‘Should’ free zone. By Joan Markwell

‘Should’ free zone. By Joan Markwell

Should we stop using should? Yes we should.

What a terrible word. Who would have though such a strange little, seeming harmless word could in fact inflict so much guilt, shame and heartache on mothers everywhere.

  • I should be…
  • We shouldn’t be…
  • He should be sleeping by now…
  • She should be on the bottle by now…
  • He should be better at breastfeeding…
  • I should know how to…
  • At 6 months shouldn’t they be…
  • At 12 months she should…

Good grief, it’s horrible to see the power of this little word reduce intelligent, thinking, responsible, mature women to tears and misery on a daily basis. There is no should. Sure, there is a basic guideline that some midwives, doctors, paediatricians or (insert other “expert here”) have put together for new mums to refer to and ponder in the wee hours of the morning when baby isn’t doing whey he/she “should” be. But really? When did we stop listening to our gut? When did we stop using our own process of deduction and instead immediately google everything to find ‘the’ answer and another ‘should’ to try to live by? Its exhausting to think about, let alone live through.

I really urge you mums – be kind to yourself. Try, really try to rid this awful, insidious little word from your vocabulary and life. There is no should. The notion of should is directly implied from and tied to someone else’s experience or opinion, not yours. By all means, listen to friends, or valued people in your life, but please avoid adopting their should’s into your life. It doesn’t help and it sure as hell won’t make you happy on those big dirty stone days. (You know how it goes – some days are diamonds, others are big dirty great stones).

I get to see these days in my work role and have very mixed feelings about it. First and foremost I feel very privileged and proud that I have provided an environment that women feel they can let it out, be themselves, ask for help and seek some comfort or reassurance from other women. Secondly it rips my heart out as I feel their pain and wish I could do more to help. Thirdly I wish and encourage women on these days to just take a deep breath, ignore the shoulds and do whatever they need to do for themselves to get through that day.

If baby needs to be held, sometimes it helps to just go with it. Forget what you had in mind that you “should” do and just make a cuppa, sit somewhere comfy and get through the next hour, afternoon or evening. If the pram works, just pop bub in and go on an adventure. If baby passes out in the car, pull up under a big shady tree, recline your seat and have a sleep yourself. You would be amazed how much better you feel after a 20-30 minute power nap.

Keep water, a book, nappy change, spare clothes, wipes, food anything your need in the car so whatever arises you are both comfy and happy as can be.

Honestly some of my most refreshing naps were in the car. Aircon in the summer, nice warm sun in the winter, what’s not to love about that? My number two was a shitty day sleeper at home but get her in the car and bam. I had some great little spots that I knew so would just make a beeline there and pass out for a bit myself. I’m sure an expert would tell me I ‘shouldn’t’ have done that but it worked for us. We both got some much-needed shuteye and more importantly Katie got a much better version of mummy afterwards. I am not very patient, rational or calm when sleep deprived.

Whatever you need, work out how to get a dose of it on those stone days. Ask friends, training buddies, your mum, other family, but stay off the net and don’t listen to shoulds.

Joanx

Pin It on Pinterest