Handling the “Shoulds” of Others: A Guide for Working Mothers

12 Jun, 2024 | 2 min

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Finding peace as a successful career with the demands of family life can be challenging, especially when you’re handling the “shoulds” of others. These expectations often stem from generational or cultural differences and can impact our confidence and mental health. Here’s how you can manage these expectations effectively and maintain organization and peace in your life.

Understanding the Impact of Others’ Expectations

External expectations can significantly affect our mental health and confidence. Often, these “shoulds” come from well-meaning family members, friends, or colleagues who may not fully understand our unique situations. Recognizing why these comments hurt and addressing the underlying feelings is the first step towards managing them.

One of my clients, who worked from home, felt unseen when her partner questioned her daily activities. By understanding her feelings, she communicated effectively with her partner, leading to better understanding and support.

Real-Life Client Stories

  • Client A: One client declined moving to a larger, more demanding property, knowing she couldn’t handle the extra workload with her growing career and family. This decision, while difficult, was a crucial step in managing her mental load and maintaining balance.
  • Client B: Another client learned to respond calmly to her mother’s strong opinions on house management. By maintaining respectful communication without necessarily agreeing, she managed to keep the peace while staying true to her own needs and capabilities.

Strategies for Managing External Expectations

Identify the Pain Points

Recognize why certain comments hurt and address the underlying feelings. Understanding the root cause of your discomfort can help you respond more effectively.

Communicate Effectively

Having open discussions about your needs and boundaries is essential. Clearly articulate your feelings and explain why certain expectations are unrealistic or harmful.

Setting Boundaries

Learning to say no respectfully and set clear limits can help protect your mental health. It’s important to prioritize your own well-being over meeting others’ expectations.

Embracing Personal Empowerment

Empowerment comes from within. Building confidence to prioritize personal needs over others’ expectations is key to finding peace as a working parent. This includes self-reflection and open dialogue, as well as celebrating your progress, no matter how small.

Call to Action

Reflect on your own experiences with handling the “shoulds” of others.

How have they affected your life, and what steps can you take to manage them better?

Consider exploring personalized coaching to navigate these challenges and find harmony in your life.


I’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you handle the “shoulds” of others? Reply to this post or book a consultation to start your journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling life.



Career Mum Coach | ACC Executive Coach

Meet Tania!

With three energetic kids under six years old, I know what it’s like to have to juggle your career goals and desire to be a good mum. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping working mums manage your time in the best way, so you can spend quality time with your kids and still find the courage to go after what you want in life.

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