I don’t think it is just a “mom” thing or a “woman” thing, although I do think that mothers are susceptible to the “should epidemic.” I know how often I feel that pressure. I recently had, as Oprah would call it, 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 in that many of you out there also juggle wearing different hats. I sometimes find myself 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.”
The Should List.
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 anymore.
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 a damn good 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 that it all comes down to comparison. If you weren’t comparing your life to someone else’s you might not have a should list. Mothers especially have a should list that they feel will bring them closer to being the “right” type of mom. You know, that one we see on social media.
I started taking Facebook breaks and 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 anyone else’s. As my sister says, Don’t wallow in your own suckery.
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 exhausting and 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 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. It looks like this: 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. My list goes on forever. I made these things so real and concrete, and yet everyday I was failing at them and giving myself a reason to feel bad.
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.
Theodore Roosevelt has one of my favorite quotes in the whole world: Comparison is the thief of joy.
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 own 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. Let it be how you made a kick ass cup of coffee, you brushed your teeth, you walked the dog.
Don’t Should on Yourself!
Rachel Pastiloff: A Manifesting Mom ®.
What is a Manifesting Mom?
When I became a mom in 2007 I had no idea of the ride I was in for with my children or my life. I had no idea that my son would be diagnosed with a rare and incurable genetic disorder. I had no idea that shortly after the birth of my second child the economy would collapse, and we would be some of those who were hit hardest. I had no idea that my health would completely side swipe me and leave me feeling helpless and scared about the future. I had no idea of the many things that have occurred over the last nine years, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.
I go back to the original question. What is a manifesting mom? A manifesting mom is the woman who gets up out of bed and faces the day everyday, knowing that it will be filled with immense challenges. A manifesting mom has the ability to love all those around her, even though she has given every ounce of what she has left inside her. A manifesting mom will cook a meal for her family with love, even if it is made with limited resources in a tiny kitchen. A manifesting mom sticks it out with her partner when times get rough, faced with the unknown she still stays strong like a rock. A manifesting mom takes her health into her own hands, she takes back her life even when the doctors tell her it’s a forever diagnosis. A manifesting mom can be any mom, single or married, old or young, rich or poor. She is in charge of her life. She is inspired, she creates, she loves, and most importantly she lives.
Rachel Pastiloff is a native of Philadelphia/South Jersey. After years of living on the West Coast, she transplanted to Atlanta, Georgia from Berkeley, Ca in 2006. Rachel is a mother with 2 young boys, ages 6 and 8 years old. In 2009 Rachel’s oldest was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome. The following year her son was diagnosed again with Autism. Both of these events would help shift the direction of Rachel’s life. She began her path with health and wellness to create a better life for her family. It then became her passion. Rachel became a certified yoga teacher in 2012 and is a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Health and Wellness Coach. A life long lover of food and cooking, Rachel helps her clients get back in the kitchen and enjoy it. She is helping people have a new relationship with not only food, but also their personal health and wellness. Her work can be seen here, on her own site A Manifesting Mom and on Positively Positive. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org to work with her. She is also on Facebook. She leads intimate group cleanses and detoxes. More information below.