Priorities

Earlier in the year, I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Carla from MizFitOnline.  For a few weeks after reading her awesome post, I saw tweets and FB updates from her with the phrase “Living my priorities”.  I loved what she was doing, but at the time, didn’t really connect it to anything in my life.

Since I started blogging 8 months ago, I’ve been blessed with many wonderful opportunities – FitFluential Ambassador, RRCA certified running coach, soon-to-be pre/post natal exercise specialist (waiting on my certification!), and PowerBar Team Elite Member.  While I am loving all of these additions, my life has become 100x more hectic, busy, and crazy!

I am a stay-at-home mom.  In order to find the time for all the above opportunities, my priorities started shifting.  My focus each day was no longer my son.  Instead, it was social media.  I started relying heavily on TV, videos, and other mindless outlets to occupy him so I could finish my blog, read other blogs, and stay up-to-date on twitter and facebook.

About a month ago, I had a wakeup call.  Through my increasing addiction to social media, it seemed my son was becoming addicted to the TV.   It reached a point where he was content to sit in front of the TV for LONG periods of time – and, when I shut the TV and tried to do something with him, he would whine and cry until the TV went back on.  It was easier to just turn it back on and avoid the protests.

Other indicators began popping up:
– I was getting irritated and annoyed with my son when he wanted to play or wanted some attention
– Our daily walks / trips to the park were almost non-existent
– My son’s desire to sit and play with his toys had significantly decreased
– He was much more cranky and would cry or get upset if I did anything he didn’t want

I remembered Carla’s post and realized I needed to start Living My Priorities.

What are my priorities?

Does it really matter if I don’t have a new post every single day?  Or know everything that is going on in twitterland? Is that what my focus should be each day?  

My 17 month old son is a sponge these days.  He tries to say and do EVERYTHING that he hears and sees.  Just this morning, he started calling my husband “Pau” (he doesn’t say his L’s yet) because I was shouting for him.  He wants to learn, be read to, taken on walks, explore.  And as a stay-at-home mom, this is my #1 priority.  The blogging, coaching, etc can wait until he’s asleep.

I was taking for granted that I am a stay-at-home mom.  I’m lucky enough to get to spend each day with my son.  I needed to start making the most of each day with him.

It’s been about a month since I wiped the slate clean…
– I no longer turn the TV on for him so I can do things on the computer.  If I do put the TV on, I sit with him and interact while the TV is on –  so the mindless watching of cartoons has been eliminated.
– I wait until he is napping or asleep for the night to blog, read other blogs, or check twitter/FB.  I’m not blogging as much nor am I interacting as much on twitter as I had.
– We are spending more time outside or going on day trips.

And guess what?  Within a few days of the “no TV” policy, my husband and I noticed a difference in his behavior.  He was more cheerful, pleasant, and patient.  He was back to his normal happy little self!!!

Are you a stay-at-home mom?  How do you juggle your time with your child(ren) with time spent on the computer?  

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    45 thoughts on “Priorities

    1. I totally just wrote a post very similar to this. It’s such a struggle to put amiy first with all these social media things going on ALL the time. But… they will always be there. The precious moments with our little ones will not. So glad you’ve been taking time to tune out and be with your man. :) Hugs friend!
      STUFT Mama recently posted..Summer PrioritiesMy Profile

    2. OH I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and don’t think I’ve commented yet. I had this same expereince with my kids. I have 2 girls and the same thing…started spending more time on the social media stuff and my kids started acting up. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one, cuz it sure feels like I am. I try to stay off the internet until nap time. My kids are busy busy kids. One is too old for naps, so she thinks, she when to baby goes down for her nap, the older one gets to go play outside…don’t know why she wants to…I live in AZ and it’s 100 + degrees out. She loves it though. That is then my time to catch up on chores and sit and read blogs. Then I do my running at night. I’m doing my first marathon, St George, in October! You inspire me!
      Emily Buck recently posted..I Like To Go Fast!My Profile

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences!! It’s so comforting for me to hear that other parents go through the same thing. I sometimes feel like I should be able to do it all b/c I have the perception that everyone else is too!
        Congrats on signing up for your first marathon!! So exciting!! I hope training is going / goes well for it!! =) =)

    3. Last month I read a blog post from Hands Free Mama called, “How to Miss a Childhood” that really hit a nerve. http://www.handsfreemama.com/2012/05/07/how-to-miss-a-childhood/

      If you have not read this yet- you should! I have been much more “mindful” of being on my phone/ computer in the presence of my kiddos.

