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The 101 of Setting Boundaries

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Feb 15, 2022

Ok, so it’s time to talk about setting boundaries.

I have been loving having the girls back at school, and thoroughly enjoying chatting with other mums at the pick up… socially distanced of course!

There is one thing that is clear, as the new school year really starts to get into swing, the extra activities, the extra requests are going to start flooding in too. This is something that ALL the mums I’ve been talking to are dreading. But we don’t have to face it with dread, we can be clear and consistent in what’s important and start the year by setting healthy boundaries. How? Well I’m glad you asked :-)

Firstly it is important to understand that there are different types of boundaries, from the extremely rigid where you keep your distance from others and you might even appear distanced or detached, this may even affect the type of friendships you’re able to build. To the really open boundaries where you may be getting too involved in others problems, you may find you overshare personal information and you fear the rejection of others so always agree to everything. 

If you have healthy boundaries you are clear about the type of behaviour you accept from other people, but also establish what people can expect from you. You may share some personal information, but not too much; and you can accept when others tell you ‘no’. 

So how do we establish healthy boundaries?

It is important to set your boundaries early, such as at the start of the school year. However, if you recognise that you currently have very loose boundaries, you may want to start small and focus on one thing at a time.

Remember, your boundaries can be flexible. You may have more rigid boundaries with work or people you’ve only just met, but you’re more open with good friendships you’ve already established. 

Take responsibility for your thoughts. You can’t influence or affect what someone else thinks or feels, you can only control your own thoughts and feelings. If you’re someone who worries often about the thoughts and feelings of others, you are exhausting yourself and not actually helping them either. Focus on your thoughts, how you feel. Reflect, journal and get clear on yourself. Know what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not. Know what you’re prepared to accept and what you’re not. This knowledge will make you feel stronger and more in control.

Set up good routines for yourself and your family, making a priority healthy eating, regular exercise and sleep. You need to build these key aspects into your routine so they are not something you need to think about during your day, they naturally come as part of your day. Also good routines ensure that no one is left wondering what happens next, you and your family know what’s expected of them and when.

People pleasing is very normal and often comes from a good place - we all want to be like and appreciated. But if you are pleasing others at the expense of your own happiness, this can lead to resentment and in the longer term some big issues. Try to avoid pleasing others, you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything your kids ask of you. You don’t have to always volunteer for the PTA. You don’t have to always pick up after your family. Your kids and your family are very capable of doing a lot of things themselves. And if you’re always the one to say yes, then you are also the one others come to rely on!

Practice saying ‘no’. Because you have already taken ownership of your own thoughts and feelings, you are also clear about your values and what is important to you. If someone asks you to do something that isn’t a good fit, then it is OK to say ‘no’. Practice it on the small things, and you will find you get better at it. Then you will be empowered to focus on what’s important and spend your time and energy in this space.

If you are able to set healthy boundaries, you will find that overall you have good mental health, good emotional health, and can avoid burn out or mum fatigue! 

If you would like chat about these tips and how you can take back control of your life, book your free discussion now -


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