Mothers are 100% harder on themselves than
any other person in our society.
In the last 20 years, the level set for motherhood excellence (or even mediocrity) has risen so high that most of us spend more time worrying about whether we are good enough than our mothers and their mothers ever did. My mom would let us sit in front of the TV during the summer to watch whatever would keep us entertained. This included hours of cartoons and binge watching Indian Jones when my dad was off work. We lived on Little Debbie snacks, chicken pot pies, and chips with ranch dip. Sunscreen was for the freckled and fair. My olive skin bronzed in the hours of sunlight day after day, all summer long.
Summer for the modern mom includes outings and healthy snacks that my childhood mother would find exhausting and laughable. Facebook posts about summer camps and activities start earlier and earlier each Spring. We want our children to learn and have fun and be entertained. We want them to make those memories that we still cling to when the concrete is scorching and the ice cream is dripping. The only time we had to bathe regularly and brush our teeth consistently was the week we spent at church camp. Outside of that week, baths and toothpaste were a waste of the glorious hours of summer.
Why have we succumbed to these crazy expectations? What is driving the mothers of today?
Should? We as women, mothers, and wives must stop “should-ing” on ourselves. We have “should” everywhere!
I should bake cookies instead of buying them.
Why? What bratty kids are you feeding cookies to? Who do you know that has cookie standards? A cookie is a cookie. (Also, a cake is a cake and a cupcake is a cupcake.) I decided by the 3rd birthday, when he was 3 and she was 1, that home-made-cake-stress what not going to be a thing for me. For heaven’s sake, I burn corn dogs . The people that live with me do not have high expectations regarding edible treats!
If you start buying early, your people won’t even know the difference. Last year, my type-A over-achieving child decided to bake her own cake because she really wanted a homemade one. My assignment was to remove the cake from the oven. Later that day we went to Brookshire’s to order a beautiful (edible) cake for her party. No shame. I’m not shoulding. And the party was a hit!
But if you bake cakes/cookies/cupcakes/sew/outfit match for the first day of school and dance recital and class parties and birthdays…..then BAKE! You do you! I’ll head to the grocery store.
I should _______ (fill in the blank).
I’m not talking about the mundane shoulds like grocery shopping, folding laundry, and wearing a bra. This should is the one you throw out mid-conversation to fight off the judgmental faces in your midst. Don’t should yourself for other people. Nobody wants your shoulds thrown at them.
My new friend (single mom who has grown children and a middle) said she and her co-workers go out on Wednesdays because that’s the only day that there are no sports or meetings or other time constraints on any one in the group. She quickly followed the statement with:
…..(her) But I should go to bible study.
…..(me) But do you want to or have one that you’re skipping?
…..(me) Then don’t should yourself. If you want to go out, go out. If you need down time/girl time/non-mom time and that day is working for you right now, take it. You can find Jesus or a bible study (or both) any day of the week.
I’m not sure if people think I’m super religious (please not that) or that our bible-belt-ness is so tight that there is a weight of obligation that goes along with it. But I do know that we need to stop placing expectations of behavior on other adults. Stop should-ing on others. It’s not polite.
I should stop/start…..
Stop: drinking, smoking, complaining, eating, napping (please not this either).
Start: exercising, cooking, putting out.
We, as mothers, are terrible should-ers because of all the ridiculous expectations that we put on ourselves and spread to those around us. Let’s just stock up on Little Debbie snacks and chicken pot pies for the summer like our mothers did. Stop should-ing on yourself and start living!