Monday, June 22, 2009

Priorities

Summer is a terrible season for a busy mom. Sure, it's great to have the kids around so we can be spontaneous. Yeah, it's fun to see museums, play at parks, and visit the library. Huzzah, it's peachy to have them clean the house on a whim.
But man, it's wearing me out!
Granted, I am over 34 weeks pregnant. This causes some exhaustion. Also, the kids are here all day, which automatically equates a messier house. And yes, the sibling rivalry is hitting the breaking point because the kids are with each other ALL DAY (whatever happened to the kids playing with friends? It's like all their friends disappeared as soon as summer started).
So, it makes sense. Doesn't mean I have to necessarily love it, though.
Just sayin'.
-------------------------------------------
I wrote before how I might be starting a job that would pay me to write. Technically, it's blog, but still! Anyway, I'm in the beginning stages of it (although it hasn't started quite yet), and on Friday and Saturday I had some mild panic attacks about my impending schedule. In other words, I freaked out at the prospect of having so much to do! Luckily, I sat down with our genius-in-residence (Brandon), and the business student (he's getting his Executive MBA, remember?) helped me figure out the new job. His advice rocked. Then in church yesterday, I pondered on all the changes and how I was going to make them work, and by golly, I got some great answers. Fantastic ones, even!

In Sacrament Meeting, a woman in our ward spoke about her father (it being Father's Day, this was good). One of the quotes she used to describe her father was from a talk by Elder Oaks. I'm betting most of you remember it -- Good, Better, Best. Basically, Elder Oaks talked about priorities and where we need to draw some lines. I cannot tell you how much re-reading his talk has helped me. [Go read it. You won't regret it!] It reminded me how each of us (especially me??) has to re-prioritize constantly in our lives. Distractions, amusements, good ideas, leisure, pursuits of academia, large incomes, or personal glory constantly deter us from doing those things that are the most important. Like eating dinner with our kids or saying prayers with our spouse. Seriously --it's that simple, you know.

And then! In Sunday School! We learned about "learning" --specifically Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants. I was so excited by what we learned, I immediately came home and printed out this scripture:
…Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another;
cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary;
arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle,
which is the bond of perfectness and peace.
Pray always, that ye may not faint…
Doctrine and Covenants 88:124-126

I framed it and put it in a place where I would see it.

Relief Society was next --and we talked about the Temple. Our teacher shared how she once had a week alone without her four children (ages 2 through 8 --just like mine!). She planned on cleaning the house, organizing, shopping, etc. You know, the things that we can't do with children around! But she had some family names she had planned on taking to the Temple at some point. And she realized, she needed to go to the Temple and forget about the house.
So she did, and she was profoundly blessed for it.

By the time I got home, I had written out a plan for myself. It's a rough draft, but here are some of the things I wrote down to help me figure out how to fit everything into my life:

What to let go?
*TV in the evenings
*Blogging (specifically commenting/reading)
*Facebook (which won't be hard because I'm hardly on there anymore, anyway)
*My writing critique group (which automatically means the novel I don't even work on)
*Long phone calls with my girlfriends (this is the hardest one, dear reader. Still not sure if I can do it)
*Being the social go-to girl I've always loved to be. Perhaps planning less get-togethers, connecting less with friends (*sob!), etc.
*Take only 6 piano students in the Fall instead of 8; teach some of them before school?

What to prioritize?
*Prayer --personal and couple
*Reading the scriptures and/or conference talks every day
*Going to the Temple as often as possible (probably a month or two after the baby is born... every 3 weeks? Once a month with Brandon and than once again on my own? Find a YW who is willing to do some babysitting service...)
*Exercise and diet (if I'm eating right and staying physically healthy like that scripture above talks about, then I know I will have more energy to get the things done I need to get done)
*Showing Brandon and the kids how much I love them by taking care of them (i.e. staying on top of the housework, shopping, doing the finances so Brandon can focus on school, spending time with them, etc.)
*Mormon Women (the website I have come to absolutely adore, and absolutely must continue doing).
*Work (the new job I was talking about)
*Piano Lessons (won't have to worry about that until September)
*My blog (it's my journal, scrapbook, venting place --you know!)

