Drawing Boundaries

So it’s been a month since my last post, more or less. Life has gotten crazy busy with work, traffic, commute, end-of-school events for the minions, my bro’s wedding, etc., etc., etc. You name it, it’s probably happened. And even though we’ve had lots of fun celebrating, I am tired. T. I. R. E. D. Guess my age is catching up with me – it takes me about a week to bounce back from a weekend road trip these days. Either that or I need to travel more. Probably the latter. Hmmm…

Anyhoo, what’s been on my mind? Boundaries. Not as in land borders, but the kinds of boundaries we, as people, need to set for ourselves and others. My wonderful women’s group at church has been working through the Boundaries book for the past few weeks. This is a good thing for me. As a people-pleaser who’s spent most of my life afraid to say ‘No,’ I’ve experienced firsthand the aftereffects of taking on too much. Putting too much on my plate. Trying to make everyone happy. So I could definitely use some help in setting boundaries.

If you haven’t read it, do. Boundaries is really helping me put relationships and life into perspective. I’m on a mission to set more boundaries with the minions, and they’re not gonna like it. Chores? Too bad, kid. You’re old enough to help now and that’s what families do. Period. That’s MY new boundary with basic housework. I foresee some rough waters ahead for me and the minions – but I’m sticking to my guns and fighting this battle. No way are MY kids gonna turn into men who don’t know how to plug in a vacuum or empty a dishwasher! Yes, I’ve known quite a few. No, thankfully I didn’t marry one of those men. But they’re out there. Ladies, you know who I mean. And MY sons’ wives will thank me someday. Hopefully. Really.

Of course, not all boundary-setting episodes leave me cackling gleefully like setting chores for the kiddoes. I’ve had to set a couple of boundaries on the Boundaries study. Yep. See, our book study starts around 6:30 PM. I work across town until 6. After two weeks of traffic hell and lots of stress I finally decided to use what I’d read and make a rule: I’ll do my part to leave the office on time and take the tollway. But if traffic is running slower-than-a-snail-on-Valium and/or I have pressing errands to run that can’t wait – I’m not gonna allow myself to stress about it. If 6:30 rolls around and I’m nowhere close, or stalled on the highway, I’ll just check in with one of the other chicas in my group and get the next week’s reading assignment. Stress solved.

So I’m on my way. Working on setting boundaries for my own sanity. Here’s the problem…

Accepting others’ boundaries.

Yep. That’s right. As empowered as I feel with my own limits, I’ve noticed that I definitely DON’T have the same tolerance for others’ boundaries. Correction – I have a real problem accepting others’ boundaries that don’t align with my own. Cue my inner child here – I want what I want when I want it. Period. No, not all the time. Usually I’m pretty good about it. But every once in a while that inner toddler decides to flex her muscle. And I’m learning to pause in those moments, think about the situation, and remind myself that I need to show respect to get respect. That was my struggle earlier this week. I was in a situation where someone expressed a boundary to me that I didn’t like. To be honest, it hurt. A lot. But I had to stop and think logically that this person wasn’t acting out of spite – they were simply setting a boundary with me. (Granted that took a couple of days, and the sting is still there, but it’s OK.)

Boundaries. Huh. Who knew??

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1 Comment

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One response to “Drawing Boundaries

  1. One thing I’ve learned is that I LOVE my boundaries, but don’t really like other people’s so much… Unless their boundaries are totally similar to mine. I have problems! But thanks for raising young men who know what’s up with chores!!

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