Its no secret to anyone that knows me that I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder with bouts of general and postpartum related depression. After barely surviving particularly hard deployment that included much of the first year of my (not sleeping) baby girl’s life, lots of anxiety, depression and overwhelm I stumbled onto the idea of creating a life priorities list and ultimately a family mission statement (click here to learn more about Creating a Family Mission Statement).
I had just learned what a podcast was (oh, hello 2017… I’m Heather. Nice to meet you. I’m so glad I’m out of the 90’s and know what a podcast is…) and had browsed some that I thought might be interesting and subscribed. I found “The Homemaking Foundations Podcast” by Jami Balmet. She is an Evangelical Christian wife, mom & homemaker who gives some (mostly) pretty sound Christian advice (and she doesn’t bash Catholics, so that’s a plus). She did an episode on “Determining your Priorities as a Homemaker” and it struck a cord with me. My priorities were SO OFF. So, so off in fact that I was spreading myself super thin, I was tired, not really succeeding at anything I did – even the dishes, laundry, or keeping sane and I was barely staying afloat.
Little did I know creating my life priorities and putting it on a board in my kitchen for myself and everyone around to see – would change the way I made decisions. I began to not feel guilt when I would say no to something. Not that that something was bad – it could have been spending time with the elderly at the church and enriching their lives… it was just that I started realizing that when I said “yes” to something it means I was automatically saying “no” to something else in my life. If I said “yes” to volunteering to teach volunteer on a board of directors for a local spouses club, it meant I was saying “no” to lots of my evenings, to time with my kids, to my happiness when something conflicted, and the list goes on. Realizing my yes answers were also no’s in other areas of my life made this list an awesome tool for me. I was able to say, “Ok, If I say “yes” then does my automatic “no” mean I’m sacrificing one of my 5 priorities? If so, then I need to give that decision a big, fat NO!”. It was freeing and also helped me remove that awful guilt I always feel when I tell someone I can’t do something. These priorities are a powerful thing people… promise!
I’ve created this FREE worksheet for you to print out and work through to create your priorities list as well as encouragement and examples to give you goals to keep those priorities… well, a priority in life!
Family & Life Priorities List
The concept is simple but what can be difficult is narrowing down your priorities. Give God a nice prayer that the Spirit will guide you as you work through your worksheet.
Step 1: List some of the things you find to be your biggest priorities. For me mine included God, my marriage, kids, health, finances, a clean/organized home, an enriching social life, volunteering, finding a fulfilling hobby, and the list goes on.
Step 2: Narrow down this list to 3-5 priorities. Start slashing those silly ones out. Or combining any that are alike. My list went from tons of random things to: God, Marriage, Kids, Health and Finances.
Step 3: Put those priorities in order. Mine go in the same order as above. Now, some people have an issue with me putting my husband and marriage above my kids but I believe that without a strong marriage those kids won’t have the love and peace they deserve in a home they are growing up in. Plus, my husband and I have to still love each other long after these little red headed kiddos are out of our home! He’s my #1 after God.
Step 4: Give yourself some back up as to why these priorities are important to you. I used bible verses, catechisms, quotes from Saints to back up my reasoning. Think of this as your “why”. Why does the bible say God/Husband/Kids/Health/Finances should be my priorities? This was actually kinda a fun part. I went to an online bible and searched for keywords for my priorities. Or even just do a quick Google search. There’s a lot out there – I had a hard time narrowing down to 10 of these “affirmations” for each of the priorities I had picked.
Step 5: Support your priorities with action steps. What are you going to do in your life to make this item a priority? For example: To make God a priority in my life I was vowing to make it to mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, to spend 15 minutes a day reading or listening to the bible, pray a decade of the rosary a day, etc.
Step 6: Write it somewhere that you can read it often. I have this cute table top easel and on one side I write my meal plan for the week and on the other side I have my 5 priorities listed. Its in the kitchen and because ya’ll know that’s where I spend my whole life trying to keep up, I get to glance at it often.
Step 7: Start remembering these priorities when decisions come up! “Should I just order a pizza or try to get to the grocery store today?” Well, the pizza isn’t healthy and spending $20 on it isn’t financially responsible when you consider how much food I can get at the grocery store for $20 – which means this decision is a no-go. Easy as pie!
I would love to hear what your priorities are and how having them defined has helped you lessen the momma burden on your life and decision making!
If you’re interested in my free step-by-step printable to create your priorities list and turn it into a family mission statement – subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll shoot you the download link!