Fairly consistently, I have to remind myself of things. These vary in importance; from my work schedule to watering the plants to checking if kiddo has brushed his teeth before bed. I’m the Mom and I feel like all of it is my responsibility. Especially if it relates specifically to my child.
Tonight, I had to remind myself that no matter how old I get, I am still my mother’s child.
I get frustrated when I feel like she forgets to treat me like the adult that I am. Specifically, I struggle with how she expresses her worries and fears. I do believe her actions ultimately come from a place of love but quite frankly she serves them with a Texas-sized helping of guilt (among other things) that I’m interested in taking.
This got me thinking about all the ways that we express and therefore teach our children about boundaries. It took me most of my adult life to understand that no matter the relationship, it is imperative that healthy boundaries be set.
Again: No matter the relationship, is imperative that healthy boundaries be set.
Boundaries have been a very hard learned lesson for me. They take a lot out of me on an emotional level. Quite frankly, we suck at boundaries in my family. I can recognize now that there is a tendency to create dependent relationships. That pattern continued into my first marriage, which was also abusive. Although that is now years behind me, it’s effects are still there – setting off anxiety alarms when I anticipate conflict.
My child is a lot like me in ways that I wouldn’t wish for. That’s not a bad thing – there are simply aspects of his personality that I believe make it that much more important that I teach him about boundaries.
I want him to be able to say no without feeling guilty. I want him to know that it’s okay to protect and stand up for yourself. Patterns of behavior (yours & others) mean something significant; pay attention! I want him to believe in his value as a person and not base it primarily on others opinions.
I know that someday I will tell him these things and he’ll respond that doing these things is hard. That it’s scary and he’s unsure of the end result. I will probably cry; because that’s what I do. But I will tell him that he’s worth it. That someday, on the other side of that moment where you made that choice…you’ll know you did the right thing.
I know that without a doubt because I have lived through that experience many times over. It will happen again in the future. Setting the boundary is important but so is maintaining it!
Do I think I will ever truly stop worrying about him if I feel that something is amiss? Probably not. I sincerely hope that in 20 years when he says to me, “I’ve got this, Mom…”
We both believe it.
Photo by Jay Mantri