Monday, October 14, 2013

Balancing Act- Friends and Family

When you become a mom you expect to have to balance motherhood and your marriage. I don't know anyone who actually expects to have to balance friends and extended family. For the most part those two things are great and needed. But sometimes there is too much of a good thing. You need to learn one word- "NO". Repeat it. Memorize it. Use it.

Your parents drop in with no prior warning and want to come to dinner. Every once in a while that's fine. But several times a week- not so much. Your house will is a mess, you're exhausted, and you were planning on PBJ for supper because it's all you can muster. That visit can go one of two ways. You can say "Come on in. Watch the kids for awhile. And hey, do you mind helping me cook too?" And this is the one I would recommend most of the time. And they may even take pity on you and help clean up a little. But if they say "no" then you should probably as politely as possible figure out a way to say no too. Even better yet, set guidelines before hand. No drop ins unless you come bearing food. Or "please call first if we haven't asked you over. We may not be having a good day." Most parents are going to respect that. If they don't, well you can decide how to handle that. I don't recommend slamming the door in their face but if that's what it takes- just don't burn that bridge.

Same thing goes for friends. Say no. Set guidelines. Schedule things. Respect each others boundaries. I am going to include siblings and cousins in the "friend" mix because at this point in your life that's what they are. Make sure that you all understand that the occasional drop by is cool BUT call first. Schedule dinners and playdates but don't over book yourself. Limit it. You need rest and if you are always on the go, you're not going to get it. In fact, you are going to grow to dread them.

Don't not have friendships and don't miss out on the great opportunities to build grandparent relations but limit it. And learn to say no. Set boundaries and learn to be firm in them.

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