I’m in Florida this week on my annual girls’ trip - a tradition that started with my mom and Aunt Sally in 1987. Newly-divorced, single mothers with little expendable income at the time, they mustered their resources and treated themselves to an 18-hour road trip (one way), followed by a week at a small mom-and-pop motel on Treasure Island, Florida. The trip is now a tradition, 30+ years old, with as many as six women attending some years. We still stay at a small mom-and-pop motel, but we’ve upgraded to a beach-side apartment.
Florida - or Floreed-AHHH as it is known in the family - comes with a set of rules. You get a printed copy the first time you make the trip. Rules like, no one is under any obligation to do anything they don’t want to do, no one snitches on midnight cookie eaters, everyone pays for their own stuff and you can’t talk about medical ailments for more than 30 minutes each morning (lots of medical professionals in my family). My mom wrote the rules originally (I added the piece about medial ailments after one too many detailed discussions about colonoscopies over morning coffee). The rules are much more hilarious than I’m actually sharing, but more than funny they are full of love.
Without having to discuss it, everyone knows that separate checks accompany each meal out, that you can chill by the pool all day long - even if everyone else is going shopping, and that no one will shame you for eating Larry’s apple pie with cinnamon ice cream as a meal… at 10 a.m.
Clarity and clear boundaries… what an amazing gift to give to the people you care for.
Of course, the first step to giving such a gift is being able to define and articulate our needs. We can’t rely on our loved ones to interpret what we haven’t even defined for ourselves.
Kinship and friendship don’t equate to being able to read minds. Hell, Jane and I even meet to discuss expectations about the management of the SheHive business office and she’s psychic.
I’m committing to being better at articulating my needs and expectations this year. Not as a means to put others on the spot or shame them (myself included) - but to create a sense of psychological safety. No more guessing. No more wondering. No more fear. Clarity and peace of mind. How awesome would that be for all of us?
When’s the last time you sat down to define what it was you needed from those that seek to care for you? And when’s the last time you actually shared your expectations with them? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear about your experience!
With much love and gratitude,
Ursula Adams, MSPOD