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Priority Hierarchy

Summer was a month gone. Our plans to swim in pools and see people were happening and we had pictures to prove it. And none of my intended summertime projects had begun. Exciting opportunities to straighten out garage toys or hem my beautiful new linen pants remained unrealized. I’d maintained my life but hadn’t moved on to the hoped for extracurricular activities.

I said Self, Self I said, what’s going on here? Seems I may need yet another adjustment to my expectations and there may be a glitch in my priorities. My Spidey sense started to tingle.

And then I remembered an Oprah show I’d seen twenty years ago the gist of which was, mothers are better mothers when they are one of their top five priorities. Now I am a mother and I recognize the wisdom in this. And can see, I too may have fallen victim to a priority scramble and the displacement of myself as a priority.

So, with intention, I sat down to sort and rank my top twelve tasks. They were as follows.

1. My Son (who tied with Sleep)

2. Cooking/Eating/Grocery Shopping

3. Husband and supporting his company

4. E-mail/Bill paying/budget

5. Cleaning/Laundry

6. Exercise/Personal Care

7. Friendships/Family

8. Organize Household/Shopping for supplies

9.Writing

10. Fun/Play/Reading

11. Design /Creating

12. Pets and Car maintenance

What can I surmise from my list? And what different choices can I make to my priorities to balance my task budget?

Of course my son comes first. He is like an open program always running on the mommy computer. Most Moms keep a constant tally of their children’s meals, play, sleep, and pottying needs. He’s still alive and I consider my prioritizing him the key to accomplishing this. Eating well is also a priority as I have kept the man who pays the bills happy and we don’t spend money to go out to eat a whole lot.

Bad news is that my clean floors are more important than my friends and family. I don’t resent my domestic duties however fun didn’t make the top five. And although exercise made it to six, I wish I had a form of exercise I considered fun. Personal care is actually a dental appointment not a manicure. Apparently the activities which feed my soul, writing and designing and creativity, have taken a back seat to the have-to’s.

Now comes the part where I decide what I can change. Remember, if you change nothing, nothing changes. Surely I could tweak my efficiency and my happiness simultaneously.. Planning ahead does wonders at decreasing the drudgery factor. Stock piling back-up meals could free me up. And if I can manage to earn money enough to pay someone else to clean my floors, I’d be a very happy homemaker.

Although I do laundry every other day, I could do it less often. It may be an entire day activity which I could combine with the cook-athon. Or a read-a-thon. Or a writer’s day. And sometimes it’s OK to say to the spawn, “Mommy needs to do this for a little while. Go play.” Especially when the child is seven.

I think the real issue here is Permission. Truly, the more I allow the creativity to flow, the less anxious and happier I am. Living as the truly creative me would spill over into all other areas and life would seem easier all around. I’ve glimpsed this and I liked what I saw. I also am endeavoring to rid myself of my pesky fear of success.

Summer has been turned down to a simmer for us now. Some of it is on autopilot as our calendars are synchronized. Instead of waiting for the right time to come along, I am going to designate one day to rid myself of all the hangover tasks like cleaning windows. I’ll schedule the “right time” and we’ll see how that works for me.

I no longer want to live in a world where working is more important than creating. I think the conflict lies in the disorganization of the creative. As if the creativity is convinced it cannot exist with a schedule. I think I bought that somewhere and now I’m ready to trash it. I want to give myself permission to be creative and organized too.

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One Response to “Priority Hierarchy”

  1. Tania says:

    I try to a little something everyday to feed my soul. Doesn’t have to be huge or time consuming, just something. I totally agree, I hate when life turns into a never ending cycle of must do and work. I had a creative gap in my life for years and it affected me deeply. Agree that planning ahead really can help but yes, there are still only so many hours in the day. Sometimes as you mentioned with a few situations above that yes, it is letting go of certain expectations too.

    My floors take forever too and I have a teeny space, it is just do dirty here all the time from wind and open land. But having a clean house makes me happy so yup it becomes a priority.

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