That’s right. You heard me. Stop shoulding on yourself.

“I should have said this instead of that to my child.”

“I should have been more patient.”

“I shouldn’t have raised my voice.”

“I should have talked to my partner about the way they handled that situation with the kids.”

“I should know better.”


And a special few for our behavior analyst moms out there:

“I should be able to handle this. I deal with much harder things at work.”

“I shouldn’t overreact. I know better.”

“I should know how to do this better. Why is it harder with my own kids?”


So stop shoulding on yourself. Just stop. Stop it!

Whew. Fixed that problem.

Wait- what? The “shoulds” didn’t just stop ‘cause I told them to? You can’t just go with the “only think good thoughts” route and magically be a peaceful and calm parent? Whaaaat?!

I know, I know.  Telling ourselves to stop the shoulding and mom-guilt is easier said than done.

Try this little exercise with me. Don’t think about lemons. Do not think about how juicy they are. Do not think about how yellow they are. Do not think about the sour taste. Do not think about the face your child made when they first tried a lemon when they were little bitty (so cute!). Do not think about lemon juice, lemon cookies, lemon muffins, lemonade. Do no think about how lemon juice stings a paper cut. Do no think about the smell of fresh lemons, especially on a warm summer day.

So what are you thinking about right now? You’d better not say lemons. If you say lemons…


Have you tried doing this in real life though? Pushing away the negative thoughts and all those pesky shoulds about what kind of parent you should be? How does it work? Can you make thoughts just go away? Poof! I wish.

Striving to be a more flexible, responsive parent takes practice.  We have to first learn how to notice our thoughts, accept them, give them space, and then let them be. Then we can have the grace to move forward as we give parenthood our all.

A major piece of learning to be a more flexible parent is this: noticing your thoughts. All those shoulds? Notice them. Make room for them. Let them be. And then we can move on with our busy parenthood lives, but this time in the way we want to.

So go do all that. Good job! See ya next week!


Spoiler alert: Noticing thoughts, making room for them, and letting them just exist isn’t easy either! We can easily end up back to trying to not not think about lemons!


Is there a way to make this easier? Yes.

Does it take guidance and practice? Yes.

Can I help you with that? Also yes.

Start here: Just notice your thoughts. Try this sentence starter:
“I’m having the thought that….”

Whatever random thought it is, just notice it.  Hear it. Recognize it.

I encourage you to do this when the stakes are low. When the thoughts are lighter, easier, and less stressful. We’re working on a new skill, so we want to start in the shallow end of the pool.

Try habit stacking.

Add the sentence starter “I’m having the thought that…” when you are doing something routine or mundane. Notice your thoughts while you are brushing your teeth, waiting in the carpool line, loading the dishwasher, getting ready in the morning, waiting on that much needed cup of coffee, waiting for your child to go to the bathroom / fall asleep/ finish eating/ put their shoes on/ whatever it is that takes them such a long time to do, so you’ve got a spare moment… or twelve!

This gives you a chance to begin practicing Acceptance and Commitment Training.  We are working towards slowing our brains down, noticing our thoughts, accepting them, and then having the space to mindfully choose how we want to move forward.  We are creating the opportunity to become more flexible, confident parents.

This takes practice and guidance.  It takes determining goals for ourselves and for our family.  It takes learning how to take steps to meet those goals.  I’d love to help you with this.  You deserve it.

Inside the Bx Mom Collective, we are working on Parenting with Acceptance and Commitment Training. We are learning how to be more flexible parents. We are practicing together how to slow things down, notice our thoughts, and make space for ourselves to actually the opportunity to choose what kind of mom we want to be instead of feeling like we are in the busy mode of always putting out fires and overreacting to things.

Join us in the Bx Mom Collective this week if you are a behavior analyst (or in a related field) while also being a mom. There’s finally a place just for you. The Bx Mom Collective is still open for you to join, but doors close on Monday night, 2/27, so don’t wait! Learn more and sign up now while you have the chance. Check out the Bx Mom Collective here!

And if you are a parent looking for support as you work towards showing yourself more self-compassion while learning to be a more mindful and flexible parent, I’m here for you! Set up a free coaching call to learn more about how you can become the parent you want to be. Book your free coaching call here!