Wednesday, January 18, 2012


In my short time as a mom, I have learned that motherhood is all about priorities. No, I don't mean "seeing the bigger picture", "not sweating the small stuff" or "focusing on what really matters" life balance type priorities. I mean- "which is more important, eating or showering?" survival type of priorities.

Because I have quickly come to realize that I am no longer in charge of my days (or my life). I have a new boss, and she's kind of a tyrant. Sure, Piper may only be 13lbs, but she rules with a tiny iron fist. She doesn't necessarily tell me what I can do, but she certainly dictates when I can do it. Gone are the days of creating an ideal to-do list, and then checking tasks off in the order that I see fit. In a world of unpredictable naps, you have to make the most of free time while it lasts, so I've had to learn to prioritize in a whole new way.

The minute her head hits the pillow (or more accurately, her swaddled butt hits the mattress) I have to hit the ground running. If I have anything I want to get done without simultaneously holding/bouncing/entertaining a wee one- now is the time. I quickly think through the pending chores or activities for the day, and choose the one that I'll be most upset about not completing. I start there and cycle through in descending importance, until I hear my little stop-watch wail, and it's once again Piper Time.

I don't have the luxury of matching up my tasks to my mood. To delay things means to bank on having more time later...and that's not always a guarantee. The climate is now-or-never. Not carpe diem, but carpe this exact instant, who knows when you'll have another chance! Maybe I want to work out today, but I'm not exactly feeling it right now...Too bad. Yank on the yoga pants and jump on the elliptical...this could be my last shot for the day. And do you want to eat lunch today? Well, ignore the fact that it's 10:45. This is your window. Love it or leave it (or watch it leave you).

And even more challenging than that is the detailed sub-level of prioritization that I've had to master. Say I chose to use her morning nap as a chance for me to get ready; that's not enough. I have to break it down further. A shower is almost always necessary, but there are choices within that choice- If push comes to shove, would I rather have clean hair or a clean body? You can't assume both are going to happen (let's not even talk about shaving)...If I do get to bathe uninterrupted, the decisions don't stop there. Put on makeup, or dry my hair? More specifically- dry my whole head or just hit the bangs and move on? Every moment is a gift (and I don't mean it in the sappy, spiritual sense). Use them wisely!

(The great irony is that at this point in writing this post, Piper actually woke up, requiring me to change her diaper and rock her back to sleep....I choose to blog, but which sentence should I type first?! A whole paragraph may not be an option!)

And though I have somewhat free reign while the little boss sleeps, she still manages to influence my path. I know that she'll tolerate laying on the bed while I get dressed, but will probably balk at being left to play while I wash dishes. I can eat breakfast with her on the couch while we "talk", but anything involving the lap top (my lap is her lounge chair of choice) is out of the question. So naptimes are often spent dressed in a robe, loading the dishwasher as silently as possible, and frantically checking email (and even then only the online tasks that can't be completed from my phone get attention). [And I've learned the hard way that painting my nails is a task that is only to be approached when Dustin is in the house. Any attempt to do it without backup, will invariably result in a crying baby, and a ruined manicure.]

Don't get me wrong- my day isn't one constant stream of Double Dare type physical challenges (Quick! Get dressed, make lunch, mail four thank you notes, clean off the coffee table [again] and write a blog post before time expires!) but I have learned not to take time for granted. Plans can go up in smoke in an instant, and an afternoon I had expected to have free to get some things done, may actually be spent giving an emergency bath, washing another load of laundry, or just giving some much needed cuddles.

Turns out I have a new number one priority now...And truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. Great perspective, Courtney! It's not easy. If you want to use one of those spare moments to read, here's a great article with a little inspiration:

  2. I just read that the other day, Kara...I loved it! Made me wish I wrote it! But that mom is further along than I am....and much wiser! :) Thanks for the link!