Even moms. Sometimes especially moms.
TGIS! Thank goodness it’s September. Am I right?
Don’t get me wrong, we had a good run there. Weekends at the beach, late nights and later mornings, sleepovers and day drinking (me, not the kids!). But, hey, we all knew it couldn’t last.
Honestly, who would want it to last anyways? Despite what they say, you know your kids are liking being back at school. Sure, they may not be eagerly anticipating science class, but what’s not to like about being surrounded by your friends all day? And say what they may about school, we all know that it keeps them from being bored.
As for us parents, well, we can only handle so much “quality time” with our little cherubs, too. (Relaxing lakeside isn’t the only reason I’m day drinking.) Can you imagine what life would be like without the school year to bring in a modicum of sanity to our lives?
The beauty of school is that it imposes boundaries and does the dirty work for us. And everyone needs boundaries. Even moms.
Setting basic boundaries with your kids
Yes, schools are great at establishing basic boundaries, kids learn about things like self-control and personal space, which leads to having good relationships and being a good citizen. But we can’t just rely on schools to set boundaries, because kids still feel their feelings and need to make the right choices at home.
And even though things like summer come along and throw a wrench into the works, it’s important to come up with your own family ground rules, based on respect, love and truth, and stick to those guidelines.
But don’t forget about yourself
As parents we need to set boundaries for our kids, but we also need to establish boundaries for ourselves, both for our benefit and that of our children. Admittedly, I’m no parenting expert, but here are a couple basics that I strive for.
First and foremost, set a good example and walk the walk. If you get mad at your kid for interrupting, make sure that you let them finish their thoughts before you respond, whether in a negative or positive way. Don’t get mad at them for spending too much time on the computer as you play your eighth game in a row of Words with Friends. It’s hard to get taken seriously when you’re a hypocrite (or so I’ve learned).
Second, let your kids know that you’re a person, not just a parent. You have a life, and it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. I’m not saying you should throw a hi-viz vest on them and lock them outside while you take some time for yourself. Just don’t always put their wants in front of your needs.
Boundaries are good for everyone. They help us define who we are and how we relate to others. By establishing basic principles, everyone knows where they stand and we’re less likely to react with emotion.
And if it keeps us from day drinking all year long, so much the better.