Shawni Eyre Pothier is the mother of five children between the ages of twelve and three. She received a bachelors’ degree from Brigham Young University and is an accomplished writer, speaker and presenter. Shawni is also in demand as an artist and photographer specializing in images of children and families. She and her mother, Linda Eyre, are the co-authors of A Mother’s Book of Secrets: Keys to Making Motherhood Memorable, Meaningful, and Magnificent you can also follow along with Shawni on her blog, 71Toes.

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Last month I got mad at myself because I hadn’t read for book club for the last three months.

For as long as I can remember I have been part of a book club. The reason? Aside from the obvious connections it gives me with wonderful women, it gives me a push to read. Because I LOVE to read. I love how it makes my mind work. I love how it transports me right smack dab into someone else’s thoughts. I love the ideas books give my brain to launch into. Yes, I love to read.

Despite how much I love it, I hadn’t been making it a priority. Life had swung out of control and I was barely keeping my head above water. But I decided last month that enough was enough. I was going to read our book club book that month (The Great Gatsby) if it killed me. And guess what? I did. I read it in a matter of hours. I didn’t necessarily love the story itself, but I loved the character development, how it made me think, how it was so different from what I remembered it being when I read it in high school, and I loved the discussion that ensued at book club. It made me feel alive.

And I was so glad that I had made reading a priority. The rest of the things in my life didn’t just go away as I read, they still swirled on, but nothing burned down, we are all still alive, and my mind is that much richer because of it. (Now I’m on to reading The Help which is another story in and of itself…love it so far but more on that later.)

That whole experience has made me ponder what I prioritize in life. Am I prioritizing the right things?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend a few weeks ago. She was asking me how in the world I keep up with this blog. I explained that it’s part of my sanity. Somehow spilling out how I feel makes me more conscientious of how I live my life. I feel like it makes me a more deliberate mother and it makes me feel great to have a record of our life under my belt. And because of that, I make it a priority.

Obviously not everyone has the same priorities. Not everyone adores reading like I do. Not everyone feels rejuvenated when they get their feelings written out. My friend I had that discussion with is a runner. Running is a passion for her. She’ll run up to ten miles some days. As for me, running is definitely not my forte. Sure, it’s something that would be nice to do more of, but it’s not a priority for me right now in my life. It is hers. And she is a better person because she is taking the time to pursue what she loves. She’s more balanced and ready to embrace life when she’s done with a run because in doing it she is becoming herself.

The problem with all this prioritizing mumbo jumbo is that sure, we all know we need to prioritize, but how do we find the right priorities in a mothering world where it seems everyone surrounding us needs part of us every minute of the day. What do we prioritize? What is it ok not to prioritize?

My friend Nicole says:

“Select what you’re going to Neglect,

So that you don’t

Neglect what you Select.”

And my Mom has this quote I love: “If something’s barely worth doing, just barely do it.”

As mothers we have to neglect some stuff. No matter how hard we try, we can’t do everything. And that’s ok!

As long as we know that we are prioritizing the right stuff, (families and faith are at the top as far as I’m concerned…we all want so much for our husbands and kids to feel that we prioritize them above anything else, right?). But sometimes we forget that we need to prioritize ourselves in order to “be there” more wholly for our families. We need to get out and run that marathon or take that class or have that moment of quiet each day to become ourselves.

And I believe we have to have help from God to do that fully, so we need to pray our guts out about what we should personally put as our priorities. Then we have to let some of the other things go, and that’s ok.

I have to keep reminding myself of that. It’s ok. It’s even ok to find ourselves at “Wit’s End” every once in a while. It’s ok to fail at the things we are trying. Because that means we are trying. And if we prioritize the things that will make us grow the most, well, I think failing along the way here and there, or even continually, makes us that much stronger.

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Comments (2)

  1. raejean 07/12/2010 at 11:45 am

    It always surprises me when I remember (again and again) that when I take a little time for myself to read or scrapbook, I'm renewed. I'm able to jump back into being a mom and better focus on my children's needs. I end up being much more effective.

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