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.
New Year resolutions can be hard on some. The pressure to claim that you will change your life, your patterns, your way of thinking…whatever it may be, change can be hard and even scary for some. Many cultures celebrate the New Year at different times throughout the calendar year, spanning from January through September. The concept of a New Year is accepted throughout cultural divides but the meaning, purpose and time have slightly different variations depending on where you are and what you celebrate.
While the New Year can bring a time of reflection and refocusing it can also bring up feeling of loss or regret that we may have about the year past. As a parent the New Year brings something different than it used to. Since giving birth to our daughter I focus less on what I can do, or should do, and rather reflect on what I have been doing, how I have been doing and how I would like to continue doing. After all, this life is one long cycle, we are all on our own calendars and sometimes the New Year doesn’t come until February or March or even April. As parents the proverbial calendar or clock is almost a mockery of what should be. Yes, it is 2am on a Monday and I have an 8am meeting and yet here I am with a sick child, holding him/her and ensuring that they are alright.
When you are a parent you realize that children and life have an agenda of their own and while some years the holidays are spent laughing and carefree others might be spent with a house full of the flu and stomach bugs. So let it be what it must, allow life to exist as only it can and try not to get lost in the presumption of what a single day should mean. Look at the New Year as the potential beginning of a new start but remember also that each new day offers this new beginning, this reset button of time. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, it is also the most rewarding. Take a deep breath, remember you are a rockstar no matter what the day simply because you are a parent, day-in and day-out.
Happy New Year to everyone out there and remember, if today doesn’t work for you to reset, renew or refresh; try again tomorrow. Never stop trying and never stop believing in you.
When you think of family what do you say…..
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.