My Priorities as a Single Mom

“If it’s a priority you will make time for it.”   I’ve heard this a lot, especially with regards to advice, both solicited and not, on things like regular exercise and relationships.  And for the most part I agree.  I also believe that this advice is often offered by well-intentioned people who have the luxury of time.  What I’ve come to accept is that not all priorities are created equal and just because it’s a priority doesn’t always mean you can make it happen, regardless of how much you want to.

My priorities are simple.  My children hold the number one spot and my health and my job are a close second (primarily because they support number one).  Beyond those are a host of other very important things.  Family, relationships, responsibilities, etc.  I do the best I can to handle each with care.

Before I go any further, let me say this isn’t a post intended to be a platform for me to vent or complain about how busy I am.  I’m always busy, yet I’m happy and incredibly blessed.  There are very few things I would change and have worked hard to get to the point where I can say that.  I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still for long, once being assessed as a “moving-centered” individual which means I think best and am more at peace when I’m active.  

My intention with this is to express my gratitude, offer a sincere apology, and make a request to all those who are in my life and to those who are in the lives of other moms that may find themselves relating to my thoughts and perspective.

Most of the time my day starts at 5am and ends, if I’m lucky, at 10pm.  I refuse to wear a fitbit (as much as I would like to) because I don’t want to admit how little sleep I actually get.  I juggle so many things between my work, fitness, kids, appointments, activities, travel, etc., that I have come to rely on my iPhone calendar to basically tell me what to do each day. Kids need to take a snack for their class next Thursday?  Great, I create a “Go buy snacks” event on my calendar next Wednesday afternoon.  Workouts are scheduled, monthly reminders to give my dog heartworm medicine are entered, birthdays… you name it, it’s on the calendar.  For me, it’s not enough to just declare something a priority, but I have to physically schedule it.   If it doesn’t get on the calendar, chances are it’s not going to happen.

I consider what happens between the “scheduled” priorities to be equally important.  Time playing with my kids, going for a run, household chores, phone calls to family and friends, neighborhood chats, dinners and drinks, these are the things that life is made of.  I can’t schedule all of these things as much as I’d like to – they are often impromptu, so I need to make a conscious effort to reserve some time for them.  

There are days when by 8pm I’m so mentally and physically exhausted that I’m counting the minutes until my kids go to bed so I can simply sit on the couch in the quiet and stare at the wall.  Not thinking, not doing, just sitting.  Those are the days that my phone will be on silent and I probably won’t look at it or return any calls.  Not because I don’t want to, but because I just can’t.  

So here is point with all this – my thank you, my apology and my request:

Thank you to the people who acknowledge all that I have going on and give a compliment from time to time.  Kind words, recognition or praise, while not required or sought out, go a long way in keeping me motivated.  Thank you to those near and far who know that days, weeks or even months can go by without talking, but not because you are far from my thoughts.  Thank you for not taking it personally.  Thank you for understanding how sometimes PB&J on a napkin is as good as it’s going to get because it’s one less dish to clean.

My apology to the people who sometimes feel the brunt of my lack of time.  It’s not because you’re not important.  It’s not because I don’t want to go to your event or see you or talk to you.  It’s not that I don’t wish I had more time.  

My request to those in my life and life of others – please be empathetic.  Know that I have good intentions. Please call me if you’re thinking about me, knowing that I’ve been wanting to return your call and have probably picked up the phone 3 times to do it, only to be interrupted before actually calling.  Please don’t say or do things to make me feel worse for not having extra time.  Trust me, I am fully aware of my limitations – you pointing them doesn’t help.  Please be patient.  Please be generally happy and positive, when I do get to spend valuable time with you I want to enjoy every minute of it.  

As moms (single or otherwise), we are a work in progress.  Constantly learning and evolving.  Priorities change, some purposefully other not.  We do the best we can. While our priorities and responsibilities are seemingly endless they are the continuous circle and they are what make it all worthwhile.   


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