When the kids drive me crazy, I know it is high time for some self-care and healthy boundaries.
Summer is coming. How do you feel about it?
When my kids were smaller, I would look forward to the school break, to not having to get up early in the mornings, to a slower routine. However, after 2 to 3 days, I was absolutely ready for school to resume. Why? Mostly because they fought with each other and they yearned for my constant attention. I felt exhausted and drained after just a couple of days of them being home. It was not a lack of my love for my children; it was the lack of self-love and proper boundaries that depleted my energy.
I had a hard time setting up healthy boundaries. Yes, I am a recovering giver and pleaser, especially towards my children. I have learnt to be assertive; however, I realized lately that I was getting back into the over-giving mode.
The slide backward happened gradually, and all of a sudden, I was at a point where I felt used and taken for granted. I knew it was the time to apply some gentle and loving self-care.
I thought, “NOW is the time to step up and say NO. Now is the time to look after myself first,” because I felt my cup being emptied and I was tired and drained.
Do you know what? My kids kept on demanding. Yes, that’s what they do and that’s what I had to put an end to.
How did I let my guard down? How did I so easily slip back into former behaviour? I felt I learnt my lesson, so why was it happening to me all over again?
Of course, I could lament over and over about feeling used, but I had to look at the good things too. I noticed the pattern as it was happening.
I knew I needed self-care. I’ve grown enough from my previous experiences to more powerful to make the necessary changes without feeling too guilty. Yes, I admit I did feel a bit guilty, as deep down, I still somehow feel I have to serve my kids. They work so hard at school, and I have to provide a loving and nurturing home. However, I know I can provide a loving and nurturing home without having to give myself up.
Time to heal and grow.
Whenever you see an old pattern re-emerge, remember that it is just a little inkling to make you conscious of how far you have already come.
My June Story
June is always a bit of a hectic month. It is the end of the school time with many activates, plus, there is my daughter Catherine’s birthday.
This year, however, it was even more intense, as Catherine got sick in the middle of her year-end exams, and I tended to her and nursed her, leaving my business and myself on the sidelines. She was unable to go on her school trip, so she was home for 10 days.
Catherine is quite stubborn and demanding, like every other teenager, and like all children, she knows how to push Mommy’s buttons, and she played my guilt chord well. I can see that now.
Of course, it is ok to tend to your sick child, however, I over did it, and even kept it up when she felt better. I think it was probably because I just enjoyed cuddling with her.
Demanding 16 year old
When Catherine felt a little bit better, she wanted to watch movies and she wanted me to sit with her. So, I sat with her, which by itself is wonderful and lovely, as I love to cuddle up with my kids. After a few days of sitting and watching movies, though, I felt I neglected too much of my own life. I felt stressed, as I had to organise other things, but I could not find a way to detach enough. My little big girl did not want to stay alone, so I obliged and sat with her.
Deep down, however, I felt a bit of displeasure. I felt trapped, and in an internal struggle to please my child but neglect myself.
My oldest was home from University, as they stopped for the summer at the end of May.
Going from being home by myself during the day to having two teenagers at home in one go was a bit tough. It was an adjustment for me and had a hard time finding my routine with the kids being home with me.
It is ok to allow yourself time to adjust, just be aware you give yourself some you time too.
When to stop
When my daughter felt better, she was still demanding and I realised I had fallen back into the giving trap.
I was so used to giving my kids everything and not thinking about myself that it was easy for me to fall back into that trap without it even realising.
I felt out of sync.
I felt tired.
I desperately needed to do some things but was having a hard time carving out the time for them.
And I got a bit angry and short tempered.
I have learnt my lesson
I immediately realized that something was not right.
The signs were there – I heard them and was able to realise what had happened.
Before I learned to take better care of myself and set boundaries, I would not even realise why I was so tired, or why I felt irritated, as I did not know anything but giving.
Now that I learnt to listen to my own needs and to know how I feel when I am in the flow, it is much easier to listen to my internal warning bells and readjust my path.
It is ok to fall back into old behaviour. Rest assured you will be back into your flow soon enough.
I have created a loving journey for you to really breathe in Self Love and get back into your flow much easier:
Whatever happens in your life, be gentle on yourself. See it as stepping-stones. It’s not like you have to start from the beginning again, now you have already learned how to get around these exact issues. It might look like a setback, however, it is the next stepping-stone, the next step to take, and you will feel more self-assured and able to re-establish healthy boundaries and keep going.
Enjoy a fabulous time.