Back when I was married, and battling infertility to realize my dream of
spending 18 hours in labor, and popping out two kids consecutively, the first without pain medication JUST FOR FUN, people felt compelled to shove well intentioned advice in my general direction at every turn. In the supermarket, at restaurants, especially at Target. Anyone ever ask you about the state of your vagina in the purse department of your favorite department store? No? YOU HAVEN’T LIVED.
Many theorized on why I couldn’t get pregnant, and opined on what we “should” be doing instead. You should relax, you should take a vacation, you should stop trying so hard, you should try harder, you should see an acupuncturist, you should take this as a sign from God that you should just stop trying because maybe you’re not meant to be a parent. I stepped in giant, stank piles of should everywhere I went. Then, when I finally DID get pregnant, and subsequently miscarried…let’s just say, if I had a nickel for every time someone alluded to the universe weeding out my baby because of some defect, that I SHOULD be thankful because the alternative would be awful, I’d have a pretty healthy pile of nickels to dump in a sock and smack people upside the head who found new and ingenious ways to should all over my life decisions.
Let us not speak of the diarrheatic flow of shoulds when one is blessed with healthy twin babies.
Now that I’m divorced, I find myself back in a giant minefield of smelly should pies. I should be thankful I had a husband to begin with. I should take solace that I have the company of my children. I should not be dating. I should enjoy my alone time. I should just stop being so sad and miserable. I should pray for a new boyfriend (yes, that’s a real thing actually said to me, a human being, by another living person, with a pulse, and no, we’re no longer acquainted), I should just be alone for awhile (awhile is apparently a vast, vague, indiscriminate amount of time), I should just date a 20 year old, I should try speed dating, I should stay OFF Tinder (wise advice), I should stop trying so hard to find a relationship, I should know, like when I was trying to get pregnant, that when you relax a bit, THINGS HAPPEN. What are these coveted THINGS I’m missing? Are they parties? Will Jon Hamm be there? Can I dress up? Should I wear heels? Is Jon Hamm tall? Because, those are things I really SHOULD be tending to. Otherwise? Bugger off, y’all.
When a well meaning should-er takes a should on my life, he is basically saying, “Hey. I see there what you’re doing. It’s shit. But! I know better, and here’s a better idea of what to do, so you go do that and we’ll both feel better, mmmmkay?”
You’re rolling your eyes and thinking, “But! That all sounds so harsh! My advice that you SHOULD move to a yurt in the Mongolian mountains to raise your kids and never text another man ever again because penises are trouble WAS good! And sound! And well intentioned!”
Like the road to hell, you say?
Listen. We all should our pants at some point or another. Occasionally, those shoulds spill over onto our friends and family or other innocent bystanders. I get that. But, being on the receiving end of as much should as I have SUCKS DOG BALLS. Regardless of how well meaning your intent, it inevitably leaves the should-ee feeling really bad. How about not doing that, or at least making a concerted effort to do that less. Which will free up so much time! To do more productive things! Like, learning the Ukelele! Or, watching videos of babies getting glasses and smiling at new found vision! Or eating delicious Popeyes biscuits!
Tl;dr, when in doubt, MIND YO BUSINESS.