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What Steps Do New Moms Take To Establish Boundaries And Prioritize Their Family’s Needs?

April 2, 2024

Repeat after me. Other people’s expectations are not your responsibility. Giving birth to a child is a miracle and one of the happiest, if not the happiest, moments of your life. But I’d be lying to you if it doesn’t come with some drama.

And most of the time, it comes with what other people think you should be doing with your baby. And that emphasis is on purpose, okay? Whether it’s their sleeping patterns, what to name the baby, you know, oh, I don’t like that name. Oh, that’s a good name.

It’s your baby, right? What you want and what your partner, your spouse wants for the baby.

That’s what matters. Or perhaps they believe that they should be having certain visitation rights or seeing the baby for the first time in hospital. Right? Like all of these things, everyone has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Setting & Honoring Boundaries as a New Mom

And boundaries matter, and you have the right to them always and especially as a new mom. Whether it’s setting a boundary around visits to your home after your baby is born or even deciding what to say yes to when you become a mom.

And, you know, when you become a mom, your priorities change forever. And that’s why it’s so necessary to have these boundaries. They’re a game changer.

And boundaries empower you to mean what you say, say what you mean, and stand strong in both no matter what.

When we set and hold our boundaries, we are allowing others to better understand and, ultimately, respect us. Physical, emotional, conversational, time, etcetera, all of these are areas in which you are allowed to set and uphold boundaries for yourself and your children.

That is healthy for any type of relationship. In fact, children need to be told no. And actually, whether it may like they say, you know, in the moment, whether they seem like they like it or not, most of the times, it’s going to seem like they don’t because they’re gonna get upset with you and cry and, you know, maybe even throw a tantrum.

They actually like being told no. They don’t want everything handed to them because boundaries make them feel safe, and ultimately, it shows them that you care.

You’re not just handing it to them to keep them quiet.

You’re saying no and setting these ground rules because you want what’s best for them. Imagine a life just full of chaos. Right? No rules. That’s not good for anyone, especially a child.

Setting healthy boundaries is important for your overall emotional and mental health.

It helps reduce burnout, and it’s simply implementing respect into your daily life. Imagine people having access to you 247. Oh, my gosh.

I heard this term in church today. They were teasing about, you know, they’re talking about doing tithing and, and then getting involved with the church.

And they said, maybe you’re a textrovert. And, you know, meaning and I totally resonate. I raised my hand and Nick said, yeah, you definitely are.

Because I prefer texting over speaking over the phone, which is ironic because I have a podcast but I digress. This is just me talking to you.

It’s a one way conversation, unless you DM me on Instagram, right? But when people have access to you 24/7, it’s draining.

And, yes, your child is about to have access to you 24/7. K? So just say goodbye to privacy in the bathroom. But that doesn’t mean everyone else in your life should have access to you and your child, right?

Whether it’s learning how to put your phone on do not disturb at night, so work doesn’t bother you or even putting it in writing when necessary.

You need to communicate it upfront and make sure you’re consistent in upholding these boundaries.

And I get it. Telling your aunt that she can’t see, you know, her newest niece of the family for a few weeks after the baby’s been born, that’s tough. Or that for birthday parties, you prefer no gifts. You know, hey.

I actually would like you to write a check to put in her savings or her college fund.

Whatever it is you need to do to protect and honor your own energy and the values that you want instilled in your family, it’s not always gonna be easy, but your space and your spirit are absolutely worth it, especially when bringing a child into the world.

And, of course, no one talks about the postpartum period. I like to really just lean on that subject hard because for me on a personal level, that was something that I wasn’t quite prepared for.

And I like to prepare other moms for it as best I can because the focus is always all about pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy.

And then, of course, the baby. Right? What are you gonna name the baby? When’s the baby due? What, you know, what can we get the baby? All of the things.

Navigating Visitors and Setting Boundaries Postpartum

But people forget about those first few days, weeks, months in the postpartum period. When you’re still sore and in pain, if you’re like me and you just had a traumatic experience that was the total opposite of what you had envisioned for your birth, which is why I always encourage you to have birth preferences, not these, like, birth musts because you can plan, but make plans. God laughs.

