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Let’s talk about boundaries

Virginia Herlihy

On our courses, we often hear that working parents feel like they are lurching from one mini-crisis to another without time to pause and think about what they want to or should be prioritising. There are no boundaries around their time and this leaves them feeling panicky and out of control. Yet, in a world that is always on, and where there is always a to-do list, is it any wonder that working parents have enormous difficulty setting and sticking to boundaries? This has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, as people have literally been working and parenting in the same place at the same time and physical boundaries between work and home have become even more blurred.

What is lack of boundaries really about?

A reluctance to set boundaries stems from a couple of places. Firstly, there is often a fear of upsetting a whole lot of other people by appearing to be inflexible or selfish in prioritising your own needs. Secondly, a working parent’s world is extremely full and there is generally more that needs doing than the capacity to do it. This makes people reactive, responding only to the latest thing that is coming at them, rather than planning their time in a more considered way.

In the short video below, I explain how you can start to put (and keep) boundaries in place by understanding your absolute bottom lines – what are the non-negotiables that simply can’t be moved, what are your preferences where there is flexibility and how do you distinguish between the two to understand the boundaries you need to set?

Read more about setting boundaries here, see more resources for working parents here or watch other videos in this series about overcoming common working parent challenges.

Virginia Herlihy, CEO & Founder, How Do You Do It.