healthy boundaries = healthy relationships

I’ve been through some muck in my life, I’ve lived through times where I let people dictate how I spent my time, I spent all my energy trying to save, help and be there for others. Often with little appreciation or notice. After watching it in others it was a mirror that showed me how bad it was. I decided to take control and research everything I could on how to set healthy boundaries.

I learned some skills and a new mindset for how and when to say no or even, “that doesn’t work for me”.

It was LIFE CHANGING!

I love to use my life experiences as teachable and helpful lessons for others so hopefully they don’t have to go through what I did.

I invite you to be a guest and listen in on a Free class I’ll be offering. You can dial in on your computer to listen or call in. Everyone who registers for the free call will be sent a recording of it, regardless if you were able to listen to the call live or not.

I will be talking about ways we can all surround ourselves with people that support us in our goals, say no when needed and help eliminate toxic relationships.

It’s a win – win.

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You can sign up here:







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The dirty little secret of some of us mommas and wives

 

Let’s get really real for a moment here.

I can remember back, I was living in Texas raising a beautiful 2 year old little girl. I glowed even thinking of her, she was a gift and I loved everything about being a mom.  I really wanted to be a mom that stayed at home and raised her. I had it all figured out, the more I was with her the more I could fill her so full of love, healthy food, and wisdom.  My mom had raised 5 of us, seriously how hard could it be raising 1.  Most of the time it was amazing, fulfilled pieces of me that I didn’t even know were there and I didn’t think life could be better.  Looking back, my marriage was pretty much done. I just didn’t see it.  I really just figured there would be good years and bad years. And the 3 year bad cycle we were in would be followed by a lifelong good cycle… hmmm.  We really never fought so I figured it was fine and I shelved my feelings about it.

But under that, this part of myself that I didn’t want to even see, hear or acknowlede was growing louder.  I started to notice it in pictures, a subtle sparkle that was missing.  What was I doing wrong? I really did love getting to be a stay at home mom and wife.  I was 25 and I just kept plugging.  With my  head high.

When money was starting to get tight I noticed there was something different about the way I handled it. Me, the one who worked 3 jobs while in college suddenly was terrified of getting a job.  How could I even think of putting my little angel into the care of someone else.  And I can’t say I was wrong for having those fears, maybe it was brilliance masked in fear. Realistically, its possible the part time work I may have done at that time very well could have not even paid for the babysitter while I worked, who knows.  The growing issue was something deeper.

I was starting to lose my mojo. My confidence. My certainty of my place in the world.  In theory I knew I had lots to offer but I felt bad and sad about myself.  I was missing my connection to the outside world.  My connection to women that understood me, that wouldn’t judge me or think I’m a bad mom or wife because there was some tough days.

In the years since I have gotten to do it again. Both a new marriage and a new child.  6 years ago I met my soulmate husband.  Then almost 10 years after my daughter was born I got to be a work from home mom with my son.  Things were so beautifully different this time. I made sure to find connection, I continued to work even if only a few hours a week to keep my toe in the water. But most importantly I continued to nurture my own self and honor my place in my family.  I set better boundaries with people and I reached out for wisdom from nurturing and wise women around me.  It isn’t always rosy every second, I’ve felt judged by others outside my family for my choices, there are times I wished I made more money, times I wished I just had a normal job that I could come home from, times I have felt paralyzing fear because I’m pursuing my dream and I want it SO bad. The time I called my sister having a breakdown because I felt like all I was doing was feeding my 4 month old son ALL THE TIME. I wanted my boobs back.  But each of those stressful times passed and have fallen into their proper place with time and perspective.

I think it all comes down to this. We can be really good moms, really loving and doting wives but if we don’t honor our well being as women then we will crack.  I’ve realized how fragile people are. The ones who are having a momentary emotional breakdown are often not the weak ones. They are often the ones who carry more than those around them.  When we aren’t living in tune with our authentic, soulful mission we feel that disconnect.   We need to just quiet down sometimes and listen to what our inner self, God, intuition is showing us is right for us.

I really dream of an online place for us as soulful women to gather, share and support one another. A place without judgement or competition. A place without bragging over our kids test scores or size. A place where we can be strong, wise and nurturing while simultaneously being soft, vulnerable and supportive.  I have visions of having an online community, a series of video interviews with women around the country and the globe who are making things happen and thriving through all walks of life.   My first step in  making these things a reality is an online journey I have created called, “Finding myself in the moonlight”.  This is going to be a 6 week online course where I will facilitate presenting various topics up for discussion, throw out what people have found has worked for them and we will use those things, my own artistic, inspirational touch and the wisdom of everyone in the group to each help ourselves define what works for us. We will work through areas such as boundaries, guilt, self care and more.

