Being a mom and having boundaries seems like an oxymoron. After all, you have a desire to help your child. When you see your child in need, you try to give him or her what they need. So if they need a hug, you hug them. If they need food, you give them food.
As a mom, you give so much. Is it possible to have boundaries and still give your child what they need? Absolutely! Here are three steps you can take to balance boundaries with being a good mom.
Step 1: Make Time for Yourself
You may think your husband or children should be able to read your mind. They should be able to come to you and say, “Do you need some time off from me?” Sure, this would be nice! But your husband and kids don’t know how to read your mind. It’s your responsibility to take a break, initiate making time for yourself. If you’re a single mom, enlist the help of family and friends. Many churches and support groups offer help to single parents.
Does it seem selfish to spend time away from your family? Try changing your perspective. Because if you don’t take time away from your kids, you will end up depleted and discouraged. When you help take care of yourself, you are taking care of your kids. Have your own time that’s scheduled just for you—it will refill your tank.
Step 2: Establish Rules and Routines
By nature, children are chaotic beings. They don’t have structure or organization—so parents need to create it for them. One of the responsibilities as a parent is to create a schedule and decide who does what when and what activities will be part of the family structure.
For example, you might make a rule that after dinner clean up happens before the next activity starts. It becomes a routine and part of being in a family. Your kids will learn household chores, and learn the value of participating and helping out.
Step 3: Allow Consequences to happen
As a mom you may become the resource for everyone in the house. If someone forgets their homework and calls from school, they assume you will drop everything and drive it over. Or, if a chore doesn’t get completed, the teen may assume they can go on to their activity regardless. This is the part of boundaries as a mom that gets tricky. It can feel ‘easier‘ to just do the thing and avoid the conflict. However, in the long run you will discover you are actually training your family to think you will do whatever needs to be done no matter what.
As you learn to let your yes be yes and your no be no, the consequences of their actions will teach them. Focus on the goal of having responsible children who grow into capable adults.
Learning about boundaries in your life will help you have peace and healthier relationships.