The kids are all in bed for the night. The house is quiet and the laundry is caught up on but all I can think of is all the things I should be doing. The dishes. The writing assignment. Sweeping.
There is always something to do. There are always expectations to live up to. The should be train of thought can, and often does, quickly derail into the should have.
I should have cooked dinner instead of driving through at McDonald's. I should have taken that kids to that free event on Sunday that I wimped out on. I should have gotten that picture schedule done last month, the kids would be doing better if I'd just done that. I should have finished that assignment before the due date. For that matter....I should have finished school the first time around. Or the second. And I should have come out of the closet ten years ago.
I don't want to live a life of should bes or should haves. Should is nothing but a burden. Just over a year ago, my life was ruled by should. I felt suffocated by it. At some point the should's of society and religion and family became the voice in my head. Sure, I bucked it sometimes, if it felt safe enough to do so. But there were many many times when I simply operated under the guidelines that I'd developed over the years of what a good wife/mother/christian/student/worker should do instead of what was best for myself or my kids or my sanity.
Don't get me wrong, we all have to live up to our responsibilities. The kids need fed and watered, the house needs cleaned, and if I want to graduate (finally) I need to do my school work. I'm not saying that I'm advocating abandoning your obligations. However, I'm done beating myself up over the little things I do or don't do. If I want to drink a white chocolate mocha that has as many calories as a full meal, and read a book that has nothing to do with schoolwork, I am not going to pay for it later in guilt. And I'm not going to beat myself up for the big things that are in my past. I can't change those things, no matter how much I wish I could. So laying in bed thinking about what I should have done won't do anything but make me sleepy the next morning.
There are things I can do, things I will do, things I flat out won't do. But maybe I'm kicking should out of my personal dictionary. And I'm going to sit here in the silence and do a bit of online window shopping and netflixing before going to be bed. Because I can. Guilt free.