Today I want to talk about boundaries and parameters.
The context for me right now is parenting, but it’s important everywhere to have boundaries and be willing to move boundaries.
My academic parenting style is based on my experience as a student, not research or a parenting book. As a student, I was really organized, super motivated, and I loved to learn. I just assume the same exists for my kids, which is hilarious because I taught junior high math and I know that these are not innate characteristics for all people.
I also really had a need for approval that governed so much of what I did for a lot of my life, so there was that. I always wanted an A. I still work on that one, all the time.
So I just assume that they are always going to get their stuff done. It’s like one of those retractable leashes. I let the leash out as far as it can go and let them take care of stuff, until there is evidence that that is not working. Then mama is involved now and I pull that leash in and lock it close until we get this figured out. What can happen when you first pull a leash in, underneath all of the fit-throwing, complaining, and yelling, is a sense of relief. Thank god she got involved because I was not getting this done on my own.
We feel that, too. Have you ever felt out of control like if you leave yourself in charge of it it’s going to be a hot mess? You’re all over the place and not getting done what you want to get done. You are just out of control. You want to but you’re just not. Then you put some structure in place or you put in a boundary, and there is relief. I don’t have to trust myself right now; I can just follow these rules right now. I can follow these rules and keep this boundary in place until I’m ready for something different. That’s freeing.
Right up until it isn’t. Because what will happen is that it will start to feel confining. For me when the kids are starting to get their things done on their own and they are starting to push back, that’s a good sign that I need to let the leash back out.
What happens for me, and I know many people, is that you start to feel like that structure is so tight that you’re rebelling. You want to push back, you want to fight back, you want to start breaking the rules a little bit. That means it’s time to start moving that boundary and give yourself some breathing room. Give yourself some space, because it doesn’t feel good to be confined and restricted when you don’t need that anymore.
So my question for you is where in your life right now do you feel like it’s time to move a boundary or parameter? Are you feeling out of control somewhere where you’re not getting done what you want to get done? You’re not living up to your own expectations and you’re feeling like you just can’t trust yourself. Where do you need to pull the leash in for a little while? Or as long as it takes, so that you can feel that sense of relief that you are doing what you want to do and getting done what you want to get done.
Vice versa, where are you feeling restricted? Where are you feeling like you can’t move? Where is creativity being stopped? Where are you wanting to push back? What boundary needs to move so that you’ve got some breathing room?
That is a question that I am posing to you today because I want you to feel comfortable. I want you to find that sweet spot between getting your stuff done and feeling good about yourself and also like you’ve got some room to grow and evolve.