The Self-Talking Should’s of Motherhood

It’s probably something many of us do, and without a clue. I know I am definitely one. It wasn’t until a while after I became a mom that I grew some kind of awareness of this topic, and it’s something I try to remind myself of when traveling along my personal journey to not only increasing my own self-compassion, but as I am striving for authenticity (or, ”being real”) as well—both as a mom and a person.

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The truth is that I’m not perfect. It’s easy to say, “well, nobody is perfect.” But until we truly resonate with how such simple words translate into our own lives and live in our psyche, it’s practically unconscious and can affect us in many ways, one of which is through the subtle self-talk of the should’s.

I’m surrounded by moms. Moms who are wonderful, inspiring, and unique in all of their special ways in all their different lives. But moms who, with many differences resonating, time and time again all engage in this type of self-talk that leaves me concerned (especially since I know I’m quick to engage myself!). What is concerning about this word “should” is that it establishes that unattainable expectation of ourselves and of our experience of motherhood. When in actuality, life doesn’t always deliver what those should’s lead us to believe.

As those plans do not go accordingly and almost effortlessly, we can become confused, disappointed, let down… and probably mostly within ourselves. Because well, it should have gone otherwise since we had already established that from the get-go. We persevere nonetheless when we learn build up resilience, but raising our own awareness of what we tell ourselves is always a good idea.

Here are some of the self-talk should’s I encourage us to become aware of as moms, and hopefully, by realizing we do say some of these things to ourselves and by adding your own to this list, we can develop more self-compassionate and realistic statements to replace them with.

I should be able to do it all- the kids, the house, the cooking, the job, etc.

I should be happy while with my children every minute.

The baby should be sleeping by now.

Breastfeeding should be easy.

My child’s birth should have gone as planned.

I should be able to fit back into these jeans.

My newborn shouldn’t be this difficult.

I should be able to keep my kids from arguing with each other.

My in-laws should know better.

My husband should know better.

My kids should know better.

These are just a few on the limitless list of the self-talking should’s of motherhood that sneak us into the danger-zone of disappointment and out of the realm of self-compassion. What are some of your own should’s?

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