Why Mothers Need To Pick Their Priorities

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Written by monthly contributing writer, Kat.

Confession: I don’t often floss or recycle.

Ok. Calm down. Don’t throw any tomatoes. Step away from the unsubscribe button.

I realize that for many of you flossing and recycling are sacred.

I also realize that they are both super, really, extra special, very important things to do. Times ten.

However, the fact remains, that I don’t always do them. Brushing works just fine for me.

The List of Important Things Is Endless

As moms, there are a whole lot of of super, really, extra special, very important things we can do. And there are lots of people, magazines, tv shows, dentists and doctors telling us we need to do them. All of them.

Here’s a sample:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times a week.
  • Drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day.
  • Always sit ergonomically correct when using the computer.
  • Lift weights regularly to fend off osteoporosis.
  • Don’t let your kids watch more than 30 minutes of TV.
  • Never, ever raise your voice to your children.
  • Don’t let your child see that you’re frustrated with them.
  • Make sure your children eat lots of spinach and broccoli.
  • Share the Gospel regularly.
  • Read your Bible daily.
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself.

All of these things are very important, but it is impossible for us to execute ALL them 100% of the time.


We have to learn to let things go sometimes. We need to know what is important TO US and let go of the things that, while important, are not priorities right now.

One Thing At A Time

Imagine a child walking in to the first day of school and the teacher saying, “Ok. We need to read Chaucer, then do some Calculus, a little Mozart and we’ll wrap up with AstroPhysics.”
Those are all important things. But they are NOT important, in anyone’s estimation, to a first grader.

God does not address all of our faults and shortcomings at the same time. Neither should we. And sometimes progressing in one area means postponing progress in another.

Imagine if a football player shows up to practice and the coach says, “First we’re going to work on our jump shot, then zone defense, free throw shooting and dribbling.” Those are all important skills….for a basketball player, not a football player.

When we don’t know who we are, where we are at, and where we are headed we get distracted by all the “important” things….because they are all around us.

Most mothers deal with comparison. We feel bad because “Mrs. So and So” does such and such…and that’s REALLY important.

But is it really important to YOU? Is it what God wants YOU to be doing right now?

Spend time with God. Listen to His still small voice. Know your purpose. Pick your priorities. Do the next thing.

About Kat

Kat blogs at Inspired To Action, a site dedicated to helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world. Kat and her husband Jimmy live the great state of Texas and have 3 children ages 7, 5 and 2. Kat loves music, running, technology, Jesus and Tex-Mex food. Not necessarily in that order.

57 Responses to Why Mothers Need To Pick Their Priorities

  1. Rafaela September 23, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Great post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I aam impressed!
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    Thank you and good luck.

  2. Leslie May 11, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    I don’t comment very often on this site, but check your blog regularly, and I just want to say that I’ve been blessed by it.

    I’ve been especially encouraged with this month’s “mothering” theme. I have a sweet 2 year old girl, but some days can seem so challenging and draining with behavior and child training issues.

    It’s nice to not feel so alone sometimes and to also receive good, Christian encouragement!

    Thank you!

  3. stef May 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    another post about motherhood, sheesh. :(

    • Ali K. May 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      She has themes on this website. This month is on motherhood, February was on loving your husband, and March was on hospitality.

  4. TJ May 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    “Do the next thing.” That is my motto these days! Thanks for the excellent reminder! I love the way you explained it.

  5. Danielle A May 10, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    This post went straight for my heart, and especially with how I feel today. With the world putting so much pressure on moms/wives, and at the same making it impossible to get what is desired done as well…like a lose lose situation. But this post definitely encouraged me to rest in God’s presence, and listen hard for his will for me.

  6. Shelli May 10, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    A million thanks to this post! You allowed yourself to be REAL and vulnerable, and show us other wives/moms that we don’t have to live up to super mom. We all need to have priorities and the ever so endless daily list. But somedays it’s just overwhelming to do it all, and to hold everything together. Each of us has determine what God is calling our family to do and not to do. Love Passionate Homemaking and all of you gals on here, but it can sometimes be an intimidating blog. Once again thanks Kat for being REAL and giving me a good laugh in the midst of my failures.

  7. Lacey Wilcox May 10, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    This was so good–I have no idea why we always try to do it all. For me, it usually ends in tears.
    Thank you for the reminder–it was much needed!

  8. Elizabeth May 10, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    I really needed to read this today. With all the information you can find so readily available online, and all the how-tos, DIY’s, books, goals, dreams, wants, needs…its so easy to get caught up in trying to do everything how everyone else is. I’m trying to take a step back in my life right now, realize whats most important and what works to get the job done for me and my family, and then filter out the rest. Thanks so much for this!! So timely!

