I’ve never really been someone who sees the choices in front of me in an all-or-nothing or hard-and-fast-rules kind of way. I like the nuances of navigating situations as they come. That can sometimes make holding boundaries a little tricky. Boundaries and nuances don’t always go well together. And I recently, once again, put myself in a situation where they clashed.
My oldest son lives in suburban Chicago. He’s in college now. He came home last week for the first time since Christmas break. I blocked the week off in my calendar back in April when he planned his trip. Plenty of time to say no to anything that came up, right?
If I operated with clear, firm boundaries, then yes. Operating with nuanced interpretation of those boundaries? That gets trickier.
June has turned into a very busy month for me with client work. Yay! And… by saying yes to facilitating workshops with multiple teams that want to understand their hard wiring, all the open space outside of my week “off” has quickly been filled. I was faced with a choice. One option was to open some time in my schedule while my son was home. Another option was to tell my clients that I wouldn’t be able to accommodate everyone who wanted to be debriefed on their own hard wiring before their workshops.
I chose the first option. But I only opened my calendar in the afternoons once my younger child was home from school. I still had lots of time with my son.
So why do I feel yucky about it? Did I violate a boundary? Sort of. I said I was taking the week completely off and I didn’t.
The lesson learned for me is this. My son comes home again in July. The time is blocked out on my calendar. I’m going to honor that time and say no to work. I need a break, and I want to be able to relax with my kids.
What boundaries are harder for you to hold? What are the consequences when you don’t? These are questions with sometimes complicated answers. Be gentle with yourself. I’m committing to doing better next time. Let me know how you’re doing.