Each of us sets boundaries in our lives. Some grow subconsciously over time, others with much more thought. We set boundaries for ourselves, and we set boundaries for those with whom we interact. They’re important and sometimes downright imperative.
When you get married, you inherit your spouse’s family, for better or worse. There are traditions that were there before you existed and expectations your spouse has adhered to for years prior to your arrival. Your spouse was part of a family unit that worked a certain way, just as you were part of a family who did things possibly a completely different way. And now, you’ve got to find the balance. You and your spouse get the opportunity to solidify the way you want your family to operate. While you are still a part of your original family, you are also beginning a family of your own.
Finding the balance between your newly-formed family and the two you have conjoined is tough. I get it. Either you won’t be able to make every holiday celebration or you’ll wear yourself out trying to. You may have to say “no” to family coming over. You may find yourself wondering how to not hurt anyone’s feelings.
Maybe you’ve got in-laws who drop by without warning. Maybe you’re expected to be at family dinner every Friday night (Gilmore Girls, anyone?).
The thing is, when you get right down to it, you need time to be a family. You need time to yourselves. You need some things to just be shared between you, your spouse and your kids. You need boundaries.
Between work and daycare, some of us only get a couple hours a day with our kids before they go to bed. Those hours are precious and sometimes, I just don’t want to share them. I need to be able to say no. I get to be a little bit selfish with my family.
Boundaries don’t have to mean total disconnection from your family. They can simply help you mold the family you want, the family life you crave.