  9. Marilyn May 10, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement and your honesty. With a currently overwhelming work and home life, I really needed this reminder.

  10. Erin May 10, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Even those of us who aren’t a mother yet need to hear this. Thanks Kat!

    “But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” ~II Corinthians 10:12

  11. khit May 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    God bless your mind, for putting this article together..I myself went a lil crazy on timing my daughters tv watching..professionals says..it shouldnt be more than 2 hrs a day..im a stay at home mom and i give 100% on everything. i have to stop bec i realize..her tv watching if it exceeded 30 mins to an hour wouldnt hurt her..wouldnt make her a bad person..not it doesn’t make me a bad mom. its just me and my husband, when hes at work..its all me. I am so blessed and i learned to cut me some slack. Professionals suggest all the play and activity you have to do with your kid..to a point that i t becomes a chore already and not having fun with your kids. So yeah..i definitely agree with you and i have a huge grin on my face while reading this..A time with God and reading the bible ( w/c i only do at sunday service –but i swear i wanted to be a bible junkie) keeps me sane..it feeds my soul. i owe my bible reading to my husband who led me to our new church :)

    • Ali K. May 10, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      For mothers who work from home, they sometimes use the TV as a baby-sitter now and then, especially during the rainy Pacific NW winters. It is OK as long as it isn’t day in and day out 24/7. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to use the TV as a babysitter while you have a conference call with clients.

  12. LaShanna May 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Wow…thank you so much for writing this post!!! Today I just wanted to break down and cry, because I hadn’t accomplished everything on my (longgggggggg) to do list. Yes we have great responsibility as wives and mothers. However, God expects for us to prioritize what is most important during that particular season. It’s time to re-prioritize some things!!! :)

  13. isabel May 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    I loved this and needed this! thank you :)

  14. Kari May 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Tear and sigh…I needed to hear this. Thank You. I am a clothing diapering mom that just went through a huge box of diapers to give myself time to regroup. I let a few projects/tasks go and found time and energy to get a few other tasks that had been bothering me completed. I am figuring out who I am suppose to be as a mom. I have made my own laundry detergent before…but just found a stockpile of half off Nellie’s detergents!! Checked one thing off my list!
    I continue to pray that I can get “everything together”. And now, I found this wonderful messge in my inbox. God is good and he did make me to be the women I am. Even if I am messy at times. Priorities Priorities! Sorry, Grammer is one of my messies.

  15. priest's wife May 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    yes yes yes…I’m working on it!

  16. Dawn May 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    I needed this today. Thank you for letting the LORD speak through you.

  17. Joy May 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    AWESOME! This is sort of how I operate…I don’t recycle and I don’t floss either! :-) I know I should, but those things just get put on the back burner.
    I live my life a bit more “carefree” than some moms might, and it’s so nice to be reminded that I don’t have to feel guilty for it. I can just work on one thing at a time. God bless you!

    • Elizabeth May 10, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Wow, I’m totally with you on the carefree Mom front! But then I start to compare myself to others and wonder if I’m doing things right and should I change things…try to be different. Its good to step back and say, God made me this way for a reason. Just be the best Mom that I was made to be. :)

  18. Bethany May 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I’m so glad to read this today! I have so much I want to do and need to do, that at the moment I feel overwhelmed with what to focus on first, and what is really important. My list seems so long… sort through the family clothes in preparation for summer and baby numero 3, write for the blog I recently started about natural childbirth, research for said blog, exercise three mornings a week, walk every day, work on a newsletter I do as freelance work on the side, work on several sewing projects I’ve been delaying on… all in addition to the playing with and instructing my kids, cooking, cleaning, being a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and making sure I don’t overdo it and send myself into labor. :) I can’t believe the moms who actually accomplish a whole list of things every day.

    One thing I do that really helps in the health front is to exercise three mornings a week… for six minutes. I do a basic kettlebell exercise with a jug of water, then do one balancing-type exercise for core strength, and rear lifts on my back. Then on those mornings I eat a high-protein breakfast such as eggs. I got the idea from the book “4-Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss. It’s awesome because I actually feel accomplished, and it makes a huge difference in my health. And the best part? It’s only five minutes so there’s no way I can convince myself I don’t have the time. Just one of the little things I do to help myself actually do what I know I should be doing.

  19. Michele May 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post! As wives, and mothers we can quickly get our priorities out of order real fast! We all look to the Proverbs 31 woman and often fall short of the hostess with the mostest lady found in this particular Proverb. I have two older boys now and looking back over the years you learn to pick your priorities in life. Teaching them about the Lord was my TOP priority. Period. I laughed at the flossing comment because I too struggle with it! I live in Portland Oregon and if you don’t recycle you will be put on the list of sweaty heathens, so not recycling isn’t even an option. Truthfully, I often feel discouraged by this particular blog site, because everyone on here seems to do it all, have it all, and be completely in control of things. I don’t make my own laundry detergent, I don’t make my own chap stick, and the list goes on and on. I do however LOVE JESUS and I want to strip away the distractions that keep me from being an effective ambassador for Christ. Thank you for conveying that message in a funny and down to earth way today!

