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« When Does Discipline Start? | Main | Stop "Shoulding" All Over Yourself »



I should play and cook more with my kids. And patience is definitely a should for me, too.

Mama of 2

I like you know that patience isn't something that I do very well. I make an attempt but alot of the times fail miserably. I like your idea of structuring things so that goals are attainable and less stressful.

My shoulds....
play with my older son more often.
read to my 1 year old.
enjoy every day for what it is instead of what it wasn't.

juggling mother

Have more structure in my days/weeks. I know kids need structure & repitition & regular activities, but I find all that sooooo boring. With me, they have to learn how to go with the flow & that it doesn't matter if you miss a class here and there:-)


Mary P. I see these struggles in people close to me and I have a very hard time articulating to them the feeling and meaning of what you have posted.

We are who we are, there are reasons and excuses, when we except ourselves, warts and all, that is when we can begin grow and learn.

An honest assesment of strength and weakness provides a guideline when interacting with the children. When you are aware that the end of the rope is close you can negotiate a safe landing. When the rope slips out of your hands and you didn't see it coming, that presents a problem.

Your last paragraph "Life is a process of gradual maturity"is so true. It fails to mention that everyone starts that "process" at different points on the maturity scale.

Fails to mention is too strong, but the starting point is the reason that some "shoulds" are unattainable.

The fact that "shoulds" are attainable for some and not for others is a reality that I think is directly tied to the place we start in life, why do we start in different paces? I believe reincarnation.


What a perfect post for the type of day that culminated into the type of evening I shared with my children, that sent me crying onto the patio feeling like a completely useless mother.

My shoulds? I should stop expecting so much of myself. I should spend more time with my toddler and not leave him to play by himself so much just bc I'm caring for my twon-month old. I shoud not take things so personally. I should find a better way to cope with things.


When one becomes a mother, it seems the "shoulds" are born along with the child. SHOULD I stay at home or SHOULD I work? SHOULD I breastfeed or SHOULD I bottle feed? SHOULD I sterilize that pacifier that just dropped in the dirt or SHOULD I just rinse it off? SHOULD I use a pacifier???

Motherhood presents many opportunities to feel many obligations-- often influenced by the outside (i.e. other moms, family members, society's unwritten rules), and with those obligations, guilt is not far behind. Being a people pleaser and a perfectionist (to a fault), I knew I would be prone to feeling guilty and obligated. However, one hits the ground running once one becomes a mom, so there was no time for me to waste thinking about the implied "shoulds"-- I had a very critical job to do, and that was to raise my children.

It wasn't until I became a mom that I realized how very difficult it was to raise kids. And, if it was so very difficult (and rewarding and tiring and fun and challenging) for me, then I am sure it must be the same for every other mom out there, staying at home or working, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, etc. How wonderful would the world be if we (society) realized that, and instead of projecting "shoulds" on others, we are encouraging and celebratory of each other's personal successes based on their own "shoulds?"

Now, this is not at all to say I don't have my own "shoulds", I do, but they are my own "shoulds"-- they never go away for a perfectionist. However, as a mom of young children, I have to stick to the task at hand, and be confident that MOST OF THE TIME I am doing right by my children... as the mom next door is doing right by her children.

To Kristen, Mama of 2, Juggling Mother, and especially Jennifer, I have no idea who you are and what your situations may be, but if I may be so bold to say, I think you are already doing a fantastic job (you ARE reading a parenting blog to learn more!!), and while you have mentioned your "shoulds", take stock in what you have already accomplished so far! Motherhood is an already extremely challenging road, there is no sense in not encouraging each other to keeping going!


I should have more patience and understanding. And each day I do. Parenting is a process, like you say. It all gets better with time.

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