And so you can be mourning the experience that you thought that you were going to have and didn’t. That is something that I went through. And you could be struggling with learning how to breastfeed for the first time.

My daughter had a tongue tie that went undiagnosed in the hospital. So navigating that, getting donor milk because I was just so adamant about having breast milk over formula, you know, catering to this baby’s new needs of feeding and being loved on and being changed every few hours, plus the leaky boob situation like no one tells you about that either.

And the night sweats. You kind of know that sleepless nights are coming, but you really don’t know it till you’re in it and what that feels like.

And you know what, maybe it’s just the adjustment from it being you and your spouse and going into having you, your spouse plus 1 or my situation right now going from a family of 3 to 4.

I know it may seem like, oh, well, like, you have all the things. You have the crib, you have the paces, you have, you know, the neutral gender neutral outfits, like, you have all these things.

You’re prepared. Like, you got this. You already have been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Yes, to a certain extent, but ultimately, it’s a very emotional thing to go from having 1 child to 2. Because when this child is born, my daughter will be 2 1/2, and she will have spent the last two and a half years with the attention solely being on her.

And ultimately, I believe that this is gonna be the best thing for her and our whole family, but it’s gonna be a major adjustment.

And no one talks about the mom’s guilt that you kind of feel that you’re not going to be able to give that child that undivided attention anymore.

And now that experience that she had. Right? So you feel guilty about that, and then you feel guilty about the fact that this second child is never gonna have that experience.

So it’s just like this whole push and pull that you go through, and no one wants to talk about that. And for me, postpartum was a major learning curve with my daughter.

🚫 It’s okay to say no! Setting boundaries isn’t just about protecting your own well-being, but also about creating a safe and healthy environment for your children. Whether it’s limiting visits, setting rules for baby talk, or more, your boundaries matter. #FamilyBoundaries

2 of the biggest boundaries I had to set with family and friends

1st and foremost, I do not share any photos or my baby’s name on the Internet. I also wanted to be the first to make the announcement, and I didn’t want people to find out that I had the baby through someone else.

Like, to me, that was, you know, I just didn’t like that. I wanted my closest friends and family to hear from me that this child had come earthside. And trust and believe this didn’t come easy.

I’m gonna be preaching to you about boundaries, but, like, yes, it’s hard. You know, when it came to the no photos and the not sharing of the name, first of all, not everyone has the same social selling platform that I have.

They’re totally okay with sharing photos and information about their kids on the Internet.

And truth be told about, like, 90% of them have a private profile, so they feel a safety net when it comes to that because they’re like, oh, well, it’s only my friends and family who follow me. I have plenty of podcasts about that, but I digress.

Me, not so much, like private or no private, like, my kids are not on the Internet. And on top of that, I have tens of thousands of followers on social media that I don’t know.

And, yes, in the last decade, I have had many, a weirdo, leave me messages. I’ve had Reddit threads created about me and my shiny tinfoil hat.

So I understand that my decision to keep my children private from the quote unquote world, right, might seem strange to others.

And there were a few times that people did slip, and I had to delete comments. I had to message family members. I had to take down posts because people slipped, whether it was an innocent comment on a photo or they shared my daughter’s name, or they accidentally posted a video of her on Facebook, because they don’t know how to properly use social media.

Certain generations, like they just don’t get it right. So I definitely struggled with that boundary.

The other boundary I had and will continue to have with this baby is no visitors right away. Now this can be very upsetting to some people, especially when you make exceptions for certain people and not for others.

For me, I did have my parents over at my house within the 1st week, so they did not come to the hospital. I wanted it to be me and Nick.

We needed to figure it out. My daughter was born on a Tuesday afternoon. My parents met her for the first time on Friday. And we had this is why I say, like, this is so important. It wasn’t an easy transition. As I’ve mentioned before, I had HELLP syndrome, so I had to be induced.

It was a medical emergency. It was the only way that you’re gonna survive is we have to get this baby out of you.

We stayed an extra day in the hospital, not because of my daughter, but because of my health. So it was a lot.

