If you’re anything like me, you’re four kids and eleven years in and just now thinking of setting boundaries for yourself. If you are also like me, it may seem like it’s too late. But luckily for you, I never listen to myself and neither should you.
When’s the best time to set boundaries as a mother
Anytime! Seriously. Things change. Having a six month old crawl all over you may have been cute before but now you’re like, no ma’am, and that’s okay. Or maybe your husband grabbing your butt every time you walked past him used to be super sweet. But now, after a long day of your children groping you you’d rather he didn’t. Still okay. Anytime is a good time to set boundaries. It’s part of self care.
Can you set boundaries as a mother in a nice way?
Yes, of course you can! The key is to not look at it as taking something away. Instead what you’re doing is getting something back. You are getting your self love back. By setting boundaries for your children, husband, whomever, you are saying I care about and love myself enough to voice when I need to be left alone. Because ultimately, those around us who love us just want us moms to be happy; mentally and physically. This is a step in that direction.
Okay, you’ve convinced me, but what do I say when setting boundaries?
As a mother, setting boundaries can seem a little overwhelming or evening daunting. Take me for example, my four children are used to crawling on, sitting on top of, coughing in and licking my face literally whenever they please. And I’m not even going to start on my husband. So how do you start the conversation? By just talking. Seriously, it’s that easy.
Now, don’t wait until you’re completely touched out and ready to explode to start the conversation. No, instead try it when everyone is just hanging out. Here’s an example.
One Saturday morning all four of my kids, two dogs and husband were all in bed with me. I could feel myself getting annoyed by the constant contact I was getting. So I spoke up and it went something like this.
“Hey babe, I need a little space. Anyway you can take the kids into the other room? Or I can get up if that’s easier but would you keep the kids in here with you? ”
Now of course my kids whined as I got up to walk away and asked if they could be with me, and this is where I got creative. I started saying my daughter’s name over and over again while tapping my oldest on the head numerous times in a row. Eventually they both asked me to stop. From there I used that as an opportunity to explain that what they were just feeling is exactly what I had been feeling all morning. To which they quickly told me to have fun in the room by myself.
But what happens when I set boundaries and they break them?
Children are human. Setting boundaries as a mother who has never done so before isn’t just new to you, but it’s new to them. So give them the same grace you’d want if you forgot something. Just explain to them that mommy has set these boundaries for her body and she would appreciate it if you could respect them. For smaller children something similar to “mommy needs to sit over here by herself for a few minutes, can you play over there to give mommy some quiet time,” may work.
All and all setting boundaries as a mother doesn’t have to be this horrible thing for anyone. It’s all about your perspective. Take calm moments throughout the day to remind your children of why you have boundaries, why they should have their own and how it helps us all stay mentally and physically healthy in the long run. And for partners the same conversation but with more adult words should work. Just remember not to wait until it’s too late or you’re too over it. Voicing it out of frustration may end up damaging your children’s view of you or themselves and that’s not what we want at all.
I pray this was helpful for you. Let me know what boundaries you’re thinking of setting in the comments below!