Saying Goodbye to the Soul-Crushing “Shoulds”


Dumping the “Shoulds”: Things I Am NOT.

Saying Goodbye to the Soul-Crushing Shoulds | Des Moines Moms Blog

My friend Katie wrote this wonderful post four years ago, and it resonates with me to this day. There are times when I find myself aching with the guilt of the things that I feel like I should be doing.

  • We should be spending more time outdoors. Our family doesn’t hike. Or camp. Or fish. My strong dislike for humidity and my rapidly skyrocketing fear of catching the Zika virus has me firmly planted indoors until someone comes up with a cure or a vaccination.
  • I should be making sure that my coffee is sustainably sourced and ethically harvested. Or perhaps I should just not be drinking such large amounts of coffee period.
  • Sensory play! We should be doing more sensory play! What is that again? Something with rainbow rice or cloud dough? I have a whole Pinterest board full of that stuff.
  • What’s the difference between early colonial and arts and craft? I have no house style mojo. I should know this stuff.

Saying Goodbye to the Soul-Crushing "Shoulds" | Des Moines Moms Blog

Okay, so that is just the mini list of my everyday things I feel badly about. We won’t even touch the fact that the only time you’re going to catch me running is if I’m on fire or a rabid dog is chasing me.

Moving On: Things That I AM.

I’m organized and am good at organizing. If you need a party or a project broken down into manageable steps, I’m your person. I’m a do-er, a completer. You can count on me. I recently put together a baby shower for a friend and it was wonderful. I return all of my preschooler’s forms on time to his teacher.

Which leads me to my next item: I will probably not invite you over for a play date unless I’m really desperate for adult interaction. My house is small and I have two children and a husband who are hoarders. One of my children likes to drop all of her food and milk on the floor. And one VERY HAIRY cat. I know the Biblical value of being a good hostess, but there are very real size limitations to my house.

BUT, if you invite me over to your house, I will bring you food and will of course not see your pile of laundry in the corner. My eyes are blind to laundry and dust bunnies. Obviously, otherwise my own house would have driven me to the brink of insanity by now.

I should have better taste in music. I’m fairly certain if you ask my son what kind of music I like, he would tell you Taylor Swift and something by Adele or Justin Beiber. I have Top 40 musical tastes and I can’t deny it. I can’t tell you about any up and coming artists or name anything indie rock. It’s just not in me.

BUT, I’m really well read. I love literature and fiction, and in another life I would have been a librarian. I love to read. Your shopping lists are interesting to me!

I can’t do anything related to numbers. I just can’t. Back in college and high school when I worked as a server in restaurants, I’m pretty sure there were nights where I paid the restaurant for my work because of my inability to make change.

On the flip side, I’m really good at remembering details about your life. Where you grew up, where you’ve worked, where you went to college. Small talk is my jam.

Find the freedom in embracing what you are not and the comfort of knowing the things you are good at!

After I gave myself the permission to say no to the life draining things I think I should be doing (hello — I cannot host a birthday party of 25 five-year-olds in my house), I found myself in a much better place emotionally. God did not wire me to be good at everything, and that’s FINE. Maybe someday I’ll swing back into the mode of being a better hostess, but someday is not today.

That is the freedom of knowing what I am NOT and saying adios to the soul-crushing “shoulds.”

Saying Goodbye to the Soul-Crushing "Shoulds" | Des Moines Moms Blog

What “shoulds” should you be saying goodbye to?

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Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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