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Embracing the Crown Over the Cape: Setting Boundaries for a Healthier You

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Where the Heart Resides

By: Amanda Hyslop  | January 4, 2024

It's an undeniable reality that being a mother/caregiver means having a busy life. I don't know a single caregiver who isn't constantly on the move, from chauffeuring the kids to their activities, managing the family calendar, handling their jobs, and tackling the never-ending list of tasks. School communications, homework, and keeping the house clean are just added to the mix. It's a whirlwind, and honestly, if I hear one more reference to moms as superheroes, I might just lose it. While we are indeed capable of juggling an assortment of roles, it's becoming evident that this non-stop pace is leaving us exhausted and taking a toll on our emotional and physical well-being.


This is a personal vent (I know). I have profound frustration with this superhero trope. It sets us up for an unrealistic standard, that we should effortlessly manage every aspect of our lives and families, akin to a WonderWoman mixed with BradyBunch. Labeling mothers/caregivers as superheroes somehow implicitly suggests that we are able to handle all this stress without faltering. It glosses over our struggles. I am one of those women who believe it is an honor to care for one’s family. However I strongly suggest we need to re-evaluate how to support caregiving and motherhood. We need to throw the SuperHuman standards out the window.


So this year, I'm throwing down my cape, and straightening my crown. I’ve made a commitment to myself. I'm determined to take more breaks, firmly say no when necessary, and, most importantly, practice self-compassion for the tasks where I stumble.


I am starting with my morning ritual. I'm pledging to put my phone down more often, allowing myself the gift of quiet reflection before diving into the digital noise. So, my usual Wordle and Connection Game routine will have to wait. Instead, I'm kick-starting my mornings with centering tools and I don’t mean the one we used in Geometry class. What I crave is more: more meditation to center my mind, more morning workouts to get me in touch with my body, more journaling to capture my thoughts, and more deep breaths to calm my adrenals and nervous system.


While my girlfriend is having a year of saying Yes to new activities and experiences, I have pledged to say more No’s. I've honed in on specific phrases to get me by. "I'd love to, but it's just not possible right now," or "I need to prioritize some me-time." And if a conversation leaves me feeling drained, down, grim, or frustrated, I've decided not to stay in the residue of its negative spiral. I'm making a promise to trust my body signals and walk away without any guilt or explanation.


It's crucial for my kids to get accustomed to hearing more No’s from me too. Raising these little humans is literally the toughest thing on my plate. There’s no question that I’d do anything for them, but there comes a point when my own reserves are depleted, and I desperately need time for my battery to recharge. Continuously rising from the dinner table to fetch another glass of water or scrambling to locate a hoodie they've carelessly left at school simply isn't working. And today, after basketball practice, there won't be a detour for milkshakes and hamburgers. Mommy has quiet time that can't be overlooked. It is a balancing act between nurturing and disciplining for sure. However, setting these boundaries is not just about preserving my sanity; it's also about teaching them responsibility, self-reliance, and the ability to bounce back after they hear the simple yet affirming no.


Practicing self-compassion for the moments when I stumble will perhaps be the most challenging this year. Instead of criticizing myself for imperfections or perceived failures, I am choosing to be kind and understanding. Stumbling is part of growth, and nobody has it perfect. Recognizing my humanity, with all its strengths and limitations, is key. So, grab your celery stick (or chocolate cookie, no judgment remember) and please join me. Straighten that crown.


Amanda Hyslop is rocking the mom life with two whip-smart kiddos, Sienna & William, and her hubby, Bill, who has a knack for dad jokes. By day, she's a go-to Advice Nurse at Tamalpais Pediatrics; by night, you'll find her playing the keys or hitting the pavement for a run. Amanda's all ears for your thoughts and will get back to you – just as soon as she locates that pesky missing sock!
More from this issue:

A Habit of Spontaneity HERE >> 

Embracing the Crown Over the Cape: Setting Boundaries for a Healthier You HERE >> 

Glad That’s Over HERE >> 

Move More in 2024 HERE >>

Postpartum Support Center: Wraparound Services for Perinatal Families HERE >>

The Power of Yet HERE >>