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Why setting boundaries is easy but maintaining them is hard

In Features, Mind Health, Motherhood, Stories by Nicole Fuge

Have you found that setting boundaries is easy but maintaining them is hard? You’re not alone. Let’s look at the modern mama’s ultimate challenge.

By Charlotte Cruz

Motherhood is an exhilarating roller coaster that no one truly prepares you for. In the midst of this enthralling journey, today’s mothers find themselves juggling various roles – from being an attentive mum, a doting partner, a dedicated professional to an avid social media user.

In this ever-evolving landscape, setting boundaries is imperative. While drawing the line seems simple enough, it’s the reinforcement that turns out to be the real challenge.


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The Evolution of Motherhood

Gone are the days when mums simply managed their homes and children. Today’s mother is a powerhouse, a multitasker. But as our roles have diversified, the lines have blurred.

The entwinement of personal and professional lives, facilitated by technology, makes boundaries even more crucial. Checking work emails while attending your little one’s school play or posting every minor achievement of your child on Instagram might seem innocuous, but they can signify a lack of boundaries.

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Why Set Boundaries?

Boundaries act as protective barriers. They give you control over your time, energy and mental space. They can prevent resentment, burnout and emotional exhaustion. For the ever-busy modern mum, boundaries can mean the difference between a healthy balanced life and chronic stress.

Imagine being able to prioritise your child’s bedtime routine over a work call. Think about the freedom of turning off social media notifications during family time. Envision a space where you can be fully present with your loved ones without distractions. That’s the power of boundaries.

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Drawing the Line is the Easy Part

Telling your boss that you can’t take evening calls because it’s your child’s storytime? That’s a boundary. Informing friends that weekends are family time? That’s a boundary too.

Today’s mothers are adept at drawing these lines. Armed with a wealth of information and a strong sense of individuality, they know what they want and they’re not afraid to voice it.

However, here lies the predicament. Setting a boundary is one thing, sticking to it is another.

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Maintaining Boundaries: The Ultimate Challenge

Imagine this: Your child has just settled into bed, you’re about to dive into your favourite book and the phone buzzes. It’s a work email marked ‘urgent’. The boundary you set regarding work-life balance suddenly feels threatened. Do you respond to the email or wait till the morning?

This is where the rubber meets the road. Maintaining boundaries requires fortitude, consistency and, at times, the ability to say ‘no’.

Modern mums face immense pressure. The ‘perfect mum‘ stereotype perpetuated by glossy magazines and picture-perfect social media feeds can be overwhelming. There’s an unsaid expectation to excel in every sphere. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real, but it’s essential to remember that every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you might be saying ‘no’ to something else, perhaps something more valuable.

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4 Practical Steps for Reinforcing Boundaries
1. Regularly Reassess

Your boundaries aren’t set in stone. As your children grow and circumstances change, your boundaries will need revisiting and adjusting.

2. Communicate

Make sure your partner, family and employer understand and respect your boundaries. It’s easier to maintain them when you have a support system.

3. Practice Self-compassion

You’re bound to slip up occasionally. Instead of berating yourself, use it as a learning experience. Remember, it’s progress, not perfection.

4. Seek Inspiration

Surround yourself with like-minded mums or join supportive communities. Their stories can inspire you to hold onto your boundaries.

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For the spirited modern mum striving for a harmonious life, boundaries are non-negotiable. While setting them might be straightforward, maintaining them is a conscious, daily effort. It’s an art that requires perseverance and resilience.

So, stand tall, set those boundaries, and more importantly, guard them fiercely. Your wellbeing, peace of mind, and the happiness of your little ones depend on it. Remember, it’s not just about disruption, but about creating a beautiful balance.

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