      While Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Pinterest and all that stuff is fun, entertaining and even educational- my main priority at this time in my life is my children. Like you, being a stay at home mom is a FULL TIME job. With 4 children 7 and under I am BUSY! They need me. It’s my job and I don’t want anyone else to do it. (Including the TV.) To me, this means I don’t get on FB as much, sometimes I go days without checking Twitter, I blog once or twice a week and I decided not to even get on Pinterest because I’ve been warned it will “suck me in” and I don’t have time for one more thing. After reading the above mentioned post I realized I should probably cut down even more!
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..And the Verdict is….My Profile

      • One of my gfs sent this to me on FB – I hadn’t read it until she sent it to me. I cried reading it. It definitely has already made me more mindful with being on my phone too. It’s funny how I never think about how it seems from my son’s perspective – but the post is so true!
        I agree, Tia. The funny thing is that before the beginning of this year, I was so against TV and I never planned on being one of “those” moms who parked her child in front of the tv. I know how important it is to interact with your child constantly – especially during the early years. And yet, it was like I woke up one day and I had become one of those moms! I was horrified that I had begun to rely so heavily on mindless TV. In our old apt, the computer desk was in the living room/play area so it was so tempting to just hop on while I was with my son. In the new house, I am making a conscious effort to keep the computer upstairs in our bedroom – that way I can’t be tempted to check email/twitter/etc when he is awake =)

    4. I am guilty of using the tv to occupy my son, as well. I see many of us are! It’s not such a terrible thing though, especially because he is actually learning his letters and numbers! I’m a part time special educator/SAHM, but I can’t take the credit for teaching him some stuff he has picked up. It’s truly amazing! I agree it’s all about finding the balance. It’s impossible to say bc you are a SAHM that you have to give your children your undivided attention all day unless they are asleep. I make sure to either go outside in the yard, the park, library, or visit family and friends to play at least every day. If we are stuck indoors tv is on (i confess!) but we go to his play room and play ball, take out puzzles, write on the chalkboard wall, or color (his obsession with crayons is turning my home into one giant art project. Thank you magic eraser and washable crayons for existing). However, as much as I try to fill my son’s awake time with activities, I have cleaning, laundry, and work to do while I’m home. So, if i have to do those things, sometimes my only choice putting on yo gabba gabba or sesame street for a hour while he colors my coffee table and has a snack. It’s not easy, and I think it’s great that you are finding your balance, too!

      • Oh Roseann – it’s so nice to hear you say that!! I agree – there are times when I’m doing necessary things around the house that I rely on the TV. Especially in the old apt when I used the oven (it was an older oven that would get hot on the outside) – so I would barricade the oven and make him stay in the LR with the TV on for safety reasons! I think the big issue wtih my use of the TV was that it was to do something that wasn’t completely necessary – I mean, I don’t need to be on twitter or FB as much as I was…so using the TV for those reasons is no longer happening =)
        Thank you for your experience – it’s beyond comforting to know that I’m not the only mom!!

    5. Love your realness Michele! Social media started to infringe on the time I was spending with my hubs before I went off to OT school so I had to shift down. Also with OT school going on for me now, I’m more selective about who I can catch up with these days. Keep up what you’re doing! :)
      Jamie @ myrunisnotdone recently posted..Reflecting on Memorial DayMy Profile

      • Jamie – I didn’t even touch on the quality time with Paul – but I’ve cut back A LOT on my use of the computer at night for that very reason. A couple of nights a week is not a huge deal, but I was on it every night and we weren’t interacting or even acknowledging each other. Thank you for your sweet comment =)

    6. Great post Michele! I applaud your honesty! It is so easy to get consumed by social media so good for you for setting your priorities and pulling back. I’m preparing to do the same as my boys school year winds down.
      Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Hello JuneMy Profile

    7. Good for you for recognizing it quickly and changing your priorities a bit to have better balance and focus most on your most beautiful priority – your son! I have noticed so much lately how MANY people are doing this very thing, resetting their priorities and getting back to simple. I am doing the very same thing !I just blogged about this too a few days ago! Great minds, same wavelength!! And like Lindsay said here, I read your posts because I love what you have to say, not how often you post.
      jobo recently posted..The power of letting go: freedom.My Profile

