A Life Lesson in the Art of Prioritization

Guess what?…it was beautiful outside today.
Yep, a beautiful day.
Ab-so-lute-ly gorgeous outside.

And the real clincher – I felt relaxed.

Me relaxing with my kids on our front porch swing.

And that, unto itself is quite a statement. Because often I have a hard time remembering what relaxation feels like since many times there are such long intervals between my own exposure to it.

And this last interval between points of relaxation, this last stretch was…


New Job. Busy Summer… that slid all too quickly into a very busy school year.
And I almost forget how to relax.

Yet today, today it was beautiful outside. And I remembered how to relax again.

But the weekend didn’t start out that way.

3 Days Earlier.

Nope. The weekend didn’t start that way AT ALL.
The weekend began in defeat.

I felt unaccomplished. Overwhelmed. And undone.
I was stressed, frustrated, and about ready to throw in the towel…

I was, in fact, at my wits end…
until I realized something…
Something that changed my entire outlook and helped me to refocus my weekend.

And I want to shout it from a mountain for others to hear!
(Except I know that one has to be at a point to want to hear what I am going to say, because I’ve been told this very thing before and I just Never. Really. Listened.)

But because I know sometimes it takes multiple exposures to learn a life lesson, here it is:

You can’t always be everything to everyone.
(Did you get that? Here, let me say it again, a little louder, because I like to repeat important things.)

You can’t always be everything to everyone!
(Now did you hear me?)

This was my most recent weekend revelation. (A life lesson a long time coming!)

You can’t always be everything to everyone. But for some reason…

I keep trying.

Houston. We have a problem.

Have you ever gotten yourself so worked up over something in hindsight that was so very silly?

Something so ridiculous, that if you were to just sit down and put it into perspective – you would realize that it would NOT be a high priority in your life. Have you ever done this?

I have. And I did.

And I feel so fortunate to have friends and family that can talk me down with their sympathetic ears. And also know how to deal with my frantic and sometimes unnecessary over-the-top reactions to situations that are clearly out of my control.

  • My problem? Is that I always want immediate results.
  • My problem? Is that I always want to correct a wrong.
  • My problem? Not everyone knows that I always mean well and have good intentions. (I swear I do!)

You can’t always be everything to everyone… and I have to recognize that this is OK.

Houston, we have a problem… BUT…
It’s not the end of the world…

Do you hear me? IT’S NOT. THE END. OF THE WORLD!
(Said loudly more for myself than for you, my readers, to hear.)

In the grand scheme of priorities… this thing that happened to be upsetting me (to be blunt) was not really that big of a deal.

Just Get Over It, Will Ya!

And for once I let myself be talked down.
I allowed myself to get over it.

(After a little venting, a couple glasses of wine, some VERY good friends and a husband that continued to let me talk myself down.)

And can I tell you something? It felt GOOD to be OK – no, I mean really OK! – about a problem that in actuality wasn’t ever solved.

A problem that in fact, really doesn’t need to be solved.
A problem that really, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t THAT important.

It felt good. (Because I am not very good at letting things go.)
It felt good. (Because it saved my much needed weekend with my family.)

And today (well, at least on Sunday when I began writing this) I felt RELAXED.

Priorities. Yet another life lesson which at some point I will probably need to revisit again eventually that I have under my belt.

And it is all because for one brief moment, I came to the realization that you just can’t always be everything to everyone.


What do you think? Have you ever gotten yourself worked up over something silly? How often do you need to continue to remind yourself about what should constitute a priority? How do you let go of things that need not to be a priority?

I’ve decided to link up with Dumb Mom at Parenting by Dummies for her Wordful Wednesdays.
(Because, as apparent above, I had a lot to say about my recent life lesson!)
Check out her Wordful Wednesday post and while you’re there, visit some other great “wordful” bloggers!)

parenting BY dummies

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18 Responses to A Life Lesson in the Art of Prioritization

  1. debi9kids
    Twitter: debi9kids

    amen to figuring it out and finding the time to relax 🙂
    debi9kids recently posted..Hard to believe the amount of time that has FLOWN by!

  2. Random Girl says:

    It’s usually about the time I get all worked up over something I find at the time to be super important that something of real, true importance comes along and smacks me in the face to give me some much needed perspective that my problem, really is not a problem in the bigger scheme of what people are facing. Glad you could find that same result without having the reality check smack you, the universe must have been feeling kind that day!
    Random Girl recently posted..Taking it to the Next Level

    • Kate says:

      Yes – the universe must have been feeling kind! You are right 🙂 – I was very lucky this time to NOT have that reminder slapped in my face (which BTW all to often is the way I have been reminded of this same life lesson in the past!)

  3. Julia says:

    What’s crazy about this post for me, is that I was just at lunch with my boss yesterday, and I told her that I was trying to be a mom, a wife, a paralegal, and that I was trying to be everything to everyone. The problem was that because I was trying to be and to do everything, I felt overwhelmed, stressed and rushed all the time. I felt really insecure because I felt like, in my haste, I wasn’t doing anything WELL.

    I also tend to easily get stressed out and overwhelmed – I am high strung by nature. I am always trying to put things in perspective in an effort to calm myself and not make a big issue over things that will probably get resolved, or maybe aren’t that important in the first place. Not always an easy thing for me to do.

