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Boundaries in Summer

It’s June 1st, foggy, and it feels like the official start of summer. Everything gets a little loose in May with all the end-of-year things and travel and guests, and are we doing school over the summer and which chores do I "really" have to do?

Time for a re-set of Boundaries. 

Where are you clear that you need to make a change? Just pick one thing that you feel rock-solid on, and tell everyone in the family what you’ve decided with a minimum of explanation. It’s not open for negotiation because you already thought it through. Chances are it’s been a pain point for months and you reached out to friends and got ideas and prayed about it and read a book and all the things. No way anyone else in the family has given it that much thought.

Thinking it through in different areas helps me. Not that I care equally about all of them, but everything here comes from a recent conversation with another mom.

Driving - who drives whom to where and under what conditions? What chores or behavior expectations are attached to driving? This has been my main boundary area for a while because it's the clearest line with the teens, but I still need to think through the summer driving expectations.

Napping/Resting/Quiet Time - everyone deserves some downtime and will be nicer afterward. Ladies, make your quiet time truly restorative! Read a book, write a letter, call an old friend. Be a person! Don’t clean your shower unless it brings you joy.

Showers and Bathroom Time - if it bothers you to answer questions through the door or have kids walk in, train them out of the habit! There are moms of a dozen children who get bathroom time to themselves. You can take a couple of extra minutes to moisturize and do makeup before jumping back into Mom life.

Meals - what kind of options do kids have to make their own food or eat what you make? Phones off at the table, or how else to help people focus on each other and talk pleasantly? Can they talk without interrupting? Do they ask to leave when they are finished? Clear their plates without reminders? Maybe this is the time to have them start washing their dishes after meals.

Scheduling and Communication- This is an ongoing challenge for many families. Do people even look at the paper or whiteboard calendar? I’ll be reminding my kids to update that and asking them each day if anything new came up in the schedule. I often find that I forgot to tell one person even though I told everyone else, so we need a routine of talking about the schedule even if it seems repetitive. Do you have a rule about how much notice you need for new events?

Money - when kids have summer jobs and extra ways to earn, it can be a good time to help them clarify savings goals and habits, and what you will and won’t pay for. What activities and subscriptions are valuable, and which are not?

Waking and Sleeping times - whether you aren’t ready to face the day before 7 am, or you are digging deep to parent after dark, you can set limits on noise/talking/where people can be at certain times. Or where you will be, like “now that the little kids are settled I’m going to bed. You’re welcome to come in if you want to chat before I fall asleep.” If you collect the technology, you don’t have to stay up late. Conversely, don’t accept the pressure to wake up before your kids or stay up late to get time to yourself. They can also give you space at other times of day! See Napping above.

Attitude - What words are they not allowed to say and what are consequences you’re prepared to consistently enforce? What will you do when they speak with an attitude - ask them to try again, count to 10, take a break outside? What will help the kids use kind words to each other and enjoy their time with each other? My kids often need more to do, and many moms are delighted when their 10-12 year old finds a job for a neighbor such as gardening, housecleaning, mother's helper, etc,...

Brain Space - it's ok to ask for a quiet car ride or a break on answering questions. I also point out to my kids when they are asking questions that they know the answer to if they thought about it, or asking questions where they are unlikely to remember the answer. Nix the long conversations about to start just before you arrive somewhere and tell them they can ask again later.

Noise - Are certain sounds irritating to you while driving? Tell the kids. Certain sounds are intensely distracting while driving, so a lot of toys aren't allowed int he car that would be fine for me in the house. And how loud is too loud inside? After dinner? You set the framework and enforce it, and they will adjust.

Finally, remember that almost any boundary you might set has already been set by another mom. You won't be the only one, and you don't need to feel guilty for clearly telling your kids what you will and won't do, and what they are allowed to do or not do.

If you'd like to join our candid discussion on Boundaries and learn more about our Moms Summer Intensive, join us at 12 pm PT/ 3 pm ET on Tuesday June 4th, for a FREE Zoom class!

You can also join our Moms Summer Intensive to go deep into the topics you need, and get the support to make the changes you've been hoping for.

In the meantime, have a great weekend, and put your feet up when you can!

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