL, kidding, you really should stop the wine,) I should have a nursery full of all the newest and most expensive baby products prepared for baby’s arrival, I should have a natural, unmedicated birth. I should breastfeed. I should sleep-train. I should co-sleep. I should pump until my nipples fall off. I should be feeling healed and better from my 24-hour traumatic birth 3 days later. I should have lost the baby weight by now…. It literally never stops. And then, it just gets worse.
As baby starts to grow, society (and instagram) can easily chip away at all the layers of the paint color aptly named “all the things I’m doing” and roll over it with a new, cheaper color called “but you should be doing…”
I SHOULD have introduced solids by now, I should have done baby lead weaning. I should do a different sensory activity every day and I should NOT ever let my child watch Sesame Street. My baby SHOULD be crawling or walking by now. I should be preparing healthy meals daily with foods cut into shapes so it’s both nutritious and educational. I should never feed my child store-bought pouches or macaroni and cheese. I SHOULD go back to work… I should provide more for my family. I should be able to juggle work and kids and excel at both. I should do the laundry every day and keep the house sparkling clean. I should have the massive house and chef’s kitchen and brand new SUV.
I should, I should, I should. But I don’t.
In reality, you know what you actually should do? Stop SHOULDing on yourself. Take a step back and look around at all of your accomplishments. Are your children fed and loved? Yes. Do they have a safe place to call home? Yes. Do they have a mother that loves them unconditionally even though she’s tired as hell? Yes. Do they eat nutritious yes. Do they eat microwave hot dogs? Also yes.
You’re doing more than you think you are mama. Stop comparing yourself to other mamas who seem to “have it all” or “do it all” because chances are, they’re shoulding on themselves for something else. We are our own worst critics, so be kind to yourself. The work you’re doing is amazing and just what your family needs.