Stop Saying “Should”


I used to say the word “should” a lot. I had the constant feeling that what I was doing at the moment wasn’t good enough. I thought things like:

“I should be cleaning while the baby sleeps.”

“I should be reading more.”

“I should exercise.”

“I should set up a playdate.”

These statements put so much stress on me.

As moms and as women, we believe that there is always something more that needs to be done when in reality, there isn’t. If you’re tired, take a nap when the baby sleeps. You can clean later. If you don’t feel like being social yourself, don’t set up a playdate where you will be talking with another mom. There’s always next week.

My greatest takeaway from therapy was to eliminate the word “should” from my vocabulary. This word feels like a parental figure over your shoulder causing increased anxiety. It often comes with guilt and shame. We worry about what others think of us, especially as moms. For me, it increased my anxiety when I used this word because I felt the need to get it done as soon as possible, even if I was busy with something else that really was more important.

My therapist suggested I replace it with “it would be nice to” or “I could do that.” Just replacing that word took off a lot of the weight I was feeling from believing I needed to be doing something. It helped to reassess my priorities to decide if something was really worth doing in my eyes, rather than doing it because I felt others expected it from me. I felt a weight come off my shoulders when I would catch myself saying “I should” and immediately changed it to “I think I would like to do that.” This s-word has almost become a swear word in my head because I know what it does to me. I think it would be a good idea for all of us to stop saying should. You might notice a decrease in anxiety and the feeling of being extremely busy.

Most things are just nice to do, not required.

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Kayla Ward
Kayla has lived in Southeast Idaho all her life, growing up in Shelley, going to school in Rexburg, and now living in Idaho Falls. She is married and mom to a sweet little boy. She has a degree in child development and loves working with children, but especially loves being home with her own child. She loves spending time reading, running, sewing, and laughing. Her family loves spending their summers in the mountains camping and going on rides in their side by side. Ever since having her little boy she is in love with talking about birth and motherhood and loves hearing other women's stories.


  1. Thanks, Kayla. As your 81 year old grandmother, I endorse this post. I am going to try to follow this advice. Grandpa would attest to the fact that I never sit down without jumping up within minutes saying “I should ————–“. A friend once asked me if I ever just sat down and relaxed and watched a movie? NO I always think ” I should ————“.I had never thought seriously about it until this well written article from Kayla. I will do better !!!!!

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