How to Respect The Work-in-Progress Boundaries of a Single Mama - BY Illiah Manger for MotherHustle
“Are you like me, unaware that boundaries don’t exist until you find yourself giving and giving and giving and feeling violated?”

Ruffle no feathers. Go with the flow. Be flexible.

I had no boundaries.

My first daughter was born, and I learned to say no unapologetically.

My second daughter was born, and I started to say yes enthusiastically, but only to those people and circumstances right for my girls.

I experienced divorce, and it became clear that I needed to learn to establish boundaries for myself, first. Ignoring my own well-being contributed to a painful and traumatic year for myself and my family. I learned that in order to give everything I am and everything I have, I needed to carve my space in the world — and own it.

Are you like me, unaware that boundaries don’t exist until you find yourself giving and giving and giving and feeling violated?

This only happens if you allow it. Join me in taking action now.

I firmly believe that boundaries are an essential element of self-care and self-love. The pain and joy of losing and recreating my life vision have taught me that becoming clear about limits and creating space for myself is the first step. Communicating and enforcing boundaries takes discipline, courage, vulnerability, awareness.

I recognize now that I need boundaries around my relationships, career, privacy and space.

These boundaries are a work in progress, but knowing that I’m working to build them is giving me a stronger vision of the future and what I need.

Respect and understanding of a changed relationship: we have to look at one another as professional co-workers (also known as co-parents).

Validity of my career: Unless I ask you for your opinion, don’t make judgments.

Parents are the parents: We are the decision makers, no one else.

Respect of my privacy: Words said in confidence are sacred.

Respect of my home: My home is my personal sanctuary.

At seven, I fell off the swings into the rough sand below. Tears stinging my eyes, I bravely stood up, brushed off my hands and pretended to be ok. Looking down at my bloody knees, I bravely nodded to my care providers that I was fine. No band-aid needed.

Seven-year-old me still exists.

I’m standing now with those same skinned knees, telling you how much better I am. But, when others disrespect and belittle my newfound boundaries, the wound reopens and takes longer to heal. It hurts more. The trauma of this life experience intensifies.

Friends and family of newly single mamas, take care. Make no assumptions. Divorce, no matter the circumstances, is a raw and vulnerable state. I have read that it takes two to five years to fully recover. So, when you want to help, just one question is necessary:

What do you want my support to look like for you?


MotherHustle panelist Illiah Manger is the creative mind and chief designer behind C&V, where she collaborates with daring business owners with heart. She is known for creating clarity and focus while allowing her clients to co-pilot the design process. Illiah wholeheartedly believes in brands that are intimate and designed to tell a story. She is also the co-founder of Elevate & Cultivate, an online community for design professionals to strengthen their skills, get feedback on their work and make friendships stronger than Gotham Ultra.

Outside of C&V and Elevate & Cultivate, Illiah is a paper lover, mom of two daughters, earl grey tea drinker, cookie hunter and typography lover. Find her onFacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

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