And then obviously everything that comes with postpartum And the reality is it’s your choice who you do and don’t want around. For me, I 100% needed my parents there. First of all, they’re my best friends. I do everything with them.

Kid or no kid. I’m gonna be 38. And they’re my best friends. Like, and we do everything together. That used to be my parents and me and Nick, and now it’s plus children, right? That’s just how we roll.

We go on vacations together. We eat together, like all the things we have in our group family chat.

Managing Family and Friends’ Expectations and Desires in Relation to the New Baby

But more than that, Nick and I were trying to adjust to this new parenthood role. And, we talked about the sleepless nights.

So I needed my parents to come over just to even help with household chores because Nick and I were zombies and we couldn’t even think about doing laundry or emptying the trash or even feeding ourselves.

And my husband, I think, in total, I think he had 9 days off. And it wasn’t like, oh, once you got home plus 9, it was including the day that we were in the hospital. So think about it.

We were in the hospital for 2 and a half, almost 3 days. So my husband was home for less than a week with me, And so I needed my mom and dad there. They’re the ones that I can be comfortable around.

It didn’t matter what I looked like, what I felt like, and they dropped everything to, like I said, you know, clean our toilets, and make sure that, of course, that the baby was okay, but, like, that was my responsibility.

They were making sure I was okay. And the other thing was I was because I told you, like, I am with my parents all the time.

Every day leading up to my daughter being born, we were together. So I knew where they’ve been, who they’ve been with, where they were going, like, as far as being exposed to germs.

Therefore, I wasn’t concerned about sickness or my gosh, like immunity, you know, is this gonna be okay? Because your child’s immune system for the 1st 2 months is not great.

They’re coming earthside and they’re being exposed to all of this, which is why I’m really, you know, my preference and the plan right now is to have a home birth, to not expose the baby to every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the hospital. It’s why I have the pediatrician come to my home.

But also said that my pediatrician is a concierge, so, like, kids never intermingle at her office anyway.

But still, those are priorities for me. And it didn’t matter, even though my parents were under this umbrella, like, this was a major role for me. No kissing on the baby on the baby on the face. Like, that’s it. Full stop.

You can kiss her on the top of her head. Also, don’t kiss her hands because, obviously, her hands go near her mouth. But no kissing the face.

Gosh. Don’t kiss the lips. I think that’s so weird. But, you know, I just wanted to set those rules in place.

And listen, once again, some people can’t handle these types of boundaries and they’re gonna push you. And some just straight up don’t even listen. But fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. And let me tell you to put it this way.

My daughter was 4 months old when she got RSV. And I will not. I will do everything in my power to not let that happen to my second child. So I repeat, no kissing baby on the face.

At the end of the day, know that those who react negatively to you upholding these boundaries are probably the ones who benefited from you not having been like boundaries in the 1st place, okay, and you not establishing them.

Identifying Narcissistic Behaviors in Family and Friends

Educating new moms on recognizing narcissistic behaviors exhibited by family and friends and their impact on personal boundaries

I’ve also found that these types of people typically exhibit narcissistic behaviors or they just straight up are narcissists. So there are people who are extremely sensitive to criticism.

They manipulate, and they’ll even try to do that to your children. And they constantly play the victim.

They regularly prioritize their own desires before everyone else’s. So hence why they’ll ask you when they can see the baby versus thinking about what the mother needs.

You know, one on one time with their baby or like I said, those moments of privacy with learning how to breastfeed and your freaking boobs are hanging out and you’re leaking everywhere. Right?

Another example would be the family member who claims they’re just in the neighborhood and trying to be nice after showing up at your house and they’re unannounced despite the fact that you’ve clearly said, please call in advance.

Boundaries with Narcissistic Family Members

“These narcissists have an exaggerated need for control and power. Therefore, they often trample over someone else’s boundaries to get what they want and do what they want.”

Another example would be using nicknames for things that you don’t want your child to use or, you know, whatever it may be, like, for example. Right? So I am anti baby talk.

Cannot stand it. I think it’s very uneducated. It’s nails on a chalkboard for me. Okay? So my daughter says the proper words and uses English too.

