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Monday Morning Parenting: Setting Boundaries

Monday, May 3, 2010

I've always had a problem with saying no.

At work, even among my circle of friends, I was known for going the extra mile. If you needed help sealing 1000 envelopes for a fundraiser or a ride to the airport...I was your gal. I prided myself on being reliable, the person people turned to when they needed a favor.

But my spirit of generosity was often taken advantage of and I would feel used. This feeling would give way to anger at the user, but I was really mad at myself for giving a mile when I should have gave an inch.

Becoming a mother has taught me how to set reasonable boundaries. Marlie is at that stage where she is trying to assert control. I am learning the balance between letting her have some leeway to explore (her learning) and letting her have her own way (me surrendering). There is a difference and it's a fine line to walk. For instance, Marlie is putting everything in her mouth. This is normal infant behavior. I usually don't stop her unless she picks up something that is dangerous. She recently got hold of a pen off my desk. She wailed when I took it away. I was tempted to give it back so she'd stop crying (mama guilt!). Instead I say no and stuck to my guns even though it pained me to see her in tears (she has big, wet ones too). I guess this why they say, "this hurts me than it hurts you."

I see this phase a dress rehearsal for the bigger standoffs that are ahead such as, "Mommy, can I go to my friend's co-ed sleepover?" Hell-to-the-No! See? Practice makes perfect!

I am thinking of extending this practice of saying no to some of my other relationships with family and friends.

You want borrow $500? N-O!
You want me to make 4 dozen cupcakes at the last minute for a bake sale? N-O!
You want to stay at my house indefinitely while you job hunt? N-O!

Doesn't it feels good to have limits?


Mama Up! said...

It's good to start early, even when the bad/dangerous/annoying thing they're doing is super cute. Otherwise, when it starts to get less cute, they're left wondering why they don't own the moon anymore!

P.S. - Check out my giveaway(s): http://howbabbyformed.blogspot.com/2010/05/giveaway-40-gift-certificate-for-any.html

always4evamoi said...

i so feel u...have the same problem...and u already know how hard i am on myself for it...sigh...just gotta take it one 'N-O' at a time :)

keyalus said...

I love that you are just ahead of me so I get to see what is around the corner!

I think I'm already experiencing it though. Lewis is a champion tantrum thrower already! Like you, I took something he wasn't supposed to have out of his mouth and he threw a fit. He has this way of locking his whole body up...throwing his head back, stiffening his legs, arching his back. I get a physical fit as well as the tears. Oh God, please don't let me be that woman in the grocery store with her kid showing out on the floor LOL!

Blogs said...

Your just like me-I've always had a hard time saying no and still sometimes do! I've learned though that as my children get older-it's for the best and because I love and wanna teach them morals, values....good for you-stick to ur guns! Mama Power:)

Help! Mama Remote... said...

Rotfl. Owe how I can relate. There's nothing like saying "yes" and regret like hell that I said "yes". And because I'm nice I would find myself doing things that other people didn't want to do. I've gotten wiser. If I don't want to do it, I don't. These kids will send us on a mission. So, prepare now.lol

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

If only my lil' dude would pay attention to the limits I set. The terrible twos are most definitely upon us!

Kim @ What's That Smell said...

Ah yes...my daughter is 2 and we're at a new stage in the "boundary" issue. Man they're sneaky and manipulative LOL


septembermom said...

I have to learn how to say no too. This year I'm involved in way too many things.

The kids also learn too fast how to take advantage of that personality treat in mama.

Betty Manousos said...

Hello Teresha, it's been some time... my appologies.
I'm like you. I have a problem to say no as well.
I don't want to disappoint others.
Working on it.
Big hugs to you and beautiful Marlie!!
Betty xx

Alexia said...

Thank you for verbalizing what many of us have been wrestling with! So many mothers say yes to everything and over-extend themselves, or worse, say yes to everything for their children and end up being walked all over by their children. I commend you for putting your foot down and being a strong mother. Marlie will be all the better for it in her future.

P.S. Co-ed sleepovers?! My stomach dropped when I read that! Hell-to-the-no for sure!!!

JaelCustomDesigns said...

Oh I can empathize with you mommy! I have gotten to the point where, I won't allow myself be taken advantage of!

As for co-ed sleep overs hell-to-the-no is RIGHT! I have two tweens and a teen in addition to my two year old and there's no way I would even consider that!

Stay w/ me while you job hunt? Uh, No! I have four mouths to feed already and I can't afford another one.

I go through it w/ my Pooh Bear when he wants his way but, he gets upset for a minute then we move on!

Maureensk said...

Given that V is baby #5 and we're older parents, we're no where as strict as we were with the other 4. At the same time, she is amazingly compliant when we do set limits. We've only had one major tantrum, when she wanted to carry a strawberry around, but not eat it. She was slowly, but surely squishing it and I didn't want red strawberry stains everywhere. You would have thought I killed her puppy or something, the way she cried. Of course, she did wake up with a cold the next day.

The Redhead Riter said...

I have a really hard time saying "no" too. It makes me feel really guilty even! I've been working on it for three years now, and I can honestly say I haven't improved one bit. Let me know how it goes for you. I need tips.

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