Mommy the Martyr: Lesson on Boundaries

So I’m reading this parenting book with my mom’s group right now called Boundaries with Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. So. Good.

I’ve read many great parenting books, and I am so thankful for them because each one that I read feels like it comes at just the right time. It’s like God places it in my lap and says, “Okay, Child, now this one. You really need to work on [fill in the blank]…” 

Well the [fill in the blank] of Boundaries with Kids punched me in the face this afternoon. I need more boundaries. Typically I am pretty good with boundaries in my life. I am a mostly melancholy personality (with a little sanguine swished in for the stage), so knowing my limits and being a perfectionist at keeping them is second nature to me. However, when it comes to parenting I have the tendency to want to be the Supermom that can clean her whole house while engaging her kids and encouraging imagination by having adventures while still teaching letter sounds, Bible stories, and good morals, too! [And breathe] Yes, I come up exhausted with having done nothing for myself. Well isn’t that just so martyr-ishy! Yay! Mom the Martyr! Round of applause and take a bow!! Photo on 3-13-13 at 3.20 PM #2

No.Photo on 3-13-13 at 3.20 PM #3

Because being the martyr still leaves me exhausted and depleted. Both feelings I loathe. Then while reading the chapters we are discussing this week, that lovely thump landed right between the eyes. Ouch.

In addition to your children’s separateness from you, you have to be separate from them. Parents who do not have a life apart from their kids teach the kids that the universe revolves around them. Do not be afraid of having your own nights out, your own trips without them as they get older, your own times alone, and your own space. From early on, it is important for a child to learn that Mom wants to read, not play right now. I have a friend who says to her young son at times, “I am reading and having fun. You are responsible for your own fun. Now go and make some.” Or, “I know you’re not through talking, but I am through listening. I want to do my puzzle. Go play.”

Parents who do not say no to their child’s wish to be continually by their side are teaching him that he cannot exit on his own and that the world revolves around him. Later, this same child will not be comfortable allowing the one he loves to have her own sense of separateness, and he will try to control her. Meet the child’s needs, then require him to meet his own while you meet yours. Empathize with the frustration, but keep the separateness. 

Wow. I need this. I need some time (while the boys are awake, mind you!) to do things that I want to do. This morning I sat down to attempt to blog for the first time in over a month, not for lack of things to say, but for (seemingly) lack of time to get it done. Cole was down for a nap, so upon seeing me sit down at the computer, what was Jack’s first reaction? “I wanna do ABCmouse, Mommy! I wanna do learnin’ path! I wanna watch Mickey Disney World [starts singing] Join a pahr-tee, castle pahr-tee!”

Usually my first reaction is to give in. This kid is actually asking to do preschool activities, for goodness sake! How do you say no to that? Don’t I want him to be smart?

Yes. But does it have to be now? Right this second? When I want to blog and haven’t done so in over a month? And I’ve got big news to share!!

Well, this morning I gave in. I wrote a couple of lines that have since been deleted. I gave up writing when the squelched request to play ABCmouse turned into I want a snack, I want to watch a movie, etc. Nag, nag, nag, FINE!

Now it is nap time and my face is still sore from the recently well-recieved wallop. However, note-taken. From now on, I need to see the importance of Jack and Cole doing their Jack-and-Cole-thang for a little while everyday, while Mommy does her Mommy-thang. Mommy is a human being too, however animated I may be, and I need this. I need boundaries. I need separateness, not a cape.

So I’m raising my cup of coffee to the dawn of a new boundary-filled day!Photo on 3-13-13 at 3.09 PM #3Who has two thumbs and a new resolve to take more time out for herself?

Photo on 3-13-13 at 10.27 AMThis girl.

And as for that big news to share…well, I’m so giddy about it I have to pee! Or is that just the big cup of coffee I drank? Either way, it’ll have to wait for another post. This one is all used up.

With love, Malorie

4 thoughts on “Mommy the Martyr: Lesson on Boundaries

  1. Pingback: A Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah DVC Day! | Elrods Go Disney

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