As your kids grow, you teach them to be more & more independent. Eventually, this leads to most kids wanting to move out of your house. They might be heading off to college, the military or even their first apartment. It’s a bittersweet time for most parents and boundaries can help you navigate this time more easily.
Why is this time bittersweet? There’s the success of raising your kids. Then there’s the sadness that comes with your kids moving out. As your kids get closer to that time when they are going to move out, you can feel yourself pulled in so many directions. So much is happening physically, mentally & emotionally at this time of your life.
The many directions…
There’s the direction of your kids. You want to do everything that you can to make sure that they are off to the best start.
There’s yourself to consider. What are you going to do once your kids leave? What activities will you use to fill your time? Do you want to stay in the same job or move on to another? Do you want to move to a house that fits you better as an empty nester? So many questions to take in and consider.
You might find yourself pulled closer to your job or business. You’ve been building it up for years & don’t know whether to stick with it or move on to a different position or something totally different.
Then, there’s also the direction of your own aging parents that you might feel pulled towards. For so many moms, the time when your kids are moving out coincides with the time when your own parents are getting to an age where some changes need to be made. It can be the physical or mental health of your parents that is declining. It could also be finances that are more challenging for your parents. There are many reasons that you’re being pulled deeper into the life of your aging parents.
What are you to do?
One of the first things that I always tell one of my clients is to check in with herself. In order to know what you really want to do, you have to know your own wants & desires. Much of this information is stored in your own body already. Your body is full of wisdom & really wants to be heard. It’s waiting for you to listen, but first you have to stop to do so.
Unfortunately for so many moms, after spending 18+ years of putting their kids as a priority, it’s difficult to check in with yourself. You’re not used to doing it. Instead, you’re used to putting your own wants & needs second so that you can be a really good mom. You’ve neglected that important relationship with yourself and you don’t even know where to start with it.
I speak with so many moms who are at this point. You know that you need to make a change but you don’t know how to do it or even what to do. While you’re being pulled in so many directions, it’s even harder to do that checking in with yourself. Instead of taking time to sit, breathe, think & just be, you’re making sure college applications are finished, your own parents are going to their doctor’s appointments & that important project at work is completed.
Need to say no to someone? Need to turn down an event? What helps with both of those? Boundaries do.
Moms are so used to taking care of everyone and saying ‘yes’ to getting things done, that boundaries feel impossible to have. Setting boundaries around what you are willing to do & what you will not do is one way to stop being pulled in so many directions.
Whether you realize it or not, when you say yes to one thing, then you are saying no to other things. When you say yes to an event, then you are saying no to that quiet time in your backyard. When you say yes to cleaning your parents’ house, you are saying no to going to the gym for the Yoga or Zumba class that helps you to stay sane.
Despite what many moms are led to believe, your energy & time does have a limit. You can only be in one place at one time.
With that in mind, where do you want to be & what do you want to do?
After taking some time to check-in with yourself, you can then begin to set those boundaries. If you really need that exercise class in your life, then saying no to something else is a boundary that you need to set and maintain.
Boundaries aren’t always easy!
Boundaries can be incredibly difficult to maintain. As soon as you set one, you will find that you’re tested. Someone will ask you to an event or you child will need last minute help with a project. This is you being pulled in different directions when this happens. Having your firm boundaries in place will help you to stop that constant tug-of-war over your time and energy.
Feeling as if you’re being pulled in too many directions is often a product of not having firm boundaries set in place. I’ve been there. I know it often happens because you just want to keep everyone happy.
Unfortunately, that means others are happy but not yourself. This is a practice that will eventually exhaust you.
Yes, your parents, your kids, your friends & your job are all important. Yes, you can still have them all in your life. You can have boundaries too so that you aren’t being pulled in so many directions all at the same time.
Boundaries are a choice & only you can make that choice for yourself!
You don’t have to do this alone.
Setting boundaries is one of the things that I help moms do. After spending so many years letting other people pull you in different directions, it’s really hard to set your own boundaries. That was me several years ago. I had support in changing this in my life & now I get to support other moms as they learn to set their own boundaries.
The beginning of your empty nest life is full of complications. You don’t have to go through it alone. I can help you with this transition through my private 1×1 work & my group program. If I’m not the right fit for you, then find a therapist that can help. Get support as you navigate through this transition and enjoy this time of life too!
If you’d like to chat about your options in working with me, then schedule a free call. We’ll discuss what would work best for you.
Whatever you choose, begin to set your boundaries & stop letting other people pull you in so many directions. You’ll feel better & enjoy life more!
Love & hugs,