This kid knows that, like, straight up, this kid, if you say to her, what is that? She’ll say elephant.

And then you say, what’s the other word for elephant? She’ll tell you pachyderm. She’s even learning the difference between camel and dromedary. One hump versus 2.

And so baby talk versus having proper grammar and enunciation is important. It’s a value of mine. It’s how I grew up. You know, it’s mouse, not mousey. It’s a bug, not buggy. And I know this might seem harmless, but twofold.

It is very important to understand proper terminology of the body parts when you’re a child, especially the privates. So let’s just stop using words like winky and, you know, like, no.

Because those are situations where it becomes unsafe. And secondly, if it’s important to you, then that’s it. Like, you’re raising your family.

And at the end of the day, that’s what it is. Full stop. End of story. It could be that someone is forcing their family traditions on you when you wanna do things differently with your family during the holidays, for example.

Just because a family grew up eating a particular holiday meal or, maybe they didn’t attend church, it wasn’t important to them, It doesn’t mean that you’re going to do the same with your children.

You have your own values. That’s the boundary. And in healthy relationships, family and friends, they respect boundaries even if they don’t always agree with the choices being made.

They understand that they cannot control every move or situation, whereas narcissists, they struggle with this, and they will deflect and blame you. You know, mommy said no. Daddy said no. I’d let you, but no. You know what I mean? Like, it’s all your fault.

And this is a reflection of them, not you.

You need to stand in your power.

You need to protect your spirit and honor the boundaries that you’ve set for yourself and your family.

Here are a few statements that you can use to help make boundaries easier for you and your family.

And these can all be, like, via text, in person, whatever you feel comfortable with. You can even make it a public post if you need to.

“Our birth experience is very special and intimate to me and my partner, and the decisions we are making are what we feel best honors our values and wishes. Thank you for respecting us.”

“We look forward to you meeting the baby. We’ll be accepting visitors after we have had a few weeks to get settled as a family. Please text me and then choose whatever date you want to set up a time that will work for us. Boom. No questions asked.”

“We are not choosing to share photos of our baby online. Thank you for respecting them.”

“Thank you for the invitation, but that, insert whatever event, does not fit with our family schedule at this time.”

That is what’s right for our family. Do not defend why you’re setting the boundary. Just state it.

When you feel the need to defend your choices, it’s going to be seen as a sign of weakness, and these people will pounce on you.

They will see an open door. Do not even let the door of opportunity for this to even open. Just state it and move on.

Support and Mentorship for New Mothers

And most importantly, you need to ask for support in honoring the boundary from your spouse, your partner, or parent. I truly believe in strength in numbers.

So the more of you who are aligned with these decisions, the better.

You’ll have backup, essentially. And sometimes there are specific people that certain people will only listen to, and you need that extra help from them and that support in order to keep that boundary line set in stone.

And this whole journey to motherhood and beyond, yes, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. So I need you to know you’re not alone.

Sometimes, we just need to talk it out and have some oral processing time with someone who understands and can help us answer some of our questions.

And I know for me, I felt like in my first pregnancy, a lot of it, I was alone. I’m an only child.

None of my friends were really having children at the same time as me. They kinda like they’d already had their kids or I was surrounded by other females who weren’t ready to have kids.

I was in this weird age because maybe because I was geriatric. I don’t know.

Personalized Mentorship Calls to Address Individual Questions and Concerns

So for me, I understand how important that is to have that person to listen to and bounce ideas off of. And so that’s why I would love to provide that for you.

I have a 30 minute motherhood mentorship call that I offer to help you walk through your questions, your research findings, your birth preferences, and more.

This is your time, and we will customize the conversation to best fit your needs. If you wanna sign up for one of these calls with me, you just go to marencrowley.com/momcalls. 

Healthy + Holistic Pregnancy Guide

As a Wellness Warrior, I believe we are made flawless in His image, and I want to help you unleash the best version of yourself for His glory + your purpose.

Whether you are in the midst of pregnancy yourself or still considering expanding your family, I want to help you emerge as the strongest & healthiest version of yourself for the journey He lays before you.

Healthy Holistic Pregnancy-cover

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

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