Prioritizing Priorities…but it’s ALL Important!!

You have too much on your plate. But how do you let anything go when it all feels important?

Time-management was one of the first things we covered in class 1, of my doctoral journey.

I also love that my professor asked how we planned to implement self-care to support our journey…but I’ll save that for another post!

Here’s what I’ve discovered thus far:

  • railroad_trackIt doesn’t matter how much you know and preach that growth is supposed to be uncomfortable, it’s still hard.
  • School – or learning & growth in general – is different when you’re over forty. Especially when you have 2 elementary age kids in 2 sports each and are running 2 businesses from home.
  • The advisors who told me I needed about 20-30 hours/week were right. Especially at this beginning stage where I (gulp) have to pull out the dictionary regularly to decipher complex scientific articles that I’m not used to reading.
  • There is no ONE right track : our priorities and circumstances vary, so we must cultivate compassion and release the tendency to compare.

The minute I focus on one priority, the others seem to unravel and fall apart.

It’s like I’m juggling, but don’t know how to juggle….so the balls keep dropping.

If I focus on school – my office piles up and the house looks like a tornado hit.

Without my reminding, the dishes, toys, school papers and mail seem to take over.

I find myself snapping at my husband and kids to retrieve clothes from the clean laundry “pile” and start in with the “I need some help around here and I shouldn’t have to ask all the time!”

I swore I’d never be that distracted, cranky mom. But as my aunt once said, and I’ve quoted her ever since: “I was the best mother ever, until I had kids!”

My children and our family are a top priority.

We all say this, but we can also see where priorities lie when we evaluate the choices we make.

My little one is struggling these days…as are we in trying to support her through some frustration and regulation challenges. I’m sure I’ll expand here someday, but let’s just say that this is a non-negotiable priority…and a big puzzle that’s taking an incredible amount of my time and attention.

I’m actually able to remain surprisingly calm and in control after a whole lot of personal work the last 5 years in my effort to model “staying calm and in control” – but it takes its toll on me.

Lots of extreme self-care + compassion required. So incredibly grateful for my village of special friends and family who really understand and support me. And for the self-compassion research and work of Dr. Kristin Neff…being kind to ourselves is oh so important.

So how do you juggle effectively?

It’s never easy.

I remember once hearing someone say that you just need to figure out which balls are made of rubber and which are made of glass. The rubber balls will bounce back, whereas the glass balls will break if dropped.

This little conversation has helped me these days. I release the guilt about not cooking much, and that I have laundry piles taking over. And yes, maybe it will take me 5 years to finish my doctoral journey. And no, I’m not able to devote as much to as I’d like, but trust that my community will continue to grow and flourish in its time.

But the glass balls that I cannot drop: my family AND my well-being so I can show up for my family and loved ones….

The acronym that started SPA Time Living prevails: Self-care Promotes Ability.

How about you? Can you relate to the juggling analogy? Would love to hear from you – just leave a reply in the comment box below!



2 Responses to Prioritizing Priorities…but it’s ALL Important!!

  1. Oh boy. You couldn’t be more right on this one. This is definitely a common thread amongst work-from-home moms. I think juggling is an understatement.
    But you’re right — when it comes right down to it, family IS priority. I’ve learned ways to do it, so we all feel good. But it’s tough.

    P.S. My housecleaning is low on my priority list. Hence, I’m hiring a house-cleaner.

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