Yes. No. Let me see. Maybe.
Setting boundaries is one of the most complicated and challenging demands of a single mother. You are the lone ranger leading pack. It comes down to clear communication.
As a mother of a 17 year old son and a 13 year old daughter, these kids test the limits more than my toddler niece who is 22 months. And when I say “no”, I am not the most liked person in the house.
About the young adults
My two young adults are night and day. The sun and the moon.
She gives. He takes.
She works hard. He lives in Lazyville (Population: 1).
She is full of gratitude. He makes me wonder.
Each kid handles their boundaries in different ways. One is pleasant, the other one gives me grief.
Once upon a time
My son asked for something that didn’t quite feel right to give him and my response was, “Let me think about this one.” As a mother running my own business, it would have been easier for me to just say yes and be done with it.
I was in a dilemma.
I didn’t want to say no but I wasn’t sure a yes was going to be the right thing to do. I went back and forth in my head like a tennis match. Yes? No? Yes? No? No? Yes?
Then I did it. I laid it all out. I outlined a series of conditions that had to be met in order for me to say yes.
The conditions: If this, then that. If you complete this, then you get this. I need to be super clear on the conditions and their expectations. This was not just for me, but a life lesson for him as well.
I knew this was not going to be easy for him and it was something that had to done. There is a domino effect that would happen if I said yes to him. He would keep coming back to me for something else and he will have turned into a freight train and I would be Flat Mom (without the perks of traveling all over the world).
I wanted nothing more than to just make it easy, say yes, and move on.
But it’s not that simple.
Life is not that simple.
To him, the request seemed simple and did not need any conditions, yet I was not about to allow his request to be on his terms.
I know myself well enough to know that, at heart, I am a softy. And like most mothers, I place my kids’ needs and wants before my very own. I eat last when meals are cooked, too.
I felt guilt. Loads of guilt. A guilt that has lingered around like stinky laundry – the guilt of being a single mother who has to make these decisions and stick to them. The pain of turning my head, leaving him shaking his.
The guilt eats at my soul, yet I know this is best because boundaries are necessary. The endless thought racing through my head is, “One day he will understand…”
How did the story end?
Unfortunately, he did not fulfill his part and did not get what he wanted. I stood my ground and did not budge.
From my fingertips to your eyes