Do or Do Not … There is no SHOULD

Sorry, Yoda, I am bastardizing your words. Mostly because I totally disagree with your version: Do or Do Not, there is no Try. Of course there’s a try. Everyone should try, I’m sure even young yoda had to try learn to print his name at some point … if a three fingered green, somethingorother even uses a pencil.

I digress.

I despise the would should.

I should go to the gym.

She should go to the gym.

I should do the laundry.

She should do her hair.

I should get going.

She should stop worrying.

It’s a word that says “I know what the right thing to do is, I am just putting it off” or “I know what the right thing to do is, and she’s not doing it”. It’s a word full of judgment and procrastination all in one. And women are particularly good at wielding it as a weapon, either at ourselves or at others.

As I read the article Killing off Supermom this morning (and associated comments) I could only sigh deeply.

Just WHY do we care so much about how others choose to live their lives? And why do we go searching for affirmation that we’re doing it the “right” way? I’m not innocent of this, far from it. I’ve wrung my hands a few times over decisions regarding my kids, but I try very hard to phrase the internal question without any shoulds.

It’s not “should I send my son to a private, expensive school?” … it’s “is there a better alternative for my son, one that will help him be more successful?”

It’s not “should I make my daughter go to soccer when she clearly doesn’t want to”, it’s “ok, what choice are we making today and what am I teaching her with this choice?”

I think one of the reasons there’s a proliferation of women’s magazines and articles and web sites and blogs to debate the shoulds of being a woman (or a mother, or not a mother, or a working mother, or or or or …) is that for some crazy reason, we look to society to tell us what we SHOULD do.

What’s the norm here? What choice can I make right now that looks normal and will make my path easier?

And it’s such a disservice to ourselves and each other.

Asking advice and seeking counsel from others is a great thing. I wish everyone had a BFF or an amazing mom to pepper with questions when the going gets tough. If you don’t, you can search out and cultivate those friendships in your support group of choice: church, the PTA, the community garden association, the gym …

But take ownership of your own life and don’t ask someone what you should do with it!

Instead of “what should I do?”, ask “what is your opinion on this choice I have?”. Just phrasing it differently helps you own the choice. No one is telling you what to do, you are making a choice. Society isn’t telling you what to do, you are choosing for yourself.



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