The 3 Most Beneficial Limits I’ve Set for Myself

LimitsAs an on-the-go mom and a lover of projects, it is easy to neglect myself. I spend most of my day taking care of our four kids, Sonny, and our home. In the past, I would forget to give back to myself – to feed my own soul.

I had to examine times I felt exhaustion and resentment. What was the root cause of that? I needed to make choices between some of my competing passions. As the kids grow and change, my schedule needs to compensate. Some of my habits weren’t serving me or my family. In this post, I share the 3 most beneficial limits I’ve set for myself.

The 3 Most Beneficial Limits I’ve Set for Myself

As a more seasoned mother, woman, and wife, what I’ve realized is that I need some personal boundaries to take better care of myself. Self-prescribed limits keep me healthy and regulate my self care. If I can’t flourish as a person, I won’t be any good to my family either. It’s like what the flight attendants tell us, we need to put the mask on ourselves first before we help others.

1.  I limit the number of nights I stay up late. 

Even before kids, I was a night owl. After kids, late nights gave me a chance to finally get things done. Left unchecked, I found normalcy in a 2am bedtime. Despite the thrill of productivity, I knew it wasn’t good for me.

I came to realize I need to limit my late nights. Late nights are now a reward or an exception. Most nights I try to be in bed with my hubby by 11pm. I’ve learned to make it a habit.  There’s connection in winding down together. It’s nice to end the day with a little late night TV and pillow talk.

2.  I limit the number suppers we eat at restaurants.

As I’ve said before, for many years I didn’t cook… I reheated. As an adult, I’ve easily eaten at least half of my meals in restaurants. That’s not a badge of honor. I wish I would have learned how to cook a long, long, long time ago. The truth is I didn’t like the how I felt about myself as a cook.  I felt inept and mystified.

Two years ago, I went to my first cooking class and I started teaching myself how to cook. Initially, my goal was to make just one meal at home each week. Today, we generally eat only one supper out each week. And, we’ve made going out to eat as a family something special we do after church on Sundays.

3.  I limit the number of days I go without showering.

It’s crazy to think about not showering for more than three days.  But if you’re a mom, I think you can relate. There’s really no such thing as a lazy morning around here. A planner needs signing, homework is missing, there’s no bread for toast, the favorite shirt is in the wash, the dog needs to go out… it seldom goes according to plan. With kids, mornings are nuts and showers get skipped.

Still, I have to be gentle, yet firm, with myself; I deserve to shower at least every three days. I won’t let myself slip into the ol’ marathon grunge fest of my early years as a mom. Showering is just like every other aspect of self-care. It’s easy to sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Honoring Limits

Limits are a form self respect. Setting limits for myself has been a way to gain control.  I’ve learned that limits address imbalance. When I honor my limits, I am healthy. If I don’t honor them, I am not healthy.

Here’s a challenge to consider.  What do you need to limit right now? What does a wise (not extreme) limit look like for you? Come up with a limit today that would benefit you. If you’re having trouble defining an personal area that needs a limit, reflect on your health, your energy, and your relationships.

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. Deborah Weber on February 21, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Good for you Jennifer! Making it a point to honor what nurtures and nourishes you is hugely important and it sounds like you found some great things that help you keep balanced. For me one of the things that I need to figure some workable limits around is the amount of time I spend on emails.

  2. Amy Putkonen on February 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I love your posts, Tall Mama. I am on the other spectrum. I have to make myself sleep in sometimes. If we were in the same house, we might pass each other in the hall getting up and going to bed! lol…

    • 6ftmama on June 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Ha! We could keep the coffee going all night long Amy.

  3. Sue on February 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Terrific tips not only for a 6ft Mama but even us short ones! Why is it that we always do for everyone else first before taking care of ourselves? Love your comment about the Oxygen mask too- fits this perfectly!

  4. Janet on February 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    A thoughtful post. For me, today, a limit on being in “healer mode” while I am spending some extra time with my family.

    • 6ftmama on June 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Very true, Janet!

  5. Ruth Packard on February 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Excellent post, Jennifer! I have two weaknesses in the area of limitations. You nailed me on the late nights! Oops!

    But most importantly, I especially need to guard my time making sure I am being fed spiritually. Spending time reading the Bible is usually the first thing to get pushed aside on the list…and for me, it needs to be on the top!

    Thank you for an excellent direct post!

  6. Michele Bergh on February 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I love your limits! I have recently set a similar one for myself about staying up late. 2am has been my “norm” for some time but I have successfully shifted that so somewhere between midnight and 1am is the norm. Midnight is my preferred time now but I don’t always make it there 🙂

    • 6ftmama on June 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Michele. I know. A regular bedtime is tough for me – especially when I’m on a roll…

  7. Kate Sciandra on February 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Sleep is a beautiful thing. The old “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” thing has worn pretty old for me. Sleeping is a great gift to give yourself.

    Basic cooking skills can take you far. Watch cooking shows; it helps a lot. Especially basic ones.

    • 6ftmama on March 15, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Yes! Cheers to good sleep!

  8. Nea DallaValle on February 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    This is a wonderful post! We don’t always take care of things – and the analogy of putting on the air mask is one that I have used many times. It makes sense. And being a parent is about walking the walk (modeling) more so than talk the talk – We have to be the way to lead the way.
    Thank you for this – I am posting to my FB page.

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