Fall is all about letting go. Even the leaves are letting go of their branches for that glorious wind-swept tumble to the earth.
Something that keeps coming up for me when I think of letting go is the word should (and her sister shouldn't). I hear it - and used to say it - all the time.
"I shouldn't rock my baby to sleep"
"I should cook more"
"I shouldn't give up my career for my kids"
"I should be able to do it all without help."
"I shouldn't need to ask someone else if I can take a shower."
"I should enjoy playing with my kids more."
In working with so many families and seeing all of the diverse and wonderful ways to do this whole parenting thing it's made me get really curious about the "shoulds." Especially as they relate to being a mom and raising children.
So when I hear myself (or someone else) saying "I should..." I've learned to stop. To think about where the message behind that statement is coming from. Is it realistic? Is it a true belief I have about myself or the situation? Is it an "expert" or a friend or relative's voice in my head? Is it the patriarchy???
If I've learned one thing over the years of doing this work it's that we all struggle - with how we're parenting, our changing identities, the upheaval in our relationships, and more. And one of the things that makes it the hardest is that there's no right answer. One of my favorite examples is this sleep article. When presented with all the options, we really can't win.
Unless we tune in.
To what we need and what our children need.
Sure, we can listen to "experts" and friends and well-meaning grandparents, but it's incredibly important to spend some time thinking about ourselves, our own values, and how we want to show up for ourselves and our kids.
What if someone told you that you CAN rock your baby to sleep? That you can order takeout or reheat a frozen meal every night? That you can work outside the home or care for your kids full time, or anything in-between?
And what if that person was you?
And that no matter what you choose you are still WONDERFUL and WORTHY.
We'd love to hear a should or shouldn't you can get curious about - and maybe let go of! - this week.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.