Are you ‘Shoulding’ all over yourself?

How often do you want to do something for yourself, but you feel guilty so you ignore your initial instinct and do another email or tidy the dishes instead of reading the magazine you had your eye on?  Well, take five minutes now (guilt free on us!) to read why we believe, it’s time to put yourself first!

I would love to but

It really strikes us how much we beat ourselves up and pile on the guilt for having time to ourselves. There isn’t a day that goes by when we are speaking to the women we meet when one of them doesn’t say, “I would love to have more time to myself, but there’s always something I ‘should’ be doing so I feel guilty!”  If the emotion of guilt didn’t exist, I think women would be void of emotion about 80% of the time! We almost seem to thrive on it sometimes. Why do we do that to ourselves?

It’s all in the ‘should’

There is something about the word ‘should’ that really rubs us up the wrong way. It’s a bit like catnip when our clients say it - we sort of pounce on it and get our teeth into it straight away - because it’s a big red flag that they’re doing something they don’t actually want to do.  If you don’t want to do something, there’s a strong possibility you’re either going to be ineffective doing it or go at it with a really bad energy - which isn’t great for you or the people around you. You may as well replace ‘should’ with ‘I’m going to do it half-heartedly and with an attitude’..! Which is what it amounts to!

For the love of lists

Let’s face it, we have to accept that we live in a society and time when there is always something to do. There is constantly an endless list of stuff that we think has to be done.  To add to the problem, we think the stuff has to be done by us, because just to make things even more difficult for ourselves, we mostly foster the view that our way is the right and only way of completing any task on that list. So let us give you some examples from our world that we have had to have a word with ourselves about...Nobody else schedules our diaries just the way we like it.  The husbands don’t do the laundry quite right (unless you like everything dyed the same colour!). You can’t have the cleaner see how bad the bathroom is or how messy you are so you clean and tidy before she comes to clean and tidy. Yep - it’s not just us, we see you!

It gets worse

Not only do we actually drive ourselves crazy with the control-freak nature of our insistence to do everything ourselves, we are also exceptionally good at adding other things onto the never-ending list of things to do as we like to punish ourselves further! And if anyone suggests or offers help then of course we refuse it. We can’t have anyone think that we aren’t in control - right? We are Wonder Woman after all...So the chances of proactively asking for help are less than zero.


Our bet is that what you’re doing isn’t upping your happiness quota, isn’t making you feel good about yourself, isn’t reducing your stress and isn’t reducing your anxiety! Are we right? Don’t answer, we know already.  

We hear you

We know, we know - we can hear you screaming at the screen (if you’re still with us and haven’t decided to stop reading because you’ve already decided that your lists are too important to change!) that it’s not that easy, stuff needs to get done, if you don’t do it nobody will, the kids will starve, everyone will be wearing grey and unironed clothes and your diary will be carnage..! Basically, if you don’t do the list, it’s Armageddon right? Apocalypse. End of the world style horror.  Society goes into a meltdown.

Reality check

All we are saying is, there is a balance to be had. You can make some small choices in your day to day life to make it a little easier on you, you can choose to put yourself to the top of that crazy list that you live your life by. You can worry less about what you think other people think of you and more about doing some stuff each day that makes you happy. Because what we know for sure, is that we set the tone. If we aren’t happy at home, then the kids, the partner and everyone feels it.  It leaks out. So all this running around, frazzling yourself and feeling guilty isn’t really kidding anyone that truly matters. Ask them. The numbers up!

Case in point

I was busy tidying, cleaning and generally doing the thing that many women do where they feel like a failure if they sit down before 9pm at night as it means they’re lazy, and my son who was five at the time said, “Mammy, you’re always doing something.” He said it in a fairly neutral way so I asked what he meant - he replied, “Well you’re always doing something to make the house look nice for us when you’re not working.” So then I said, “I do like it when the house is nice and tidy, but what would you like me to be doing right now Kaleb?” and he said, “Well I don’t mind you doing that but it would be nice if we had a snuggle with the blanket and watched a cartoon together.”  How do you argue with that?

What really matters

Our point is, that you can get really hung up on doing all this stuff. Sure some of it does need to be done but how much of it is habit, is us being perfectionist, is us not delegating effectively and is us not asking for help? How many things on that list of yours bring you joy? How many things in your diary this week will make you feel good? How many things in your diary are a priority for you instead of someone else? How different would your day look if you approached it thinking that you would only do stuff that makes you happy - what decisions and actions would be different?

Find your balance and drop the ‘should’! Make yourself a priority too and make guilt a thing of the past. The reward you will have on feeling happier and more fulfilled will be the biggest gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones - and that’s great role-modelling.

You deserve joy.

Love and hugs,

Donna & Cheryl

Hollie ClarkeComment