I’ve already talked about healthy boundaries in motherhood, so this post will go into how to actually keep those boundaries.
Fridays are not for me.
When I was younger, Fridays were like So Fun and Exciting and, “Oh dear, oh my, whatever would I get into?“
Now, Fridays come… and I’m So Done and Over It.
I get into nothing except bad moods and funks.
Last week I realized, I hit my limit by Friday. My limit of only being around kids, not being around adults, and be completely in charge of all kid supervision. 4 full days of it without much reprieve is my limit. If I want to be a mother who is coping well and in charge of herself without resorting to yelling at the drop of a hat… I’ve got to be purposeful.
I’ve got to note my limit and guard it.
How To Live Within Your Limits & Hold Your Boundaries
Ultimately, no one else will help us figure out our limits or boundaries. No one is going to show up on a white horse and give us back our mental health or help us guard it. This hard work is our own to do.
So how do we do it? Let’s dive in!
Accept Your Boundaries & Limits As They Are
It’s very important that we don’t fool ourselves with our limits and boundaries.
Boundaries and limits are not what we WISH were true, they are what is ALREADY true.
- I could survive on 5 hours of sleep.
- I didn’t care if the house was a mess.
- I was gentle and patient regardless of how I am feeling.
- I need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
- I Absolutely Cannot Stand a messy house.
- I am short tempered and irritable when I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or tired.
So you see…. we can’t live as though our wishes are our reality. I must be wise and accept my limits and boundaries as they already are.
Create Routines That Reflect Your Limits
An easy way to protect your limits is to create routines.
If you know what your limits are, you can create daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly routines that’ll help you remain healthily within your limits. Sure, sometimes life happens, but if you regularly protect your limits, before you know it…
Life is not nearly so stressful.
How might this look in real life? Let’s take my limit as an example.
By Friday, I am over it. I have no patience, no margin, and no tolerance for anything.
I can protect my limits through regular routines. A few I’m currently implementing (or considering) are these:
- Friday morning workouts in town with friends. This gives me my extrovert kick and feel good hormones.
- Fun Friday traditions outside the house like field trips, going to the park, etc. By the end of the week I’ve been at home all day every day with the kids doing school, life, work, etc. I can plan to do something fun and out of the normal.
- Thursday evening alone time. I’ve been discussing with my husband if I might do something regularly on Thursday evenings that refresh and revive me.
- Awareness and prayer. Being aware of this limit is often enough to help stop me from overreacting or doing / saying things I regret.
Create Rules That Reflect Your Boundaries
With boundaries – or fences that say “You’ve come this far, but you can come no further” – you’ll want to create Rules that reflect and protect these.
You can’t expect your kids to know what does and does not drive you crazy inside. Actually, based on what makes you yell or cry or freak out… they probably have a good idea already.
In order to live sanely, you have to make your boundaries walls, then make rules to protect these walls.
Note: some of your boundaries might be rules… e.g. no hitting is both a boundary and a rule.
Examples of Rules Relating To Boundaries
➡️ Boundary: You think people should clean up their own messes.
➡️ Rule: People don’t leave messes for others to pick up. Everyone cleans their own room and helps clear common areas.
➡️ Boundary: You want regular time with your spouse nightly.
➡️ Rule: The kids must be in bed by 8:30 p.m. at the latest.
➡️ Boundary: You don’t like disrespectful backtalk.
➡️ Rule: The kids can share their thoughts and feelings without an “attitude” or disrespectful tone.
Know It’s YOUR JOB To Hold These, Not Everyone Else’s
This is very important.
It’s a really really good principle to grab hold of. You will be amazed how much more in control of our own life you feel when you really get this deep down.
We can’t expect others to naturally respect or consider our boundaries or limits… we must protect and hold them ourselves.
It’s not anyone else’s job to know our limits and stop us before we go Over The Edge. IF ONLY! This is both relieving and discouraging. It’s great because it means if we protect our limits then we’ll lose the stress. It’s discouraging because it means we may have to disappoint others and step on toes.
It simply can’t be avoided.
What This Looks Like:
- Purposeful Family Rhythms | Your own family life can’t be unsustainable or super stressful to you. You are the one who is supposed to direct the flow of the family. Your limits and the limits of your spouse must take precedent to daily, weekly, monthly, yearly activities, etc.
- Rules That Reflect Our Values | If your kids are habitually behaving in ways that go against your deep values and boundaries you will be extremely distraught, stressed, bitter, and angry. There is hope! You can’t control everything your child does, but you can create rules with built in consequences that help your children learn to succeed in doing what you expect of them.
- You Realizing Others Don’t Care As Much As You Do | We can’t just set rules and forget about them. The truth is our KIDS will forget about them unless the rules are walls and we are actively enforcing them. If we expect others to obsess over our rules we will be disappointed and angry a lot. Instead, we just need to swoop in when necessary to keep that boundary respected.
- Saying “No” And Disappointing Others | There will be plenty of times you must choose between living within your limits and pleasing others. You’ll know inside if you’re acting selflessly or just trying to avoid conflict or disappointment.
This isn’t easy, far from it, but when you start feeling the relief and peace that comes from living within your limits and holding firm on your boundaries, you won’t go back!