It’s been a while since I wrote and I know that many of you were wondering if I’d come back at all. After my last post, where I shared my struggles with depression and anxiety, I decided to take a break from working altogether. I needed time to process and truly accept my new normal, especially when it came to adjusting to being a mom of two.
Before I move forward, I’d like to say thank you to the members of Raising an Advocate: The Community. Thanks to their monthly subscriptions and generous donations I was able to stay afloat financially over the last five months. Maternity leave as an entrepreneur is very tricky but having their support helped me so much. If you’re interested in joining the paid membership community, I’ll include details at the end of this post.
Now back on topic…
In 2016, I started choosing a word for the year. First, it was “yes.” In 2016, I said yes to things that scared me. Last year’s word was confidence. I needed to work on believing in myself. I’m still working on my confidence but ending the year with a book agent definitely helped in that department. During my maternity leave, I realized that the only way I was going to truly navigate the changes in my life was by setting clear boundaries.
So, my word for 2018 is BOUNDARIES. I don’t know about you but I’ve spent a large part of my life being a people pleaser. I’ve also been team “treat people how you want to be treated” and then found myself angry when I wasn’t being treated the same way. When Blueberry was two weeks old, I had to leave him for the first time to go therapy. I went to my therapy appointment very upset because I felt someone crossed a line with me and I didn’t understand why I should even have to say that this wasn’t okay. During our session, my therapist reminded me that it was okay for me to set boundaries in my life. When I was diagnosed with postpartum depression/anxiety, I realized that some of my anxiety comes from the fact that my own personal boundaries aren’t always others and so I need to make sure I clearly set and stick to my own boundaries.
For me this means that in 2018, I’m creating boundaries around the following:
My Work Time: I’ve been a part-time work at home mom with a flexible schedule since Sesame was born. People often think that this means that I can just work whenever and that my schedule isn’t as important as theirs. There are many times in my life when I’ve found myself staying up late to get work finished that I could’ve completed earlier in the day if I had just said no when someone asked me to do something for them or attend an event. From here on out, if I have work that needs to be completed and I’ve set a schedule to do that work, unless it is an extreme emergency I will not be adjusting my work time for anyone. My flexible schedule is for my children and my spouse. It is not for anyone else.
Family Time: If I’ve planned an event or time with my family, I will not simply reschedule it in order to accommodate someone else. Nuclear family time is important not only to me but also to the well being of my children. I want them to know that I respect the plans I’ve made with them and that they won’t simply be discarded because it’s better for someone else. I also plan to make sure I am not checking my work email during family time.
My Time Period: In 2018, I refuse to allow anyone to waste my time. If we have plans and you can’t be on time for them, I’m leaving. I’m not just going to sit around and wait when there are other things I could be doing at that time. In the past, I’ve sat around while people were almost two hours late for something and then they walk in like it’s no big deal at all. This brings me to my next boundary.
Treating People How They Treat Me: Treating people the way I want to be treated has led to nothing but frustration in my life. From now on, I’m treating them the way they treat me. If they don’t respect my time, I’m not respecting theirs. If they can’t show up for me, I’m not going out of my way to show up for them. This includes family. I am tired of people telling me that you have to do things because it’s family. I do not have to accept disrespect, poor treatment, or any other toxic behavior because we share a bloodline. If I tell you that I don’t like something and you continue to behave in that manner, you don’t respect me, so why should I respect you?
If I attempt to hold you accountable for your behavior and you ignore it, then you’ve told me everything I need to know about you. Do not be surprised when I start to treat you in the same manner.
My Mental Health: Last, but certainly not least, I am creating boundaries around my mental health. There are so many times that I attend events or go places because I feel obligated to do so even when I know that doing these things will set off my anxiety. There are so many times that I put my own needs on the back burner to be there for people who would never do that for me. During therapy this summer, I realized that it is perfectly okay to not do these things anymore. There is nothing wrong with me expecting people to consider my needs when they make plans and it is perfectly okay to say no when they do not. Settign boundaries in 2018 will literally save my life.
These are some of the ways I’m creating boundaries in 2018. Just like when I said yes to things that scared me in 2016 and I worked on my confidence in 2017, I want to model healthy behavior to my children. This year I want them to see me modeling what setting boundaries looks like. I want them to know that they are never obligated to let anyone treat them poorly including me. I want them to know that they do not have to make time for people who do not make time for them. While I want them to be kind and courteous to everyone, it is okay to treat people the way they treat you.
Have you picked a word for 2018? I’d love to hear it.
P.S. If you’re interested in joining Raising an Advocate: The Community, a little birdie told me there’s a discount code for a yearly membership bundled with the course through the end of the week.