Drive By “Shoulding”

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to watching “Sex and the City” episodes. My husband bought me the entire collection for Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago, and I have worn it out.

In one episode titled “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”, Carrie Bradshaw poses a question at the end of one of her newspaper column…”Why are We “shoulding” all over ourselves?”

Maybe I am the only one who can relate to this question on a daily basis, but have you ever found yourself saying, ” I should…(fill in the blank)?”

Today for example. I started with my normal routine, feed dogs, make tea, read blogs, and as with many other days, I started with the “I should’s.” I should go out, I should go shoot some photographs, I should go see that movie I wanted to see, I should scrub my floors, I should do some work on my car…and it goes on and on.

Why is it so difficult for me not to feel guilty about just doing what I want to do, instead of what I think I should be doing? I know that as a homemaker my choices for my day are much less regimented than most folks, and this also makes me feel guilty. Why all the guilt? Why do I feel I should be doing more..always more than I am actually doing?

I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to appear a certain way in society. When women find out I am “just a homemaker”, I feel I have to justify it, defend myself. Why? Do they think I should be doing something more now that I am not raising children, or do I just think that is what they feel? Most importantly, why do I care what they think?

This is what I call a “drive-by shoulding.” It really has nothing to do with me or my life. It has to do with preconceived ideas of what constitutes a “full” life, a driven life, an accomplished life.

Yes, I lead a small life. I am a throwback to the 50s. I cook, clean, shop, pay the bills while hubby is on the road working. Do I wish it was more sometimes? Yes, there are days I wish I had more variety in my life, more activity, but I can choose to increase those things if I want to, but is it a true desire on my part, or is it just another way of “shoulding” on myself? Do I feel I should be doing more? Am I not valuable enough if this is all I ever do?

How much of what I want in life is led by true inner desire, and how much is based on expectation of others and society? I honestly don’t know, but in the meantime…I am going to take my dinner out of the oven, go sit comfortably in my bedroom and watch some more “Sex and the City” episodes. Maybe I’ll go see that movie tomorrow, or maybe not. Who cares?

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29 comments on “Drive By “Shoulding”

  1. IMHO simple living is the best. And being a **full-time** homemaker and raising children is 24/7/365 that takes a special personality. I’ve heard some moms with full time careers admit they couldn’t handle it. Never personally been in that position, but I’m not sure I could handle it. So just think of your current position as being in semi-retirement and enjoy – you’ve earned it. 🙂

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  2. We are so much alike it makes me smile. I’ve raised my kids, did the 8 to 5 working thing, and am now am a housewife. I do ‘should’ sometimes. Do I do it because I feel guilty though? I’m not so sure. I like pushing myself a little. If I’ve gotten 3 ‘big’ things done in a day’s time, I feel that I’ve done enough and I can look at myself in the mirror and smile.

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    • I lean more towards the hundred “little” things I get done ha ha…but it’s all good. There was a bubbling hot pot of chili on the stove when hubby got home from working on a roof all day, so yeah, I did my “job”. 🙂

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  3. My whole life has been one of “shoulds”. I’ve worked for the past 40 years and always felt I should be doing more at home. In fact, I always wanted to be a homemaker. Now that I’m working only part time I feel I should be figuring out a way to earn more money. Crazy, isn’t it? I have to try every day to ignore the “shoulds” and do what I want. Life is too short not to do what will make us happy and fulfilled. 🙂

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  4. Ha – often I feel like I “should” leave my current job and pursue something totally new and exciting (be a full time writer!). We all do this to ourselves, and I’m sure we all project our insecurities onto others and decide they are judging us for our choices. Makes me think of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie goes to a baby shower and someone steals her Manalo’s – her friend dismisses her concerns and she starts to judge and question herself and her life choices. Then she realizes ‘screw it’ and she registers for more shoes at Manalo! The show is brilliant. You SHOULD go watch it some more! 🙂

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  5. As a literary blogger, I think it is important for everyone to make their own decisions and express them through blogging. No one should judge people for the choices they make without understanding. This is such a true post!

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    • Thanks so much! I think a lot of the judgement I feel may just be my own insecurities, though I have been “attacked” into defending my life. I appreciate your comment!

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  6. Kim, I understand your thinking others are judging you for being a stay-at-home wife. Actually, most women would give an eye tooth to be able to do that. Those who don’t “should” get their nose out of your business! Ha Ha!

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    • The thing is Joy…that it’s more of me just putting these expectations on myself I think. Yes, there are times I feel I am being judged from the outside, but more often it is all in my own head.

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