You can find out more about this course and watch the videos for it here: http://noellerollinsart.com/finding-myself-in-the-moonlight-2/

 

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I’ve created a few different videos about the course. I wanted to make sure to speak to different groups specifically.  (Just make sure to hit play quickly because it’s horrible to have to see the video frames that youtube has chosen to freeze as the start. ha. )

If you are a stay at home mom this video is for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgk9vLJ_BNY

If you are finding yourself outgrowing some of the people in your life and you are looking for people that “get” you now and the spiritual, soulful part of you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9XrEgeCZnk

One of my greatest teachers has been my mother.  I’ve shared a very vulnerable lesson I’ve learned through watching her and the heartbreaking frustration of her death. This is for you women that have raised your kids and are now finding your place in the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzy1Vfb8qfs

In October I have AMAZINGLY low early bird registration prices going on. Seriously under $5/week!

If you’re ready to connect with other amazing women of all ages register now.

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I give you permission to say, “NO”

I give you permission to say no.

I grew up with a superhero a superhero momma. She gave us haircuts or perms more than once the night before school pictures when we begged. Sewed our Halloween costumes, patched our clothing, even hand sewed on hundreds of beads onto my prom dress for me and made a purse to go with it my senior year. She showed up to every sporting event for all 5 of us kids, and even let me move back in with my daughter while I was going through a divorce years ago.  I learned how to be a devoted mother from my mom, I learned how to create a calming, love filled home from her. My biggest lesson however came from my mother as we picked up the pieces after she passed away.

Somewhere in her my mom associated her value with the sacrifices she made for all of us around her.  I watched my mom put each of our needs above her own.  I watched her take on caring part time for my nephew, watching my daughter when she could, I watched my brother come home with a dog (even after my mom told him he couldn’t have a dog in their home) but she gave in and let him keep it because she couldn’t say no. I later watched this dog cause thousands of dollars in damage in her gorgeous, beautifully decorated home.  Thousands of dollars in rugs with holes in them, a solid wood, carved dining room table with the legs chewed around the bottom, she bought a steam cleaner so she could keep up with the pee on the carpets, on and on. Plus then my parents bought the food for the dog, cared for the dog and my mom pretty much eventually stopped going out of town because she knew my brother wouldn’t care for the dog and it would cause more damage.  I watched my adult brother still living at home as if he was a child, my mom still giving him spending money and letting him pursue his dream of being the next Eminem rapper with God knows who coming in and out of their basement recording on the sound system set up down there. All hours of the night these creepy people would be coming in and out with names like Shadow and stuff. Can we just all agree that this in INSANE!!!!  Somewhere along the line I watched my mom blur the line in being loving and caring with enabling and not setting healthy boundaries.

When I was an adult and was back living in Minnesota again I thought it was great that she was going through a wine and cheese phase. . We’d watch movies together and have different wines and cheese and crackers or breads with different dipping oils. It was so much fun.  Pretty much any movie that included a Christmas scene or a house with fun decorating was always our favorites to watch.  What evolved in the years following however none of us saw coming.

Rewind to 2002 My mom was the peak of health, obsessed with vitamins and cooking healthy. She looked great, my sister and I had just had our first babies and our family was at such a fun place.  I was back down in Dallas from 2003-2004 and when I moved back in 2004 things were starting to be a little different. My mom had a knee replacement and was working on recovering from that, at the same time my youngest sister moved out and started college.  My brother was facing ongoing legal battles still haunting him from his wild teenage years and me back home with my daughter going through a divorce.  And then menopause hit. It was a perfect storm.  Had any one of these hit I am confident she would have made it through relatively unscathed.  However that’s not how it happened; the drinking increased secretly, (we didn’t find this out until later, I have since found out that increased drinking is very common during the menopause years) she became more depressed and from that showed even fewer healthy boundaries. She was so busy trying to make sure we were all okay and helping us fix our problems that she didn’t take the time out for herself.  What she needed then was to start saying no. No to the dog, no to spending money as an escape, no to all the relatives, no to us kids, no to trying to solve my brothers legal issues, no to paying for those legal issues, no to watching our kids so much… on and on.  I literally watched my mother’s inability to set healthy boundaries and her selfless act of helping others around no matter what it cost her ultimately kill her.  Her actual cause of death was pancreatitis but I know deep down that the world sucked her dry.

