This Year, I’m Letting Go of the “Shoulds”

This Year, I'm Letting Go of the ShouldsA few months ago, I was listening to a delightful podcast called Forever35, and one of the hosts talked about things she was letting go of that someone somewhere has told her she “should” do. Later in the same podcast’s facebook group which I participate in because I am a podcast nerd, a huge thread took off as others listed their “shoulds” that they have or want to let go of. Things like wearing heels to work, wearing makeup, dieting, keeping their house tidy all the time, posting great photos on social media. You know, all of those things that society, the patriarchy, your mother, or maybe even your own inner critic tell you that you “should” be doing. 

As an enneagram 1, I have so many “shoulds”. We tend to think there is a right way to do things, even if it is just a right way we have made up in our heads, and that right way is the way it SHOULD be done. 

Part of my growth practice has been letting go of those “shoulds”. Asking myself, is this really important? Do I actually want to do it, or do I just feel like I have to? Some things I have been successful at letting go of are::

  • The need to wear regular pants every day {for years I protested that leggings are not pants. Then I became a mom who works from home and now LEGGINGS ALL THE TIME}.
  • Wearing makeup unless I actually want to.
  • Shaving my legs.
  • Feeling guilty when I use the TV as a babysitter.
  • Guilt about taking time for myself.

This new year, along with some goals for myself, I plan to choose some “shoulds” to let go of. Things like::

  • My house having to be company ready all the time.
  • Comparing my parenting to someone else’s. We all have different situations that most of the time aren’t comparable.
  • Feeling responsible when things go wrong.
  • Hoarding every gift card I get because I might need it one day. I’m spending those suckers.
  • Feeling embarrassed or shameful talking about things like periods, birth, or sex
  • Holding back my opinions in case I might offend someone.
  • Forced socialization with people I don’t really like or have a connection with.
  • Sorting clothes into lights and darks {if you wash everything on cold it doesn’t matter!}.
  • Feeling like I need to be DOING something all the time. It’s ok to just be.

Every time I do something I don’t particularly enjoy, I take stock. Is this something I really need to do? Or do I just feel like I should? If it’s the latter, that means it can go! Mamas, we are all busy, and we don’t have the time to do things just  because someone says we should. That time could be used for more important things, like self care, spending time with our partners, doing something fun, or snuggling a kiddo. If you are the person who struggles with New Year’s resolutions, maybe it’s time to stop focusing on starting new things, and start focusing on what you can stop doing instead.

What “shoulds” are you giving up? What is something that someone in your life tells you you should do that wish you could let go of?

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Lindsay G. was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, and she and her husband headed south to Spring in June of 2016. As a clinical social worker, she works full time with families growing their families through adoption. Lindsay met her husband John when they were both camp counselors. They welcomed their future little campers G in December 2017 and R in 2020. Lindsay is constantly reading, researching at least one new thing, and attempting to organize her life through bullet journaling. Her first book, Parent Goals: The Millennial’s Guide to New Parent Preparedness will be published in November 2021. In her free time, she enjoys binging Gilmore Girls on a loop, baking, and running in the Houston area’s beautiful parks. Check out her website for parenting prep, support, and more.


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