Setting Limits

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Motherhood. It’s wonderful. I adore my children and make them a priority everyday. I am not perfect. I’m simply trying the best I can with my children to be present.

Motherhood. It is also about setting limits. If you are a parent we all have our cautionary tales of those times we have not set limits ourselves. Times when we’ve taken on too much. Times we’ve been unhappy because we said yes to help someone who can help themselves. There are times we can and should help those we love outside our home, too!

Motherhood. Parenthood is about a balance. It’s about our kids. It’s about us. It is also about how we interact in our world at home and to tactfully step together in the world outside our home. Now, I usually do well about setting limits. Yet, I have cautionary tales where I electively took on too much. Where I felt like I had fell flat on my face. Where I broke down crying at bible study. AND that night at home before I fell asleep because I had taken on too much. Can all stress me avoided? No. Absolutely not.

Here is a tale about a recent situation where I felt very annoyed about someone who asked too much.

Yesterday evening, as I read an email I just started laughing at the obscurity of the request.

My neighbor with a teenage daughter and a preteen son told me her daughter was sick today so she needs someone to host her British soccer camp coach next week she volunteered to host. Then she preceded to write in the email how it would be so easy to host and I’d only need to do ” x, y, z…”.
I was a bit baffled. And while I’m usually very nice and generous, my sanity and my young children are my priority. I’m beyond grateful for my kids and the opportunities I get to experience with them and as a Navy wife. It’s also a huge commitment and time investment, and I don’t have much extra time during this stage in my life. So I wrote her back:
“I’m sorry [insert neighbors name]. Under no condition will I host the British soccer coach. I have three young kids and my husband’s work schedule is busy next week. Maybe next decade when my kids are older and my husband is retired from the Navy? 😉 I hope your household feels better quickly. See you all next week at soccer camp. :)”
Sheesh!
I could have handled the situation with more grace. I should have been less sarcastic. Yet I’m also proud of myself for saying no and setting clear limits. Clear limits and not taking too much, make a happier mother (parent), which makes happier kids.
Note: I saw and chatted with this neighbor at our neighborhood potluck dinner event tonight. I was kind. I didn’t mention her request. I smiled. I’m simply choosing to move on and continue to set limits for myself and my family.

Photo credit

“The Balance” Dia™ @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.

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