I Walk the Line
by Johnny Cash
“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine, I walk the line”
A mother in the 21st Century finds herself, by default, in a perpetual state of seeking balance in her life. Whether she is married, single, working or not. Finding and maintaining balance is not easy. Another tendency (many, not all), modern mommies face is the tendency to over-commit, or put another way, to take on responsibilities and ownership of tasks/jobs which are not necessarily our own. In its most severe form, we call this co-dependency, but in our day to day lives it may look something more like this:
“I am so overwhelmed but don’t know what to give up. Being on the PTA, volunteering in Suzy’s classroom, a group leader for brownies, coaching soccer, helping in the nursery at church, taxing kids to multiple after-school activities, mowing my neighbor’s lawn are all good things. HOW CAN I SAY NO TO, (OR GIVE UP), GOOD THINGS?”
We need to learn to set better boundaries, myself included.
The simplest way to set a boundary is the word “no”. Similarly, if an added measure is needed, there may be a need to physically remove yourself from a situation. Both of these actions have confrontational and antagonistic, connotations, and as women, we tend to avoid confrontation which puts us at risk.
In their book Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend write, “Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.”
Here are five ways we can begin to set healthy boundaries, and thus achieve balance in our lives:
1. Track your day, hour-by-hour, for one week to find pockets of time which could be more wisely spent.
2. Schedule your priorities, don’t prioritize your schedule.
3. Make certain time “Sacred”, and do not let anything interfere or infringe on that block of time, safe for loss of limb. Example: What this might look like will be different for every family. It could be dinner from 6-6:30, with no interruptions, family night 7-8 every Wednesday-no extracurricular activities—yes they can miss a practice, date night with husband/significant other first Friday of every month, or family quit time 12-2pm all summer long, regardless of child’s age, quiet/prayer/meditation time each morning 6-6:30am.
4. Before committing to an obligation/responsibility, take three days to analyze whether or not participating in this task will help or hinder your goal for balance in motherhood.
5. Say, out loud, a positive boundary and balance affirmation of your choice daily. Here is mine, “I have a spirit of power and love inside me. I am calm and have a well-balanced mind. I am walking in discipline and I have self-control.” (paraphrased from 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)
As a survivor of incest & sexual abuse (the perps never served any jail time nor did their wives ever divorce them or seek legal separation) women are forced by society to stay with sub-par criminals b/c support for anything else is almost non-existent.
Yes.. we have come a long way, but even our current leadership seems to support incest & sexual abuse. One daughter is neglected.. While the other puts her arm out so her Father doesn’t inappropriately caress her backside. His fixation is not his wife, but this daughter of his.
Forgiving the perp, reclaiming your ‘self’ & setting boundaries are necessary in order to thrive in life. I’m 58 y.o. This is a lifelong endeavor to put the odds in the hands of victims instead of perps. We can help more folks thrive if we give them lifelong tools that work. Support RAINN, WAR, alcohol/drug re-hab centers, etc. Stay thriving.
Helpful tips even for a non mom. I am fairly good at not taking on too much but it has not always been that way.