The post that took me 4 hours to write

Something happened in my life that I would, typically, never write about. It involves other people. It involves conflict. It could offend. {that’s not what I’m trying to do…but it could happen} But, because this go ’round has everything to do with how I raise my child, and me as a mother, and me learning how to be a mother…well, that’s what this blog is all about. Right? So I’m going to write about it. I’m writing because I have a sneaky suspicion that I am not alone…and that maybe somebody, somewhere, will relate to this post and it will bring freedom in your life too.

Here’s the backstory…up until I was 26 years old I had some pretty messed up views on relationships. Not necessarily relationships with boys…although I had a few {rather large} issues there, but relationships with close friends and family. I viewed the relationship as more important that any type of conflict that arose. Let me translate…if something were to happen between me and a member of my family or one of my close friends, like they wronged me…in a big way…I would never bring it up, I would never show them anger, I would say to myself, “This relationship is more important than _______”, and I would just drop the issue. Every time. I was/am a people-pleaser to my core, and I justified this type of mentality by calling myself a “peacemaker”. There is a “healthy” peace and then there’s “let’s just sweep everything under the rug and pretend like there’s no problem” peace. I was the latter. If I’m not careful, I can still be the latter.

Now, along with this type of mentality comes an issue with boundaries. Because when you view the relationship as more important that, well, anything…then people will do just about anything to you…because.they.can. Um, let’s pause right here and let me just say that if you were to meet me, in real life, you would never know that this is an issue in my life. I come across as very strong-willed, I’m opinionated, I’m vocal, and I’m kinda rebellious to rules when they’re forced on me. I can spot when somebody is walking all over a friend of mine from a mile away. But, nevertheless, at the core of who I am, I am boundary-less and a people-pleaser. I would go so far as to say that deep deep down, on a very subconscious level, I don’t truly believe boundaries are biblical. Still. To this day. That’s how I live my life.

When I married Brad all of this sort of came to a head. All of a sudden I was a married woman. My last name changed. I was no longer a child. I no longer asked for permission to live my life. Oh my word, the side effects of not letting people control my life anymore blew my mind. I mean, can you imagine? Can you imagine drastically changing the way that you’ve operated for 27 years? Can you imagine being a doormat for 27 years and then all of a sudden waking up and saying, “no. I don’t like this.” or “no, thank you, but we’re going to do it this way.” or, even worse, “that’s unacceptable behavior and I’m not going to stand for it. Nor am I going to apologize for something I never did.” I could tell you stories that would make your jaw drop. The power struggle that ensued is mind-boggling. I understood, psychologically, why it was happening…but it blew my mind.

Then I got pregnant. Then I had a baby. A baby who at this moment in time is standing behind my computer screen, poking her head out the side of it, and playing peek-a-boo with me. It’s the cutest thing you’ll ever see. In preparation for said baby, I read a book called Loving Our Kids On Purpose by Danny Silk. If you are a parent, or plan on becoming a parent, I suggest that you go to the bookstore today and read that book. It will radically shift the way you view the world and the way you raise your kids. The whole foundation of the book is that we’re not made to be controlled by others or to control others. Go figure. Raise your hand if you like to be controlled by others. Me either. In the book Danny talks about boundaries, how boundaries are a good thing, how we can’t control what other people say and do but we can control ourselves, what we do, and what happens around us. He talks about knowing how to set the right boundaries for the type of person that you’re dealing with. {For instance, you don’t use an electric fence for keeping rabbits out of your garden. Just like you wouldn’t use a 1ft little picket fence for keeping a moose out of your garden.} He talks about refusing to be in a a power struggle, and the way that you refuse to be in a power struggle is you set boundaries, and then you stick to them. Profound, I know. It releases you from anger. It releases you from a victim mentality. It let’s you see a power struggle for what it is…a struggle for control over another person’s life. It puts you, and you alone, in control of your life. Hallelujah. Oh, and p.s., it’s biblical…go figure.

So, if it’s not obvious by now, let me just lay it out there for you…I’m walking through this. Now. Today. As Zoe’s mother. My role as Zoe’s mother was challenged. My decisions in raising Zoe were not just challenged, they were deemed unfit. All of a sudden my boundaries seemed crystal clear. That type of behavior is unacceptable and has no place in my life. Period. The end. And, oddly enough, when I confronted the issue I wasn’t even that upset. I just laid down my boundaries. I can not control the actions or words, or even thoughts, of the other person…but I can say, “Hey, you need to say that you’re sorry, and that you don’t still believe that I abuse my kid. Otherwise, no, I’m not going to let you watch Zoe.” Setting boundaries doesn’t seem like rocket science anymore…not when it comes to me as a mom or my daughter. I’m not kidding when I say that 2 years ago I would have never addressed this situation. I would have never asked for an apology. It would’ve been swept up under the rug with all the other stuff.

I’m learning what “healthy” looks like in relationships and I’m refusing to accept anything less. It’s hard. Boundaries can sometimes feel/sound-like/be ultimatums. It’s heart-breaking. You wish people make good decisions, and then they don’t. You want reconciliation, but for the right reasons…not because things just get swept up under the rug for the sake of the relationship. So, I pray. Hard. I pray for grace. I pray for strength to maintain boundaries. I pray that my heart is in the right place. I pray for continued forgiveness. I pray for reconciliation. I pray that God, the true Peacemaker, will soften hearts. I pray that bitterness won’t creep in. I pray that I will continue to honor the person. I pray that my words will be honest, gracious, and loving. That everything I do and say is done in love.

I pray because I’m not there yet.

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3 responses to “The post that took me 4 hours to write

  1. honest and transparent. Thanks Becca. God is using you! I am proud to see what I see in you coming forth. Hugs, Lees

  2. Wow. This post was worth every hour you spent typing it! I hope/pray that I will walk in the wisdom you show here when I begin raising my child(ren). I also know that 1) you are an AWESOME mom to Zoe, 2) I can already see how your type mothering has benefited Zoe, and 3) can only imagine how annoying/frustrating other people’s opinions on child rearing can be in this process. Kudos to you friend for establishing and maintaining your boundaries.

    PS – Danny Silk rocks! 🙂

  3. I’m like the opposite from what you were. I take every single little thing and blow it up to have this huge meaning in life. i.e. you didn’t wash the dishes after dinner? Oh, well that must mean that you don’t care enough to keep our house clean which means that you won’t help raise our child. LOL Ok not THAT ridiculous but pretty darn close. I think I need to read the opposite book that tells you to chill out and let things slide…

    On a more serious note, thank you for posting this. I love the self-reflection. And I will say, having a kid really changes your perspective on things and lets your prioritize things in your life to better your child.

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