The “Should” Monster

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Tired of that awful voice in your head telling what you ought to do? Here's a brief portrait of my "should" monster—and how I'm ready for him to shut up.

Notes from the “should” monster that lives in my head … I should get up earlier and get a good breakfast on the table for my family so Monkey does not eat in the car.

I should get up earlier so I can exercise for longer than I can during my lunch hour.

I should stay up later to do household chores.

I should stay up later so I can have some time to myself.

I should not take time for myself because there are meals to cook and chores to do.

I should get more sleep.

You get the picture.

Contradictory and ever so mean, the “should” monster rears its ugly head several times per day. At home, at work, and even in the car, I do not seem to have the ability to escape this mean guy. Truth be told, I think I am a pretty great mom, but that does not stop me from having the “should” monster interrupt my self-back-patting with the “should” that tells me I am deficient as a mother. Heck, sometimes this fella tells me I am just deficient as a human being.

I do not know how many times per day the “should” monster visits, but it is many. I do not currently have any solutions to exorcising the “should” from my mind. Sometimes, I probably gain something from it, as it pushes me to do better and more of it. I wonder, though, if my focus on the “should” results in stress that prevents me from doing the can.

I should find some time to add more to this post.

I should stop saying should.

Lauren Reid

Lauren sometimes admits that she is a lawyer, but she mostly likes to talk about being a wife to her college sweetheart and a mother to two amazing little boys, born in 2009 and 2012. She has often considered leaving the oh-so-glamorous legal life for the Washington Ballet for all of the times the men in her life keep her on her toes.


  1. My mom used to say to me “don’t ‘should’ on yourself” 😉

  2. I thought to myself, I should respond to this post because it’s perfect and I love it! And I did.

  3. When the “should” monster appears, I ask it: would I tell someone I love they “should” do this? We are always more critical of ourselves and more understanding of others. That’s the “should” monster’s bread and butter.

  4. I am definitely plagued by the should monster all of the time. I have not managed to shake it.

  5. This hits home….i say should waaaaaaaay to much!!!!

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