Standing looking out onto my garden last April my eyes are drawn to a sudden movement. You know that ability you have to spot the smallest of spiders scurrying across a room late at night! how to set boundaries

“Hey Chippy (that’s my husband and no he’s not a carpenter!) look at that cheeky monkey, look how agile he is, he’s climbing the up the bird feeding station pole like he’s a natural, gathering the seeds in his mouth and then running under the shrub to hide them”

“It a bloody rat Cheryl” (Chippy used to be in the army, standing at just over 6ft tall he still has one of those voices that make you want to stand to attention!) I’m surprised you’re so calm, Cheryl, one is ok but if there are anymore, we’ll have to do something about it”

Can you really love a rat? how to set boundaries

My south facing office allows me to look out over my garden (one of the perks from living in the country and working from home) and the surrounding fields means that we get a lot of wildlife visitors: birds, squirrels, hedgehogs and pheasants to name a few and as an animal lover I feed them all. Therefore, you guessed it “Roland” (named after Roland the Rat the puppet from the children’s Get up & Go series) became another mouth to feed.

I’d put the nuts on the ground for him and then watch from my window as he would gather the nuts and run under the bush and then back and forth until the nuts were all moved. He became a regular source of entertainment, I could identify him by the marks on his back and I could even see he was getting fatter!

And then as quickly as he’d appeared, one day he disappeared, the day turned into a week, then to 2 weeks and then 3 weeks and I missed his daily visits.

Little did I know what was about to happen….

“Cheryl, I think Roland’s back ….and”

Looking out of the window across the fence was a brown line of short haired Roland’s ..1, 3, 5… and so a call had to be made.

The “Rat-man” arrived in a white van and surveyed the area before he gave us his report:

“You have an infestation of rats under your shed, the dog kennel and underneath the decking, for every one you see there will be at least 10 more because a female rat can mate as many as 500 times with various males during a six-hour period.

You’ve created the equivalent of a 5 star hotel here for them, shelter, water and by feeding them you have even provided room service! 

Rats can transmit diseases through their urine, saliva and fleas. Leptospirosis, an illness that can cause kidney and liver damage, is transmitted through rat urine. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, a viral infection that affects that brain and spinal cord, can be transmitted via rat saliva and urine. Weil’s disease is a severe, sometimes fatal, form of leptospirosis transmitted by rats.

As this environment is currently ideal, you will find other colonies of rats will try to take over and then more will come,  I am afraid “Roland”  (who was properly a female) and her friends have to go”

Even the most humane option felt terrible.

We had to change the garden, change the routine by bringing in the bird food in at night, change the layout of the garden so it was more open to avoid more rats coming back.

A few days later I was talking to one of my clients (who are members of The Live Love Laugh Lounge, who I fondly refer to as “WHY’s Women’ as they are looking for their purpose in life)

“Cheryl, my mother is always trying to take over my life, I love her deeply and I don’t want upset her but she’s taking over…”

I’m sure you can guess my reply “well it’s all about how to set boundaries, sometimes in life we think we are helping others by allowing them into our space, even encouraging them to feel at home in our space. In the end it does not serve either of us, they presume they can take over and we feel sad and out of control… it reminds me of a story about Roland…..”

So here’s my question to you:

Are you ready to make sure that you know where the line is?

Are you ready to set those all important boundaries or

Will you encourage pests to take over your life?

The choice of course is up to you.

how to set boundaries
If this resonates with you in anyway I invite you to share your experience below and share this link so others can join in with the conversation too.

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