Boundaries. The word we all avoid, yet need the most. The word that scares and makes people run, yet that has the potential to keep us safe.
Working as a psychotherapist for years and now as a coach to female business owners, I can say this is the number one thing that separates the successful from the defeated.
We run from the word because it has potential for uncomfortable conversations. If we could only overlook the fleeting uncomfortableness and acknowledge the long-term benefits, it would make it so much easier to digest.
Before baby, I was a champ at saying no and protecting my time (or so I thought). Once I became a mama, I soon realized I no longer had the time I once had. Heck, I couldn’t even find time to shower some days. Ladies I know I’m not the only one!
Between the lack of sleep and the raging hormones, I was a hot mess. And the number one thing I took away from that experience was the effect that sleep deprivation has on your boundaries.
When you are sleep deprived, you become overly emotional. Sleep deprivation usually goes hand in hand with unhealthy eating. I noticed this big time when I was practicing as a therapist — when people sleep right, they eat right. And when there is an absence from both, emotions start to fly off the radar.
(Ever find yourself snapping at people, having difficulty saying no, feeling guilt over setting boundaries during a time of sleep deprivation or just plain hunger? I’m sure you have, because it’s pretty normal.)
We are exhausted, hangry and overwhelmed, so we say no. Then we feel guilty. Then we look down on ourselves. Then our confidence drops. Then the next person asks us for a favor, and we say yes out of guilt. In turn, our confidence decreases. Then we feel even more exhausted and resentful. Then we are angry with ourselves for not saying no. And the whole cycle begins again.
So how do we move forward from this pattern and learn healthier boundaries in our lives, especially as newer moms or business owners?
You keep it simple. You say these six simple words each and every time you’re presented with an opportunity for your boundaries to be crossed:
Easy peasy. It’s as simple as that mama. This was my saving grace after I figured it out around week 16.
“I don’t actually have to say yes OR no right now. I can decide when I’m in a better frame of mind, after I’ve rested, eaten, or even had some time to think about it.”
What this now does is trigger a reaction in the other person. They then take this as there is a possibility you may say NO to whatever they are asking. And if you were to say no, maybe they should have some sort of backup?
If Great Aunt Sally wants to visit the baby today and you tell her you’re in the middle of something and will get back to her shortly, that signals to her that today might not be the best day, but it would be a PLUS for her if it does end up working out. This deters her from hopping in the car and driving over to your home!
If your best friend asks you to drive her to the airport next week, but you aren’t sure you can juggle this around picking the kids up from school, the “let me get back to you” will signal a reaction in her to find alternative rides.
Also, when we are put on the spot and feel pressured like we need to give an answer right away, it doesn’t always come from a place of empowerment. We may overcommit and later regret. OR we may be overwhelmed in the moment, say no, and later wish we had taken space to think it over and make it work.
Give yourself the time to breathe, process, reply with “I’ll get back to you,” and then thoroughly decide whether this is an appropriate yes or no for you.
Happy boundaries, mamas!
Kate Crocco is a Confidence and Mindset Coach, writer, speaker, and the founder of The Confident Ladies Club™ Community. She has been featured on numerous podcasts where she shares her journey of becoming a licensed psychotherapist, owning a private practice and then creating a second business coaching lady bosses.
Kate’s mission is to empower women to go after their dreams by helping them break down the walls and fears that have been holding them back from greatness for too long. She lovingly challenges them to step into the best version of themselves. Kate has worked with thousands of women while building a six-figure business alongside motherhood. She currently resides in NY with her darling husband, daughter, and rescue pup Turbo. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and grab her free Success Kit here.
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