I “should on” myself a lot! This is what I call it because I tend to feel like crap when I do it too much. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I “should” be doing this or I “should” be doing that. It honestly sucks because the result is that I too often prevent myself from enjoying the moment I’m in.
My hubby was away for the better part of two weeks recently. He wasn’t just a phone call away. He was literally across the world away with a time zone difference of 16 hours. However, life was continuing at home. Having no extended family here, I often struggle when he is away. After all, I still “should” be able to manage it all. I “should” be able to maintain the pace of getting the kids off to school, teaching full-time, making sure everyone stays fed, getting home to rush the kids off to their after-school activities or arranging for rides, blog once a week, and everything else that I tell myself I “should” be able to get done, right?!?
After all, the only difference is one person is out of the equation for a short time. I’ve heard people say, “Don’t have kids if you can’t handle the pace.”
Except I CAN handle it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel overwhelming on occasion and that I can handle everything each and every day. I especially struggle to handle everything when I am also busy “should-ing on” myself.
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Kids Have a Way of Clarifying What’s Important
It’s been cold here resulting in the kids having indoor recesses at school. I don’t know about you, but in my house the equation goes something like this:
Kids Indoors for Entire Days = Complete and Utter Craziness
Fighting and arguing over things that my kids would typically not fight over happens. Therefore, thinking it would help, I told my daughters they had to be outside while I was out for my daily walk. “It’s only for 30 minutes,” I exclaimed. I gave them the choice of walking with me or playing in the snow where I could see them.
One chose to walk with me. The other two chose to play in the snow. The problem? My 12 year old kicked my 8 year old in the leg at some point. There was no visible bruising, but the 8 year old was ticked! She was to play in a basketball tournament starting that evening, so I tried to lighten the moment by saying, “I don’t need to tell your coach you can’t play tonight due to injury, do I?”
My Daughter, walking alongside me without issue: “Maybe.”
I’ve said things like this before after hearing of an injury and it’s always resulted in smiles and immediate improvement. It is safe to say I was expecting her usual response. How did she respond instead? Well, she decided to up her game and improvise on her injury. Even though she was able to walk home with me with seemingly no issues other than complaining, this was not what continued on into the evening.
What happened? She decided she needed to start limping as we were walking into the gym for her basketball game… not just a little limp. No! It was a big, grossly exaggerated limp. “Dear Lord,” I thought, “Grant me patience! Surely this will end and she will forget about this act during the game. Just ignore it.”
No, I was wrong again! Somehow her limp continued to get worse. She could hardly even focus on the game. At one point, she even switched legs she was limping on. Yeah, it was bad! Thankfully, it was also out of character for her so I am hoping this means I never have to see this again!
My Immediate Reaction
While I secretly was freaking out inside wondering if she could somehow qualify for an Oscar with her outstanding performance, I decided this probably had a deeper meaning… one that I “should” listen to.
I was already “should”ing on myself that weekend. I “should” make sure my new blog post is ready. I “should” get more stuff done. I “should” have completed more projects during the week after the kids went to bed.
A Sudden Change in “Should”s
Suddenly, a bigger “should”
I decided to set aside all of the other “should”s and just be last weekend. There
Rather than follow what my head told me I “should” be doing, I followed what my heart told me I needed to be doing. I took 3 of my 4 kids to the home and garden show. Afterward, I picked up the other and took all 4 of my kids out for supper, celebrating something about each of them. It felt great honoring my heart and simply being present with my kids… way better than “should”ing on myself ever feels!
Support for Others Who “Should On” Themselves
I read an article once suggesting to approach tasks with the question, “Am I doing this because I want to or because I should?” If it’s because we should, then determine why we believe that and what will happen if we don’t do it. I have yet to implement this for myself, but think it may be time!
A few days ago, I came across the book The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna. I was intrigued by it from the moment I first read the title and opened it up. This book certainly contains a lot of thought-provoking points which I love.
I’m not sure how many of you watched the Oscars recently. I personally loved when Hannah Beachler exclaimed the following during her acceptance speech,
“I did my best and my best is good enough!”Hannah Beachler
After all, isn’t that what we all are doing?
I think we, as parents, all likely “should on” ourselves at times. Sometimes it motivates us to continue to move forward, complete projects, and get things done. Other times, it prevents us from enjoying the gift of the current moment we are in. I decided to change my “should” list last weekend and know it was the best choice for both me AND my kids.
So, in the future, should I miss publishing a blog post one week or other things I “should” be doing, please know there may be an internal struggle between my head and my heart involved. Sometimes my need to just be will win out and I’m more than okay with that. My internal struggle last weekend resulted in the creation of awesome, fun memories with my kids.
Is there anything more I “should” have been doing in those moments? Certainly, nothing that would have been as important. For this reason, I refuse to feel guilty that I didn’t get everything done that I planned to. After all, there is nothing I “should” feel guilty about in honoring my need to simply be. I needed it AND my kids needed it! It is just too bad that I needed my daughter’s exaggerated limp to give me that lesson.
How is my limping daughter today? Don’t worry. Her limp magically went away as quickly as it came. Perhaps my choice to be present with her had something to do with her miraculous recovery?
How About You?
Do you “should on” yourself a lot? If so, do you guilt yourself about it? How do you work through it? Please share in the comments below.