Tag Archives: boundaries

The No, Boundaries, and Staying On The Yellow Brick Road

18 Oct

I’ve known about the power of “no,” for a long time.

As a  writer, I’ve heard it at least a million times. No we don’t want your book, no we don’t want your story, no it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.

As a mom trying to figure things out in the Mommy-Mafia world I’ve learned to pull it out plenty of times. I say it constantly to die-hard PTA boosters trying to corral me into a time-consuming saga. I know the power of “no,” when it comes to money and things being out of my budget. I know the power of “no,” when my kids want their millionth got-to-have-it Lego as we’re buying a birthday present for someone else.

It’s in my vocabulary. I know I own it. But sometimes when it comes to setting boundaries … the “no,” doesn’t quite make it’s way to the top of the list.

Now when I put others at the top of my priorities and I’m working on a project for them, I have no problems zoning things out and saying no to distractions, procrastination, and toxic encounters that are gonna take my juice away. If I gave my word to help someone out, either with a grant, volunteer work, or just my time, I make it happen. I sacrifice and say no to things so that I can be there for that person. I say no to sleeping in, I say no to just grabbing a quick coffee with someone that winds up being an entire afternoon, I say no to Netflix, I say no to Stephen Colbert.  It’s painful, but I have to do it. I gave my word.

I set boundaries for myself so that I could come through for others. But when I try to do that for myself … the “no,” is nowhere to be found.

Standards fall short and deadlines are always extended. It’s sad because the power of no is sometimes stronger when other people are counting on me. But I realized that I should hold myself to the same standard I give to others. I’m more relaxed when it comes to me, as I can always say … well, I can pick it tomorrow.

Sad to say that sometimes this happens more than it should. I’m trying to get better at it. I’m trying to be stricter with my own boundaries when it comes to writing. I’m trying to hold myself to those deadlines. I’m trying to give myself the same amount of respect without feeling guilty about doing it.

I’ve been trying to finish the rewrite and edits of my book for some time now, but for some reason other projects or grant writing comes along and since I had offered to help the obligation to keep my word to someone else becomes stronger than the promise I kept to myself, and then I feel bad about the broken promises and then the sense of failure spirals into anger with myself and then frustration. But I reboot, and then say I’m gonna try again tomorrow and then the cycle happens over again.

But I was recently reminded by a soulful friend that sometimes the most important promises should be the ones you keep to yourself, and if there are friends, or people that call themselves friends, out there not in support of your dream then they don’t have to be on this ride with you. They can just get off the bus. She reminded me that I need the same power of “no,” that same commitment that I apply to fitness, exercise, and health to my writing and other parts of me. I’m on a roll when it comes to health, it matters because it’s not just for me. It’s beyond me. I don’t do it for the outfits or a smaller pair of pants. I do it to stay healthy and live longer for my kids. The purpose is bigger than me.

She said I need that same “no,” those same boundaries, that same sense purpose for other things in my life. Spread the no. You can leave the dream killers behind.

There is no need for the digs and back-handed comments  from other voices when you’re already in doubt yourself. You’re in need of back-up singers who are going to lift you up on stage. You’re in need of people who understand the “no,” and don’t make you feel guilty or bad about it. You’re in need of a realization that you are a priority and the same standards of deadline apply to you that you have for yourself when others are counting on you. The power of no applies to your dream quest as well. You’ve earned it.

So while you’re on the yellow brick road, bring the power of “no,” with you. It will help keep you on the path and keep the boundaries up. Boundaries are important.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

5 Oct
Boundaries...

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Breaking through boundaries is fun sometimes …

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.

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It Was The Principle

11 Jun

I don’t know if you’re aware but crossing certain social boundaries within a family dynamic can create a WWE Royal Rumble type of atmosphere.

It can be anything. A look. A word. A phrase. An act. Anyone of these can light the fuse.

And the funny thing is that I was recently reminded that I’m not the only crazy neurotic mom that battles with her family over boundaries.

Earlier this week I hung out with a friend of mine who was in serious need of a girls night out. Apparently Marissa had let her mom babysit over the weekend and when Marissa returned to pick up her daughter, her mom had not only thrown “the schedule” out the window, but also decided to cut the little girl’s hair. And the thing is as a mom I know how important “the schedule” is to a parent’s survival so I thought … man that does suck, but when she mentioned the tiny tot ambush makeover I almost gave her some chocolate.

:)

🙂

I knew my friend — the Aquanet Hairspray junkie — would have a serious problem with that boundary violation. She cherishes her little girls hair and accessorizes it and it’s just on with her, it’s a whole Paul Mitchell obsession with good hair. And the thing is her mom knew that too, so the fact that she decided to go all Edward Scissorhands really surprised me.

Apparently grandma felt that her hair needed a trim … it was just too long.

And that’s when sparks flew.

While hearing her story over pasta and wine, I completely understood why she was so upset. It was the principle … the principle.

This is the root of most wars.

The principle.

An ethical standard or guiding conduct in our lives. The way things work.

Apparently Marissa’s mom did not get the message regarding the principle and hair cutting. And the thing is the haircut itself wasn’t disastrous. It was short, but not terrible. However if that would have happened to me, it would have been serious breech of conduct. So I completely understood her frustration.  Cutting a girl’s hair is serious and shouldn’t be done without the verbal and written consent of the mother. But I tried to assure her that it would grow back and that everyone has battles like these.

Principle battles. I have at least three a week with my own flesh and blood. So what do I do when this happens … When I’ve explained that a boundary has been crossed and the principle has been attacked? Do I stand there and wait for the traditional “I’m sorry?”

No. It’s not coming.

I call a friend, have a girl’s night out with my buddy, tell her my woes, eat some chocolate, laugh a lot, and hope for fewer battles.

She was definitely on the right track to recovery.