    8. I am a new-ish blogger who is also trying to “fit it all in” with three young children. Every day is a juggling act. I have learned the hard way that I need to make time for my own personal priorities – but with that said, it is very easy for my kids to get lost in the shuffle. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of trying to strike this balance – even if I never do it perfectly!
      Ilene recently posted..My Photo Scandal on FacebookMy Profile

    9. That’s so great to hear! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the whole “fear of missing out” thing, and I’m glad you snapped yourself out of it! I don’t have kids, but I’ve skipped posting sometimes in lieu of hanging out with my boyfriend at home so we can spend quality time together. Love this post! 😀
      Amy recently posted..Lazy-Productive Monday and a Super SundayMy Profile

    10. Michelle, what a great post! Thank you for being so honest. I think there are many of us SAHM out there who do the same thing and are a bit embarrassed to admit it, so good for you for being so real:-)
      I’ve found now that I’ve started blogging again that I really have to create a schedule for Sophia and I so that social media doesn’t take over. But even with the schedule I have to stop myself and deliberately put down the phone and Sophia is old enough that she’ll call me out on it. She says, “Mama! Turn off your phone!” And “Look at my face!” its cute:-) It was easier when she was younger like 4,5,6 months old because took two naps and loved to roll around on her playmate and chew stuff. Now at 2 1/2 she is a walking, talking person who can express how she feels and what she needs. And she needs me!
      Here’s how I structure our day (not every day is like this…but its a good guideline)
      7:30-10 Breakfast, Bath, get dressed and play. Undivided attention don’t touch my phone
      10-10:30 Sophia gets independent reading time in her room and I answer a few emails, check twitter etc. But stop at 10:30.
      10:30-12 Play, go to the library, go outside etc.
      12 lunch
      12:30-3 Naptime: this is where I get the majority of my posts done. I’ve been trying to do more than one in a sitting and scheduling them out. And I always keep a running list of blog topics and ideas so that I can have a few “in the wings”

      The rest of the day is spent playing, reading books and maybe watching a little TV if she wakes up cranky from her nap. I make dinner, check in with my hubby when he gets home and don’t get back on the phone of computer till after Sophia is in bed. But its also important that Mark and I get some quality time together. So I try to keep my night time computer use to a minimum.
      I’ve also found early morning a good time to write. Sophia usually doesn’t get up until 7:30. So if I go for a morning run I can squeeze in a few emails, maybe start a blog post ect.

      I’ve found since I quite my job in February that I miss the validation of my job and the feeling of “doing something” productive. To some extent blogging makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, which is why I like it. But I have to remember that I left my job to be home with my daughter, not to find an activity that replaces my job and keeps me just as busy.
      Great post and thanks so much for sharing so honestly:-)
      Sarah recently posted..Finding FreedomMy Profile

    11. I love this. Thank you for sharing…your son is adorable!! And I totally relate. My daughter is 21 months, a super sponge, and just wants to be with me. She deserves my BEST. I work full time, so when I get home in the evenings, I try to completely unplug and just focus on her and “us” and together time. Everything else can wait.
      Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life recently posted..Go-To Meal: Taco SaladMy Profile

    12. So true and such a great post! I can totally relate! For me, I do read blogs when she’s playing by herself. But the minute she comes to me my attention is on her only! I will mostly blog during her naptimes. I don’t blog at night or weekends though just to spend the time with family. It’s taken a lot of stress off. I just try to focus more on what’s important, which for me is my family. BUT I enjoy blogging and it’s community. I don’t want to give that up!

    13. I am not a stay at home mom. I end up staying up late to get all my blogging done, which wrecks havoc on my sleep, but I can’t do it when I get home because I want to spend time with our baby girl. It’s a proper balance. Congrats on the shift.
      PavementRunner recently posted..An easy 10 with Eric of Roc the RunMy Profile

    14. You are an inspiration to us all. Just like carla, being a mom and living your priorities first. Thats why i follow you, not for how often you blog, tweet, etc.
      <3
      lindsay recently posted..Enjoy the ViewMy Profile

    15. I so admire your honesty and for sharing this part of your story. It can be so hard to admit that not only to yourself but to the world as well. I pray that other mothers and fathers will read that and take a step back to see if they are doing the same. We have a “no cell phone” rule in our house when the kiddo is awake. Not only do we find ourselves connecting with our daughter more, we (my husband and I) connect more as well!