    • Kate says:

      Pick and choose and priorities. I KEEP trying to tell myself this OVER and over. It is one of the reasons I only post on this blog once a week. Because – I have been there – doing way too much and not able to enjoy any of it. And life is too short to not be able to enjoy it!

  4. LOVE this post. In fact, I’m going to bookmark it so I can revisit it when I am in the midst of a freak out/tornado of stress that really is unnecessary. It happens more often than I would like!

    • Kate says:

      I hear you > “It happens more often than I would like” also! Do you know what’s better than being able to enjoy my weekend with my family? Knowing, just knowing, that I LET. THIS. GO. Because I can’t even describe to you how hard that can be for me. And now that I have let something go once… I am even more hopeful that I can do it again to have even more enjoyable weekends with my family (at least occasionally, right???)

  5. Tatum says:

    I am still struggling to learn this lesson! Like you, I’ve heard it before but it has yet to really sink in. I still foolishly believe I can be everything to everyone (perfect mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee, etc.) which more times than not leaves me stressed and overwhelmed.

    I am slowly learning that in my quest to be the jack of all trades, there are days when I end up being the master of none 🙁 The sad part is that no one expects me to be perfect but me!

    • Kate says:

      You have to go through it to get it. So consider yourself heading in the right direction Tatum 🙂

      And you are SO right > We are the ones that put all the pressure on ourselves to be perfect. And the positive side of that comment is, we are the only ones we have to depend on to change that idea around!

  6. I finally *heard* that statement about halfway through last year when I was, of course, trying to be everything to everyone and was slowly driving myself to insanity.

    Something I say when the kids are coming at me too much right now is, “There’s only one me. There are 2 of you. I can’t please you both at the same time sometimes. And you can help yourself.”

    I’m REALLY happy when I say that in a calm and loving tone of voice, rather than my ALL CAPS voice. 🙂
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..Ask Literal Mom – When is My Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

    • Kate says:

      Ha! I know – I REALLY (see there I go again) have to depend less on my “ALL CAPS” voice! 🙂

      I need to remember your solution more often: “There’s only one of me.” Yep, I’ve said that before, but I often forget or just don’t think to stop and realize how much I am trying to do and don’t need to be doing (especially things that my kids can independently take care of themselves.) Thanks Missy.

  7. You are so right! We don’t have to be everything to everyone. But like you…I try. I try hard, and it gets me stressed out so that I over react to something. Are you sure we aren’t sisters?? I’m trying to stop. I am. I’m trying to be something to myself before I worry about being everything to everyone else!!
    Hopes@Staying Afloat! recently posted..Socially Challenged

    • Kate says:

      Believe me when I say it is a HARD thing to get over (trying to be everything to everyone). I think it is something that I will always struggle with… but still – as I get busier, I feel I am really starting to recognize and understand priorities.

      P.S. I’ll just call you my “bloggin’ sis’ta” (Am I trying to hard to compete with your bomb-diggity???) 🙂 We can commiserate together when we forget to prioritize ourselves and our family… how’s that sound??? Hehe!

  8. I am glad that you are learning make you #1. As women it is so hard to not be opinionated, or have our feelings hurt, or not get involved in drama…..I think that it is in our DNA, but it’s what we do with it that matters. It wonderful that your family and husband are there to support and listen to you and guide you along bumpy roads. Keep your head up and don’t beat yourself up over things that you have no control over. Because in the end it is only youloosing sleep over it! (Usually) 😉

    A Mother’s Thoughts recently posted..“I Don’t Do That…”A Typical Quote That My Husband Says On A Regular Basis.

    • Kate says:

      It is the “drama” that drives me the MOST nuts Lynn! Other stresses I can handle… but drama just drives me over the edge sometimes.

      And I could not have said it better than you when you said: “…in the end it is only you loosing sleep over it!”

      Yep! SO TRUE! Exactly why it feels SO good to be able to “get over it.” 🙂

  9. She'sWrite
    Twitter: sheswrite

    This is spot on! I love the shouting and whispering at appropriate times too! I recently prioritized my life, then I went on vacation and did some deep thinking (or was that too many martinis?) and changed my priorities a bit. I need to start putting my thinking plan into action, but to find time to do that I need to make *that* a priority. Oh this life thing can be a vicious circle, but only if we let it, right? 🙂
    She’sWrite recently posted..Blogging from Bermuda: Ophelia and Philippe

    • Kate says:

      Vacations are great – until you get back and reality settles in again… All you can do, is do your best. This past weekend I was unable to work (due to a really FUN weekend plan!) and boy did I feel the effect over the following week. I’ve been barely staying afloat. But I can only do what I can do. So some things have dropped off the plate (one of them being my weekly post here!). But you know what? I think I an OK with that. Because this blog is supposed to be fun for me. And I want to keep it that way along with keeping my content good. And (as you know) I also blog at Mothers Center and that is my job – an I don’t take that job lightly so it has to fall a little higher on my own priority list!

      You have to know where to focus your priorities and also know when to just let. things. go. But (as I know and as you insinuated above in your comment) that is an ongoing struggle and much easier said than done. Glad we can commiserate together 🙂

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