Six years ago I became a mother and before this I was very much a ‘Yes’ person. I’d say yes to everything, even though I mostly wanted to say ‘No’. When my daughter arrived I continued to say ‘Yes’ to everything, filling each day with so much, and putting the needs of others before my own needs and the needs of my daughter. This eventually led me to burnout and struggling with my own mental health. And so I knew something had to change. This came in the form of setting boundaries.
Life can get busy. It can feel like there is a constant need to be constantly doing, constantly ticking things off the to do list, filling every hour with something. The constant juggling of all the things that need to be done can leave us feeling tired, deflated, and exhausted.
This constant busyness of life can leave us with little time to just stop, pause and reflect; time to just be and to really focus on our boundaries. Setting boundaries in motherhood is a really useful tool in supporting ourselves to take control of our lives, to bring more of what we want in to our lives and let go of the ‘stuff’ that just doesn’t bring us happiness.
So it can be incredibly helpful to stop, pause and reflect to see what is really going on for you. Where you may need to set boundaries (for yourself and your family) and what you might need to support yourself even better, so that you don’t hit burnout like I did.
So how do you set boundaries?
Trying to tune into what you need when there is this busy schedule of the to-do-list, playdates, events and daily routine can be hard. Though remember you deserve the opportunity to pause and reflect. It is important to reconnect with what you want and gift yourself some time to just be, to just sit, to pause and reflect on what is working for you right now, what isn’t working for you and what do you need more of right now. If you don’t take the opportunity then things will never change.
Saying ‘no’ to the playdates, events and slowing down in the daily routine might feel uncomfortable at first. Though remember saying ‘no’ to something is saying ‘yes’ to something else, and this something else is about supporting you and your family in the best way possible. These boundaries can also change with time, they don’t have to be a permeant part of how you live your life. Be curious about what you need right now and how even one simple change can support you.
If you know what you need, and what you need less of, then you can start to take steps to move forward to creating a life with boundaries that work best for you. When we are living an aligned life, each day can flow much better and we are able to approach our days more calmly, with more compassion and kindness for ourselves.
Setting Boundaries with journaling
You might want to use these questions as journaling prompts to explore in your own time, or perhaps you could use them as conversation starters with your partner or family. Either way, I hope they help you to pause and reflect, so that you can then set boundaries to support you in living the life you want.
So get yourself comfy, grab your notebook and pen and a glass of water and spend some time pausing and reflecting.
As with any journalling, if you want to dig deeper and really listen to what your head, heart and gut brains are telling you, it’s important to ground yourself in this moment. So place your hand on your heart, close your eyes if you feel comfortable to do so, and take three deep breaths.
~ What do you need most right now?
~ What do you need less of right now?
~ What do you need to say no to?
~ What do you need to say yes to?
~ What do you need to bring in to help you thrive right now?
I hope you can give yourself permission to pause, reflect and explore these questions and then take action to make positive changes to support you and your family.
About the author:
Emma Benyon is a Self Care and Motherhood Coach and Educator, helping mums move from overwhelm to balance and clarity in motherhood and beyond. She is the editor of Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums and host of the Self Care and Motherhood Edit. Her mission is to support mums to thrive and live a life they truly want through 1-2-1 coaching, workshops and group programmes.