Let the confessions begin. Seriously… If there is a woman out there who has never struggled with boundaries or felt guilt in setting boundaries, I’d pay for her autograph. And I’ll buy a door-sized poster.
As women, most of us were raised to believe that with setting boundaries and saying no, we would take the risk of hurting other people’s feelings, being left out or abandoned, losing a relationship we value, or having someone get angry, confrontational, or disagreeable. These beliefs makes life… and motherhood a little tougher on us, don’t you think?
With that being said, let me just say how much I love being a woman. I like everything about it… Well maybe I don’t “like like” the monthly cramps, but I do embrace them because, hey, they are part of the process.
What I love the most about my femininity is the fact that God designed many of us to be gentle, soft, nurturing, comforting, and tender. That’s why boo-boo kisser is a very important assignment in our “job description.”
The issue at hand is that in the journey of love we have embarked, we at times forget we cannot be everything to everyone – all the time – but we desire it.
This mindset causes us to end up overwhelmed, drained, burnt out, overstressed, and depleted, and to lose ourselves in the process, to the detriment of our family life.
Unfortunately, setting boundaries is not a skill most of us were taught or learn the easy way, but the good news is we can learn to master it.
What Are Boundaries?
A boundary is a limit that clearly defines what you let in and what you keep out. Boundaries allow us to take care, protect, and defend ourselves.
Boundaries can be physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, financial… and affect all areas of life.
[Tweet ” “Good fences make good neighbors” ~ Robert Frost #boundaries #mindsetformoms #selfcare #balance”]
I like Robert Frost’s statement: “Good fences make good neighbors,” because with that visual, it is easier to understand what boundaries are and why setting boundaries is so important in motherhood.
Boundaries are like the fence around a property – it tells you “this is my property,” and tells your neighbor “that’s your property.”
Why is setting boundaries so important in motherhood?
When you have healthy boundaries, you take responsibility for your life and allow others to live their own.
- Without boundaries, we create dysfunctional relationships
- Firm boundaries allow us to define how others may treat us
- Setting healthy boundaries is a way to discover our true self
- Healthy boundaries help us live a more joyful and balanced life
- A lack of boundaries makes us feel powerless, resentful, unheard
- Clear boundaries are a sign of self-respect, self-care, and self-love
- Setting boundaries allows us to exercise our personal freedom
- A lack of boundaries can lead to a frantic, chaotic, overwhelming life
- Limits help us grow into the sane mom we were meant to be
- Boundaries help us be more Christ-like
In Luke 5:15-16, for example, we read how a whole multitude of people came to be healed and to hear him speak, but he withdrew himself to pray. He said no, he told truths that people didn’t want to hear, he gave guidelines on how he wanted things to go, and even when he performed miracles, he asked for the recipient to do something in advance to show their faith. You have probably also heard what he did to the men who were misusing the temple, right?
When a mom sets boundaries in her life, she models this for her children. Boundaries are essential to parenting and setting healthy limits for our children will help them stay safe, learn, and have joy.
As you can see, setting clear, firm, healthy boundaries is a proactive step in improving the quality of your life – and the quality of life of those around you.
Oh and about that, when you set a boundary and it is not well received, very often it’s not the boundary that is an issue, but how that person perceives that boundary, because of their own unhealthy issues.
The people in your life who are emotionally healthy will not only respect your boundaries, but celebrate you for setting them, because they value personal freedom.
The question is, as a mom caring for several people who constantly come to you for answers, solutions, and support, how do you do that without feeling guilty and drowning in drama?
I have developed a 5-step process to help you set clear, firm, healthy boundaries without feeling guilty that can help!
How To Set Clear Firm Healthy Boundaries Without Feeling Guilty:
- See it: recognize what makes you uncomfortable and identify your standards… learn more…
- Study it: examine why it needs to be set and what is at stake if you don’t… learn more…
- Say it: setting boundaries take lots of practice (sometimes out loud, in front of a mirror lol)… learn more…
- Share it: the boundary is not set until properly communicated (after many #3s)… learn more…
- Seek Support: find an accountability partner to help you in the journey… learn more…
[Tweet “Elayna’s 5 steps to a healthy clear firm #boundary: see it, study it, say it, share it, seek support. #mindsetformoms”]
As I learn more about boundaries and give myself permission to be more selective of the people I share my time, my energy, and my personal space with, I am saying YES to respecting, loving, and taking care of myself. I am saying yes to be the best me and the best mom I can be.
I have learned that I am not meant to do it all for everyone or to be a people-pleaser. I have a purpose, I have stewardship over specific people and resources and I must focus on those, and eliminate the distractions that may hinder my ability to do so. It’s been a freeing journey, but a journey, nonetheless – one that I’m still on and will probably be on the rest of my days.
Will you join me?
What boundary do you need to set or strengthen and how do you choose to set it? Share it with us in the comments below.
PS. This is the first post in my “Boundaries In Motherhood” series. Stay tuned!