      Great job mama!!
      Carrie M recently posted..Up and RunningMy Profile

    16. This is sooooo true! I give myself a half a day a week to do social media. You can do things at night like schedule tweets to be disbursed throughout the day. During the half a day I have a neighbor girl come and play with my twins so that I don’t use TV all of the time to occupy them. It is easier now that they are older and in school, but come this summer I will be much more quiet in Twitterland and I am HAPPY to give it up!!! Summer with my kids is fun (not every second) but we have a blast, I wouldn’t want to miss that for anything.
      Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Bolder Boulder 10K race recapMy Profile

    17. Clearly, you made the right choice. I don’t have kids but I would say your post rings true for all of us out there. It’s ok for social media to take a back seat and we definitely need to shut off at some point during the day. It’s hard especially since we all have iPhones and iPads and laptops. I’ve been trying to pull myself away – I really don’t like sitting at home on the computer at night when I’m at one all day long. But, Twitter? I really can’t resist. 😉
      Kristin recently posted..Hot Yoga FunkMy Profile

    18. I love this post. I really do. I don’t have kids yet, but I started seeing social media taking over my relationship a little bit. I would get irritated when Z wanted to talk or cuddle when I Was in the middle of writing a post. I would blame it on “being in the zone and not wanting to lose my mental focus” which – to an extent is true. But — mostly it was an excuse to let myself get sucked in more.

      I’ve taken a step back the few weeks, and while my blog has probably suffered because of it, my relationship is back to where I want it to be. We laugh more. we smile more. & THAT to me is #1 right now — and probably always
      Charlotte recently posted..Re-Adjusting Running My Goals After InjuryMy Profile

    19. I have been too busy lately to get online and do my blogging and twitter and at first I felt guilty for leaving it go. But then I remembered that what I am too busy doing ARE my priorities and that if I let social media stuff go to the back burner that it is ok. Way to refocus and remind us all that we have way more important things than our blog. :)
      Robin recently posted..Vermont City Marathon 2012 Race ReportMy Profile

    20. Good for you! I am new to this blogging world and think it is great that you recognized you needed to make a change. It is a privilege to stay home with our children- you will never get back those years. I hope to stay focused on my reason for blogging & tweeting so it doesn’t become a burden on my family. I just wrote a post about this a few days ago called “Who am I following”. You are doing the right thing- enjoy that sweet boy!

    21. Michele–Good for you! And let me say, this was a brave post to write. People are really quick to judge each other on parenting, so I applaud you for putting this out there. (and screw ’em if they judge!)

      I have to say that I am fortunate that my kids were/are old enough to be in school FT by the time I got into social media. When they were little, I was really fixated on not putting them in front of TV and spending as much time as possible reading to them, getting outside with the, exposing them to new things, etc. I feel like it paid off in the kids that they are today, but of course, at 11 and 7, it’s still to early to tell. Anyhow–they have three days of school left and so with summer ahead, I do plan to unplug more. They are busy with their own activities, so I get my chances then, but it won’t be nearly as easy as during the school year. But I am primarily a stay at home mom, and so that’s where my priorities need to be also. The rest will fall into place.
      misszippy1 recently posted..Dear dermatologistMy Profile

      • You have some amazing time management abilities. I can’t believe how much you get done with 2 kids while solo parenting right now. You are my hero.

    22. Great post! And kudos for taking accountability. You should definitely make the most of staying at home with your son. THAT is an opportunity I never had. The rest of us in the social media world will be here when your son is sleeping. :)
      Jen Correa @ Mom’s Gotta Run recently posted..Mom’s Day OffMy Profile

      • Thanks, Jen! I definitely needed to take a step back and realize that I was taking for granted what so many other moms/dads would love to have. And I was basically throwing it away to blog. Just not worth it =)

    23. Great post:) I stay at home with my 5, 4 and 2 year old and with all their different schedules there is NEVER any downtime. If my two year old naps, there is still the 5 or 4 year old that beg for attention. I have to remain very conscious of the amount of time I spend on the computer and with them. I don’t want to ignore them, nor do I feel the need to constantly entertain them. It’s a balance that I’m always trying to maintain and shift around to keep everyone happy.
      Katie @ msfitrunner recently posted..Second, My Lot in Life – A 10K and a Half MarathonMy Profile

      • Oh gosh – I am praying that when baby #2 is born that he/she will take at least one nap that coincides with my son’s one long nap a day!! LOL. I have a similar dilemma with my son – he will play by himself – but the moment I step away or try to work on the computer, he comes over to get my attention. There are times I get frustrated that he needs my approval and attention, but most of the time I tell myself he is just looking for a little validation.

