Last year at about this time I wrote a post for The Skinny called New Year, New You! in which I shared five resolutions — or I prefer to call them commitments to my family. One of those commitments was to set my family as my first priority. Here’s what I said:
Me time is important, but family comes first. I tend to get caught up in work to the exclusion of all else. It helps that I love my job. And what’s more, I work from home. Which means, sometimes I feel like I’m working constantly. I am going to try to focus on scheduling work hours and walking away when the time is up. My kids will only be young once, and they need a mother who is present with them when they’re at home.
Did I succeed?
Well, yes and no. It is hard to be consistent at all times with a commitment like this, so there were certainly times when I failed. But a lot happened in my life last year that caused me to reassess my priorities. I lost two friends to cancer, I watched helplessly as friends in nearby New York and New Jersey suffered loss and damage due to Hurricane Sandy, and I witnessed along with the rest of our country the brutal slaughter of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut.
During each of these times, I was hyper aware of my own health and wellness and that of my family. I tend to feel things deeply, and when others hurt, I hurt too. Lately I’ve been contemplating, what should our reaction be when those around us are suffering?
Sometimes we even feel guilty for being happy, like it somehow disrespects those who are suffering if we go on with our lives.
But I actually think the reverse is true. I believe the proper response to these types of tragedies is to renew our efforts to treasure the time we have with our loved ones, and celebrate our health and vitality while we have it.
So yes, unfortunately due in part to witnessing others hurting around me, I’ve definitely been more conscious of putting my family first this year.
Many things distract us from our families — work, hobbies, TV, internet, sports and just the sheer busyness of being parents in this modern age.
Yes, I have to work. Yes, I have to cook and clean and shuttle the kids to and fro. Yes, it is good for me to exercise and make time for myself, and it is okay to hang out with my friends on Facebook every once in a while. But at the end of the day, all that matters is the people that live with me under this roof. I don’t want them to ever doubt that.
So this year I’m renewing my commitment to keep family first. We are discussing some fun trips and events that will give us the opportunity to connect and make memories, but most of all, I want to develop better habits when I’m at home. It’s so tempting to hop on the computer to do “just one more thing” but I don’t want my kids growing up feeling like they are constantly competing with the internet for my attention. It’s always a work in progress, this juggling act we moms face every day. I know I’m not alone in this. We’re all in the same boat, we just choose to juggle different things.
What are your biggest distractions from putting your family first? Do you have any tips for nurturing those relationships? I’d love to hear them.
photo credit: Kate Giovinco