My boundaries are nobody's boundaries but mine, you have your own boundaries, let me have mine (thank you).
Often times as parents we are faced with raising our children differently than those around us, be it friends or other family members. The tension that can grow because of these differences is tangible and can often lead to awkward dynamics. Recently I have had multiple conversations with friends and colleagues about this very topic. What I am hearing is that there seem to be no boundaries around the idea of allowing people the space and respect to raise their children as they choose to. Some of these differences are around choices of religion, lifestyle, philosophy of parenting, diet, sleep patterns, media exposure and the list goes on.
Children need boundaries, they crave the ability to understand what is and is not okay in the world around them. This statement is where I believe many of the disagreements and misunderstandings stem from. Boundaries are not concrete, they do not exist in one space in time and fit every family, child or parent on the planet. Boundaries are as pliable as they need to be for every individual family designing them. One family may place boundaries around food, another around sleep and yet another around scheduling or media exposure. Each of these boundaries deserves respect and attention because everyone's boundaries are equally important. I believe that aside from the breastfeeding, sleepless nights, brain fog and pure exhaustion, the hardest thing about parenting is placing boundaries around you and your family in order to provide a sense of comfort and security.
It can feel uncomfortable to assert a difference of opinion or philosophical view around those we love and respect, especially our parents or grandparents. Friendships often struggle when they transition from a friendship in single-hood to that of a friendship in parent-hood. I believe this struggle is mostly due to an inability to state differences, be okay with those differences and respect others for their own ways of doing things. While the difficulty is something to be acknowledged and is something real I want to empower you to do it regardless of the discomfort. Not in an act of defiance or lack or respect but rather from a place of genuine need. If you believe in the boundaries you have placed within your family dynamics, especially for your children then it is okay to assert those needs.
Remember…..we are all human, we are all doing the best we can and we all deserve the space we need.
You are a parent; you created a life. Now go out there and let people know the values you choose to raise your children by and feel no shame is wearing them loud and proud.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.