I’ve vowed to make myself a priority in the new year. Call it a resolution if you will, but this decision had more to do with the fact that I had free time over my school break to start focusing than it had to do with the start of a new year. Regardless, what it means to me is putting some emphasis on my needs – work, school, exercise and…sleep.

I’ve spent a large part of the last few months thinking about how to set better boundaries with my daughter. Because I’m home with her full time, we are used to allowing our day to unfold organically, which sounds nice but doesn’t always lend itself to productivity. Especially when she is very used to having my attention, aka a playmate at the drop of a hat, she isn’t necessarily agreeable when I ask for some time to myself to get things done. My daughter has preschool in the afternoon, which means our mornings tend to be lazy and unscheduled. This is compounded by the fact that I’m a total night owl, and stay up late in the evenings. That means when my daughter wakes up early and energetic, I begin my mornings in a fog and exhausted. Again, while we may have gotten away with this for awhile, I’m realizing that if I want to make myself a priority I can no longer hide behind my excuse that I’m “not a morning person” and include treating myself better on the priority list. This means more sleep for mom. I had been thinking about going to bed at a reasonable hour as a loss – loss of “me” time after a long day, a loss of quiet time after a busy day. But hopefully by “losing” this time at night, I can gain it in the morning by having the energy to enforcing the boundaries we need and the energy to be productive.

My daughter and I both need boundaries to make this work for all of us. The boundaries I set with myself will be just as if not more important than the ones I set for her. Clear boundaries will allow me to feel like my needs matter. It’s also because of those boundaries that I’ll be able to give my young daughter what she needs to feel like an important part of our family – loving attention and undistracted time, for starters. A shift in boundaries and in the way I define what’s important will help our days become more focused, intentional and, hopefully, harmonious for the whole family.

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