Of course, most of my priorities will automatically line up when my children are in school during the day. I may not have to make all of these adjustments immediately (hallelujah!). Also, my exhaustion will subside slightly when the baby is born. Okay, okay, so it will subside when he starts sleeping through most of the night. But still! Having energy makes such a difference.

Re-prioritizing stinks. It's also the best thing to do, though. It creates peace and order --and gives us the ability to focus on the Best, even when the Good looks just dandy...

Tell me, have you had to re-prioritize lately? In the past? How have you done it? Have you regretted it? How often do you re-evaluate your schedule/priorities/life and make changes?

8 comments:

Annette Lyon said...

I feel like I'm constantly reprioritizing--to the point that it's another thing on my to do list. :)

I don't do as good as I should some days. Like how right now, I should be making dinner and sorting socks.

Good luck! I'm everything will work out great.

Julie said...

I like your new priorities -- they seem just as they should be!

I reprioritize frequently. Like this summer I decided no couponing, no planting flowers, no extra projects so I can focus on our next month of unknown. It felt good.

The other thing I've done is removed from my Google Reader every blog that is not written by someone I know and love. It's been amazing to realize that I DON'T miss Pioneer Woman. I don't even think about those blogs at all and can't believe I spent so much time reading them. Not just PW, lots and lots and lots of them.

Good luck to you!!!!! You are great.

Amanda D said...

Good luck! You can do it.

FoxyJ said...

I had a ton of life plans for this summer now that I'm not in school or working. And now I'm eight weeks pregnant and tired/nauseated. Plus my kids are adjusting to summertime and moving to another state. So a lot of big plans went out the window and will probably happen next summer, maybe.

This summer we're focusing on hanging out with our family and making new friends and our summer reading program. I spent an hour today reading to my kids, but it's something I can handle right now. I thought I was going to spend the summer doing lots of projects, gardening, and canning/making jam. I can see now that it won't happen and I'm letting it go. I may not have fabulous food storage this winter, but I'm going to have a baby and hopefully not have a major breakdown again.

Alison Wonderland said...

I reprioritize pretty regularly but not formally like you did. I wonder if it would help me to write it down?

earlfam said...

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities." Ezra Taft Benson

What I love about this quote is the passive words "fall" and "drop." It doesn't say you will know what to drop, or you will be able to put things in their proper order. It says they will fall into place or drop out. And my experience is that it happens without pain and frequently without me even noticing.

Start your day with scripture study and prayer. You will know what is important for you to do that day, and you will do it. You won't do everything you once thought you should do, but you won't care. You'll realize that the things you didn't get to weren't important and you'll be okay with that.

One other thought....
The only time I really clean my house is when I'm on the phone or listening to a book. If I were to drop long phone calls with my girlfriends I can't even imagine what my house would look like. Not to mention that my life would be significantly poorer for the lack of positive associations.

FluffyChicky said...

Prioritizing things is not high on my list of priorities. :)

But I think you are awesome for doing it (I think you are awesome anyway, priorities or not).

Nancy said...

I love this subject! Re-prioritizing is so important and when I've done it, been so rewarded but it's HARD!! Really re-prioritizing = simplifying in my life. It's getting rid of the 'no calorie' activities for the enriching ones. It's can be such a peace-bringing process. Unfortunately, I feel like I have to constantly check-in with myself and see what tweaks need to be made.

When we first moved here, I didn't really have any local friends which made life kind of lonely for me personally but I realized how much more attentive time I spent on my family instead of getting so distracted by friend's lives and families. I still had to find ways to fill my bucket (because that's what friends do a lot for me) but I've found less time-consuming ways to do that. It's a treat to talk to my long-distance friends now and I still don't have local friends that require anything of me. Kind of sad but I realize it's good timing too. I'm hoping that is coming across right.

Thanks, as always, for keeping me thinking!