Do you find yourself wearing thin from saying “Yes” to every opportunity, and to every request you’re met with from your kids? Are you having trouble finding the time (and energy) you need to focus on yourself and on your own personal goals?
If this sounds like you, then rest assured you are not alone!
This week on Episode 146 of Productivity Paradox I’m sitting down with Donna, my second guest of Season 12, to talk all about her struggle to find ownership over her days as an entrepreneur, wife, and mother to two high school boys.
During our conversation, Donna and I take a look at how she’s been saying “yes” to everyone but herself, and what she can do to change that.
And what it all comes down to is boundaries: how to set them, and how to maintain them as you progress into the future.
So today, I want to carry my conversation with Donna from the episode even further this week by really dialing in on exactly how we can create boundaries when we have kids at home – no matter how big (or small!) they may be.
Let’s jump in!
When it comes to creating new boundaries or even improving the old ones you’ve set, it helps to get your kids involved in the process as much as possible.
For example, if your kids are older and you’re looking to take a step back from some things you have overextended yourself on (as it was for Donna on Episode 146), then a great way to establish boundaries is to ask your kids what they would like to see you involved in.
In other words, where would your kids like you to spend your time and energy as it relates to them and their commitments?
Let them know you are looking to scale back on some things you have on your plate and ask them to help you as you create new boundaries for yourself as a mom and as an individual with your own passions and goals. . .
After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup, right?
Alternatively, if you have small children at home, a great way to get your kids involved in setting boundaries is to give them choices. What are a few things that they would like to do with you throughout the week?
Giving them a couple of options for activities that you can do together is a great way to let them know that they will still have an opportunity to have your undivided attention while allowing you some room to devote time in your schedule to your goals and other interests.
One of the biggest obstacles that I find most of us face is learning how to say “No” effectively. And this is especially true for those of us with children at home.
As moms, we feel like we have to say “Yes” to everything because we think that more is more.
We fall into the false mindset that, if we spend more of our time doing more of the things that our kids love or have going on (in terms of extracurriculars and so on), then our effort is going to come across in a more meaningful way.
But in reality . . . less is more.
When you do less, you’re able to pour yourself into the moment – whatever it is. You’re able to be more present for your kids at their ballet recitals and soccer games; you’re able to be more present when you’re helping them with their homework, or you’re reading them a bedtime story.
In other words, when you’re investing yourself in doing less (instead of trying to do #allthethings), you’re not only able to do your best work – you’re also able to give your kids your full focus.
And that’s all we really want in the first place, right?
So, what are some of the things that you can say “No” to in order to give your kids the time and focus that they deserve? Think about it!
Once you’ve determined where the boundaries are at home, it’s crucial that you communicate them to your kids as clearly as possible.
If you have small children at home (or even older kids!), a great way to do this is to make up a set of house rules and post them where your kids can see them every day. (Tip: pictures are a great way to get the message across to kids who aren’t of reading age yet!)
For example, what can your kids do to support themselves when you’re busy with a task or personal project? What should they do if you’re on the phone? Write your expectations down, and communicate those expectations to your kids from the get-go.
The clearer you are, the easier it will be for your kids to fall in line – no matter how young or old they may be.
Here’s the thing: if you want your kids (big or small) to continually stick to the boundaries that you’ve set, then it’s vital that you, as their parent, stick to those boundaries as well.
In other words, don’t teeter on what the house boundaries are! If, for example, you’ve established a boundary of no screen time before bed or a curfew at 9 PM on weekends, then it’s important that you don’t cave in on that boundary later.
When we as parents go back on the boundaries that we set, it sends a clear message to our kids that the rules don’t matter (that what we say does not matter), don’t need to be respected, and that they can easily be changed.
Remember: consistency in children is KEY when it comes to – well, just about anything!
What are some of the strategies that you use to help set and maintain boundaries at home with your kids? I want to hear from you! Share any of your own tried and true methods in the comments below . . .
And be sure to check out Episode 146 of the podcast this week where Donna, my second guest of our new call-in style season (Season 12!), and I are applying the concept of setting boundaries to her life with two teenagers in tow!