Recently I posted a reel over on Instagram and Facebook @thebehhome about setting boundaries to protect you and your family relationships. I believe that it is imperative to recognize the season of life you are in and properly prioritize the relationships closest to you. In some seasons we are able to give more, in others we are tapped out. Know the season you are in so you can give your fullest to those you need to prioritize.
Who or what should I prioritize?
Spirituality. Personal/Health. Spouse. Parenting/Kids. Household Duties.
What do you mean by spirituality?
As Christians the top of our list is God. Bible, prayer, and church attendance. Prioritize prayer time, it doesn’t need to all happen at one point in the day, it can happen throughout your day. Some mothers say it is hard to have Bible time with little ones. In today’s times, this is a poor excuse. We have free Bible apps that include audio. Instead of scrolling social media, read and/or listen to the Bible. Play it on audio aloud so the kids can hear it. Play the audio while you are doing dishes, scrubbing toilets, folding laundry, etc. Make sure you get to church. At the very least, once a week. If you can, go whenever the church is having a service. Go when they are going soul winning. Go to the events they are hosting.
Why is personal and health before the rest?
This is not like the self-care culture you see all over the internet, the all about me movement. This is sound advice so you don’t get worn out and unable to function due to overwhelm. Take care of yourself. Take care of your health. This allows you to show up as the best version of yourself to the rest on the list. If you are sick, you can not provide the way you’d like to. If you are struggling mentally, you will not be able to be the best you for your spouse and kids.
Being in the Word daily will help with this. It also doesn’t hurt to eat healthy real food (beef liver, grass-fed meats, raw dairy, pasture/free range eggs, etc). Even if you feel like you can’t get in full workouts or your health doesn’t allow that, go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be crazy to start with. Walk 5, 10, 15 minutes and keep adding time. If you are struggling, get blood work done. Check your hormones. Try to see if there are natural supplements that can help get your system back to where it needs to be.
Why is spouse before kids?
Your spouse is the most important relationship. It intertwines with the relationship you both have with your kids. If your relationship is failing, your kids will see it, if they don’t see it, they will feel it. God ordained marriage as a covenant between Him, your spouse, and you. Don’t take this lightly. Do your part and give your best. One day your kids will be all grown up and having their own families, you will have your spouse, make sure you enjoy each other.
How does parenting effect our relationship with our kids?
The way we parent our children affects our kids directly. It shapes how they act and react. It shapes what they perceive as right or wrong. While no one is the perfect parent, it is important to recognize when we fail as a parent and admit we were wrong to our kids. This could look like, “Jr., I’m sorry for yelling, that was wrong of me to lose my temper, please forgive me”. It is also important to not be permissive. Permissive parenting is neglectful parenting. Let your kids know you care about them by lovingly disciplining them, discipling them, and spending quality time with them. Play with them, get on their level. It doesn’t take much and it goes a long way. Love your kids where they are at and they will reciprocate that love back to you.
Why is household duties before friends and extended family?
I put this before friends and family, because your home is your family’s home. It is one of the most important places. It should feel safe and comfortable for your family. You should desire for your home to reflect the people living there. Sometimes it will get really messy, because we live there, but we work together as a team to put it back into order. This principle, chores before friends often applies to kids, so we need to model it as well. Kids usually have school, chores, then friend time. As managers of our homes our order should be similar, we should be modeling the behaviors we expect from our children.
What does all this have to do with setting boundaries?
Okay, you are probably wondering why I went through all that and didn’t mention boundaries. Here is the reasoning, you have to know what your priorities are so you can create boundaries around that to protect your priorities. Your list does not need to look just like mine. Make a list of your top priorities. As you can see mine is my faith, my family (living in my home), my household duties. After that would come friends, extended family, hobbies, and more.
When should you set boundaries?
Depending on my season in life, I might be able to manage all of my top priorities as well as extracurriculars. Other times, I can barely manage my top priorities (morning sickness, etc). I set up boundaries depending on my season of life, and I am unapologetic about it. Here is one example: I cannot travel very far if I have terrible nausea throughout my pregnancy, so if someone outside of my home wants to hang out, they are going to have to come to me. If they cannot, then this isn’t the right season for us to hang out.
Another rule I have because of my season of life, if a relationship doesn’t fulfill me outside of my home (friends, etc) I do not need it. My priorities can be exhausting or hard to maintain when I am in a hard season. If I have outside relationships I need them to fill my cup, not drain it.
You would think this is common sense, but it can be easier said than done depending on the relation: if they are not cheering you on, if they are not for you, if they are not for your family, YOU NEED TO DITCH that relationship. You do not need to be around people who speak poorly of you, especially in front of your children. You do not need to be around people who only take and never give. Trust me, you need to conserve that energy for your home. Don’t drain yourself with people like this outside of your home.
What about charity?
Usually being in a family you have to give so much grace and charity. As a mother, you may feel exhausted and drained. This is a 24/7 job, no vacations, no breaks. Your spouse and your kids are your priority. If you are in a season of life where the systems you have implemented in to your home are allowing you more free time, then yes, do charitable work. Do it joyfully, do it for the Lord.
But, if you are struggling to stay afloat and you are needing to be more inward (focusing on your top priorities), your charity is the work in your home and doing it joyfully. Also, charity does not need to take up your whole life. It can be a once a month event you help out. Or maybe once a month you find someone who is in a rough season and take them a healthy homemade meal.
My main point is to not be at the mercy of someone outside your home. Maybe there is a young mother at church who is constantly asking you to babysit or to do something for her. Instead of doing that, help encourage and give her the tools to manage her home joyfully. Of course there is no harm in babysitting for someone once in a while, but if they are constantly interfering with your home life, don’t do it. Set that boundary. “I would love to help you, but I’m unable to help in that capacity at this time in my life. Can I bring you a meal this month?”
Examples of Boundaries
Here are some examples of boundaries we have set:
We have personally chosen to not allow our kids to do sleepovers.
I will not allow kids to come play at my home who need to be babysat. If they can play independently with my kids and not cause trouble they are welcome. This does not mean I won’t help a friend once in a while with an infant or baby who needs to be watched. But I will not play babysitter for a child who is old enough and should be able to listen and obey.
Their emergency is not my emergency. It sounds harsh, but I can not be there for everyone. I do have close relationships where I would be there if I can. But my main priority is my family and if I can not be there I will not feel guilty.
If you talk poorly about me or my husband in front of our children you will no longer be allowed around them.
I do not feel pressured to respond to calls or texts immediately. I turn my phone on silent when I need a nap and for overnight sleep.