Playing the Should Game

Mom!! I want to be the boss! I wish you weren’t the boss!

IMG_4259It feels like I hear this exclamation at least once a day, but I’m sure it’s less frequent. Our strong, independent daughter is figuring out ways to be autonomous and doesn’t like hearing redirection.

I wish it were that easy – I am the boss of this house! and everyone just did what I asked. That never happens. The thing with about raising humans is that ultimately, my girls are their own bosses. I can suggest and give consequences; I can guide and give expectations but their choices are their own.

Sometimes I play the should game. I should have clearer boundaries; I should be stricter; I should say yes more; I should be on the floor playing rather than writing.

Here’s the thing with should. It’s a no-win game. Sometimes should prompts me to reprioritize but it’s usually rooted in guilt rather than best practices. Sometimes should helps a situation or reframes a power struggle but it’s usually as a last resort.

So, I’m trying to take a step back and recognize our family’s own best practices. What are systems I can put into place that dispel the struggle before it starts? I know that if we start the day with a quick snuggle (no matter how tired or grumpy I am) and then quickly move into some sort of protein-rich breakfast, the rest of the morning goes smoothly. Instead of saying, We should eat breakfast first! I’m saying, I know my family is happier when we follow this pattern.

It’s a small shift in phraseology but it’s a big shift in mindset. Maybe I should practice this more often.

How do you reframe expectations? Is there a time you found a shift in phrasing a situation has changed your perspective?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “should.”