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There was a time when making dinner was something I had to do. It wasn’t a choice.

I believed it was what a good mother and a good Indian wife ‘should’ do. I also believed I should do the dishes before relaxing in the evening. And some other ‘shoulds’ were, keeping my house tidy at all times and arranging social catch ups every weekend.

A ‘should‘ is an unconscious rule we play in our mind of what we can and can’t do and what we should and shouldn’t do. It dominates where we place our focus, time and energy.

As a working parent, shoulds can hold you back from spending time with those important to you, like your partner, because the chores need to be done. They can keep you spending precious hours on the weekend, cleaning your home before guests arrived so that it looks ‘presentable’.  They can mean you fill your weekends with social activity leaving little time to be present with children.

None of these things are wrong in themselves, however when they are not a conscious choice and being done on autopilot, there is a strong possibility you may not prioritising what’s really, really important to you.

As working parents, we are striving to operate in a smarter way. Auditing your list of shoulds can help release mental energy and help you focus your time and energy where it matters most.

“You have to decided what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly-smilingly, non-apologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.” Steven Covey

Of course there is the practicality of certain things need to get done to have a functioning household, however, when you feel aligned and connected with what’s important, these things usually find a way of taking care of themselves.

Shoulding is at Level 2 on the Parent as Leader scale.

What is on your list of  shoulds?


Parent as Leader Scale