    24. I think every SAHM with an personal ambitions goes through similar struggles. It’s really hard to give give give of yourself more or less 24 hours a day without some sort of break. When I started Salty Running I was able to stay up until 2:30 every night and crank out posts. Then I got pregnant and that’s thrown a hug wrench in things and I have to be much more creative with finding time and of course I also just can’t do as much. My kids are a little older and I have two of them so they do play well together which is a huge help. I have my windows of time to play around online and then when I’m out of those zones I’m out. I don’t even have a smart phone or anything! It’s definitely a tough balance and I wish you all the best figuring out what works for you!!! Thanks for sharing your experience so openly and honestly too!!!

      • I am hoping that in about a year my son and baby #2 will be able to play together…or at least keep each other company so I can start to get some work done when they are awake! It’s tough now b/c my son plays great alone – when I am sitting next to him or on the floor. It’s like he knows that my attention is no longer on him if I even try to start typing on the computer!! The smart phone is a whole other can of worms. I’ve stopped receiving notifications of twitter/fb messages b/c I found that I was picking it up every few minutes ! Thank you for sharing your experiences with me – it’s really great to hear how other parents juggle kids and social media these days!

    25. I’m so touched you linked me and shouted out to my efforts for this year.
      It is a daily recommitment for me. And still many days I fall short.

      xo

      • It’s refreshing to hear someone as successful as you deal with issues that we all go through. And I agree – it’s a daily recommitment – it would be so much easier each day just to turn the TV on. But now that I see the result of that, my will power is much stronger.

    26. I’m SO glad you took this step back to shift your focus back to the priorities that matter most to you. It is SO easy to get sucked in, in, in and before you know it, your days are spent consumed by the computer. I’m proud of you for making this move, it’s NOT easy especially when you need to step back from something you truly enjoy (blogging, tweeting, etc.).
      Jess recently posted..An open letter to my husband…8 years laterMy Profile

    27. Oh, I can definitely relate to this! My daughter is 6 years old now and in elementary school (well, right now on summer break). I got very burned out her first couple of years, trying to “do it all”. I worked in my career out of the house, breast pumped, nursed at home, and eventually we were all living to “stressful”. After my husband got orders for a year in Iraq, I realized we just couldn’t go on so stressful anymore. I left the out of the house workforce after 10 years and started taking on projects here and there while at home (I work IT). We immediately started having a much less stressful life and it was so much better for all of us. My daughter has the full focus, I am still a “working woman” so never lost my career focus, yet we are all not so crazy with stress anymore. I am a “busy woman” but with much better control over how we manage our lives. Over the years, I’ve learned to really watch myself with “online time” and TV. In fact, I don’t turn the TV on at all for me during the day. We got rid of cable TV and just use a Roku box for Netflix and Hulu and whatever else we get with bunny ears. I limit my “social media” to about 2 hours in the morning from about 8-10AM and then 2 hours at night from about 8-10PM. It’s good to set limits, plus, not much *really* goes on with social media from about 11AM-7PM from what I’ve noticed 😉
      Christina recently posted..On the to-do list: bicycle repairsMy Profile

      • YES! I agree with what you said! I used to watch so much more TV before I was blogging – but there’s just no time these days (probably a good thing anyway to limit the TV!) There are only 2 shows I watch now and I actually DVR them and watch them while on the treadmill! =) Thanks for sharing your experience – it’s nice to hear how other parents juggle it all !!
        nycrunningmama recently posted..PrioritiesMy Profile

    28. good for you!!! as much as i love your tweets and posts–i respect your decision to PARENT(the most important job on the planet) so much more. And congrats on the new house–beautiful!! :)

      • Thank you, Elizabeth! I am still going to be here – just have pulled back a bit in the last few weeks!! Once we are settled in the house, I will have more free time during his naps! =)