Boundaries. It’s a popular topic right now.

And rightly so. Boundaries are those rules and regulations that we put into place to help us live our life the way we need to and want to. This can mean making rules around who sees the baby, who givese you advice, what roles Dad fulfills and even expectations that we have about how others are involved in our life.

I first learned about boundaries from trying to heal the people pleaser side of me. As a mom, it’s hard to please everyone; and I realized I couldn’t.

I couldn’t be energetic or present if I was up with the baby multiple times the night before.
I couldn’t host a dinner party or have people over, when I hadn’t cleaned the house or had time with my immediate family first.
I couldn’t say yes to everything because there isn’t enough time in the day to say yes to everything and everyone.

So let’s start with the most basic boundary possible and turn it into the first affirmation.

1. It’s okay to say no.

Just ‘no’. Not a – ‘no, I’m sorry’. There is no reason to apologize for saying no. Answering a question with no does not mean you need to apologize. If someone is upset because of your answer being no, that’s more reason to say no. If you must be polite, you can say ‘no, thank you’. If you’re not sure, that’s a ‘no, not right now’. This leads to the next affirmation.

2. I have the right to feel safe and respected. My needs are valid!

You know you’re in a healthy relationship when you can say no and the other person says ok, or is even proud of you for saying no. If you struggle with boundaries or people pleasing or both, it is helpful to have a group of people who know you struggle in this area and start to practice with them.  Thank them for being someone in your life you feel safe with, and ask them if you could practice boundaries with them. If they make you feel safe, chances are they are aware of their own boundaries and are aware of how to respect another human being.

3. I am responsible for my own happiness; which also means the happiness of others is not my responsibility.

As a mom, this is the WORST one. How can we not be responsible for the happiness of our children or our partners or parents or our in-laws? The tool that helped me the most in this area is recognizing what I actually have influence over and making peace with what I didn’t and still don’t. Depending on what the situation is, it is hard to be happy with something we can’t control.

Mom mentors, our support groups and other mom friends are a great place to discuss the frustrations. Walking and talking, being heard and not fixed is so good for our mental health. Come join me and other mommas like you, finding our voice and setting boundaries one day at a time.

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