Oh how I wish I could go back and give her permission to be the bad guy a little bit. Tell people occasionally to fix their own shit, find that dog a new home so she could go take a vacation in peace. In fact tell my brother to go find a new home so she could regain her comfort in her own home. Tell all of us that she is not a daycare center.  I would make sure she knew that it’s okay to say no to organizing another event and she needed no other reason then because she needed a night to curl up and watch a much needed movie with my dad.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first; your life can literally depend on it. I wish I could tell my mom that she wouldn’t be letting us down if we had a small Christmas without all the gifts, gourmet meals and amazing décor.  I wish I could tell her that we would still know that she loved us even if she would have just said what she felt instead of feeling guilty that she might be a bad person because she felt resentful about trying to hold the world together for all of us. I wish I could just hug her and tell her that we love her for her and not for the things she did for us.

I’ve really been working on having healthier boundaries myself since she passed.  And just as important; giving myself permission to not have to justify my every moment or decision when setting those boundaries, speak my mind more when I am feeling resentful and explain more why some things I allowed to go for years no longer work for me.  Example: “I wish I could watch my sweet nephews every day of the week but I can’t do that and build my career. Dad, I wish I could continue helping you with your company for virtually free but it no longer works for me. I wish I could give away my artwork anytime someone says they like it but that won’t pay my bills. Sorry brother but until you help yourself by doing steps 1,2 and 3 don’t call me again. Once you do those things I will happily help you with step 4 but I don’t want to have one more phone conversation with you telling me I need to fix your problems and hear about your life falling apart when you haven’t even completed the first fucking step !!!!”

I have learned that there needs to be an equal exchange of energy in any transaction otherwise one person won’t feel satisfied.  How often have you helped someone with something that really put you out.  Only to later realize they really didn’t even appreciate it?  I did this with my ex; I would try to fix his problems, invest a ton of my energy, time and problem solving only to later be bitter that he wasn’t grateful. Finally one day I realized that he hadn’t even asked or wanted my help.  Light bulb moment.

So now I give you permission also to say no, speak your mind and tune into your inner knowing. You can be loving, classy, kind and giving and still have effective boundaries.  You are not bad if you decide you don’t want the neighbors kids showing up at your home at all hours looking for entertainment. You are not a bad person if you say no to someone who wants to borrow money and you know in your gut that the money will not help them or it will cause you to not to be able to cover your own bills. I give you permission to just say, “Sorry, that doesn’t work for me”.  It may help build the no muscle to start with, “sorry I will have to get back to you after I check my schedule.” This will buy you time to really decide if something is a good decision instead of saying yes immediately and then later regretting it. Or for example say, “that day doesn’t work for me to watch your dog but if you are able to do help me fix my garage door  tomorrow that will free me up to be able to come over and pet sit for you this weekend when you’re out of town.”… you get the idea.  It’s sometimes helpful to think about if you’re going to feel resentful after doing whatever it is that has been asked of you, if you are then maybe you’re better off saying no or changing the terms of the agreement.   I’d love to hear any of your stories about how you’ve learned to improve in these areas or times you wish you had.

One of my favorite memories of my mom is her last Christmas just 3 weeks before she passed, my husband, daughter, my mom, a few others and I were all quietly chattering and taking in the peacefulness on a late stroll down her dark, quiet dead end street on the Christmas night of 2008. The snow peacefully falling on us, we were all together and we were all so happy and content.  It was simple, free and fair for all us.  It was also a moment that she didn’t have to sacrifice her own happiness or feel guilty in order for us to be happy.

Added 7/24/2012:  I feel the need to add one more thing to this post.  The reason I’ve chosen to share this incredibly personal and private story is because I know that it was something we as a family never talked about while it was happening.  It was one of those things that was off-limits. There is shame so often felt when we are going through a rough patch.  But if this could happen to my happy, articulate, loving family then it could happen to any family.  And even more importantly if my mom could go through this so could anyone. She was (is) a shining soul, loving and supportive person.  She radiated love and light to all around her. I share my perspective of her journey with a goal of helping other fabulously loving women see another side, another voice outside of their own homes and give them a reason to value themselves and their space, their dreams and cherish them.

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