The Unwritten Mom Code


We stayed in our pajamas until 11. Well, I stayed in mine. They had halloween costumes arrive in the mail, so they spent their hours as “Anna and Spiderman.” It seemed I had somehow managed to get absolutely nothing accomplished in our previous hours awake. I looked around at my place and thought of all the housework I should catch up on. I looked at my computer and saw all the photos that still needed editing. We didn’t have anything left in the fridge.

I saw all the to do’s of the day…

Instead, I grabbed a couple of apples and scraped the last of the peanut butter onto five last pieces of bread. We hopped onto the bike and headed to the pumpkin patch, to do nothing for the rest of that morning but play.

I should have done housework.

I should have bought more peanut butter.

I should have… you fill in the line.

But who decides our shoulds? What is it about motherhood that suddenly creates this list of ought to’s…? Is it us? Is it some unwritten mom code of requirements that we all somehow know and cling to? So often I hear us speaking of all we need to get done. The to do lists that reach the floor.

I often feel this pressure. Failure. The “never enough” dilemna buried in the momma’s heart. But as I threw those peanut butter sandwiches into the back of the bike carrier; as I somehow felt the thrill of leaving all the “shoulds” back home, I wondered: what is it I really should do…

I looked back at the two of them, sitting so quietly behind me. Taking in the excitement of where we were heading. “Pumpkin patch!” they would yell every so often, throwing their little hands into the air.

And as I rode on, I made my list…

I should eat lots of peanut butter sandwiches, and my house should always be somewhat messy. I should always be at least two steps behind in life, because I am ‘Mom.’

I should throw my hands up in despair often. And then I should look and smile at the dirt in their nails. Because life has no time for manicures, but plenty for toddler adventures.

I should always laugh more than I frown; not take myself so seriously. Not take life so seriously. My days should be filled with kisses and tickles and forever messy faces. Because tomorrow can worry about itself, but today will be gone by then. 

These are my “shoulds,” my “ought to’s.” And as I watched my two take in the magic that is called the pumpkin patch, I remembered why a peanut butter sandwich tastes so good. Why my life is so good. And why we all need to remind ourselves often of our lists of “shoulds.”


8 thoughts on “The Unwritten Mom Code

  1. I love this! It is sometimes hard for me to relax when I see my should do’s but as you said, our babies are only little once and I love seeing my 14 1/2 month old smile and laugh as we play and make memories. The dishes can wait.


  2. This is amazing. I know that ache, I somehow always have so much to do that I don’t have tine for the most important thing: time with my daughter. What a great reminder to take a look at our priorities and make some changes!


  3. Aw thanks for making me realize how lucky we are to be Mommies to our little ones. As a working mom like me, I always have my to-do lists and I easily get disappointed if I have not get it done. But this post reminds me that they are only kids once, and we need to attend to their adventures. Anyway, the dishes, laundry and the messy floor can wait. Thanks Sasha! Keep inspiring.


  4. Love this! It is so easy to get caught up in some sort of to-do list that is never truly caught up and forget to stop and take time to just enjoy the two little bodies I have been blessed with. I often say that they only have one childhood in reference to some of the big picture things that I want to enjoy with them. Sometimes I forget to apply that concept to the day to day activities as well!


  5. Such an Amazing post. I found myself thinking as I was reading this “Has she been spying on me???” This is sooo my life right now, and I so needed to read this. Thanks so much for sharing and reminding me that I make the “shoulds” in our life ❤ ❤ ❤


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