    • Maura May 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

      Don’t be discouraged by those who make their own laundry detergent or own chapstick. Instead be thankful that you can afford to purchase the ready-made version in the grocery store and live close enough to the store to do so. Some of the readers don’t have means to purchase the pre-made items at the store and out of necessity have to make them at home. or they live way, way out in the country and popping into a Wal*Mart or Costco after work to pick up items just are not an option.

      Look at it like dining out… some family have the money to dine out where others have to make their meals at home. Same with folk, some of us drink Folgers everyday at home while others have the means to hit the drive-thru Starbucks.

      • Maura May 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

        Sorry for the grammar and spelling – did not proof-read my last comment. ;-)

  20. Katie @ Imperfect People May 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Love it! I wrote a smilar post and called it “chossing to cheat” You’re right there are so many important things something must be, “cheated” Deciding what is important is the key. I would much rather cheat my housework than my children. Thank you for this post!

  21. Leigh Ann May 9, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I never floss either. I don’t recycle either. I used to feel bad. But then I realized that God has gifted each one of us differently. Flossing and recycling is on my list, but for now they aren’t the priority.

    “God does not address all of our faults and shortcomings at the same time. Neither should we. And sometimes progressing in one area means postponing progress in another.”

    Oh how true this is! I’ve also, often, found that improvement in one area inevitably leads to improvement in some of “those other areas.” :-)

    • Ali K. May 10, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      It is interesting how different things are priorities for families. While one family may value homeschool, dining out, and vacations, another family may value private school, home-cooked meals, and sports. No one life style is the “right way.” That is one thing we have got to learn to accept among the Church. I even have to watch my own thoughts sometimes comparing my home to others. Sometimes I will think I cannot believe The so-and-so family let’s their kids do x-y-z and I would never let my kids get away with that. I have to remind myself we all parent differently as well.

  22. THolden May 9, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    I’m sure you would have laughed to see how many of us sat up straighter as we read your list! (“sit ergonomically correct…”)

    This was great. Always enjoy your writing, Kat.

    I don’t floss real often, either. Never had a cavity, either. LOL

    • Bethany May 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      I know I did! And I did it again when I read your comment, THolden. Hahaha!

      • Elizabeth May 10, 2011 at 8:11 am #

        I just laughed at the fact that I was slouching. Too tired to sit straighter! LOL :)

  23. Wendy May 9, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Thanks for your post today. I have been struggling to breathe today, full of feeling like a complete failure as a mom in every area. Your post has helped me catch a breath.

  24. grace May 9, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    i was literally sitting down at my computer bawling because you know, i am such a bad mother/wife (insert reason x,y,z…) and was going to write my husband a good long email (yes, it’s impersonal but with 4 kids 4 and under it just works sometimes :) and i saw the title to this post on my homepage (yep you are listed on my homepage :) :)

    I NEEDED to see this so badly today! there are so many things in my life that make me feel like a less than mom/wife (your links to the side of this post about homemade soap etc, kinda make me want to hunt you down and sock you right in the nose) i want so badly to be “that” person but i’m just not! maybe i will be someday but there is a big probability that i will never be… trying to drill it through my head that as long as i am what God wants me to be it’s okay!

    my most recent issue is not being called into the “granola” lifestyle… i have SO many friends who check all their labels go to different farms all around the city to get their milk, eggs, etc. and frequent the farmers markets and sometimes i really envy them! i envy their cloth diaper wearing fresh blueberry eating, amber teething necklace wearing children… but you know what? going to sam’s club and buying my huggies in bulk with 5 lbs of grapes and some outfits for my kids (not made from organic cotton) works for us… it works for us really really well!

    i LOVE what Lisa H. said about God making each family unique… it’s so true! and you know what else??? God created processed foods… He knew they were going to exist and He uses them for His glory!!! (how many “granola” moms want to shake me right now? LOL!)

    thank you thank you thank you for posting this! sometimes you just need reassurance that God make us all different and just because your life doesn’t line up with your “perfect” friends it doesn’t mean He messed up… He just loves variety!

    • Elizabeth May 10, 2011 at 8:14 am #

      I’m a granola Mom…my kids eat granola bars every day! I usually buy the store brand, ‘cuz they’re cheaper. ;)

  25. Lisa @ Bright Mama May 9, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    I floss and recycle…sometimes!! haha…I totally know what you mean and I definitely have a problem with comparison! Jesus said His yoke is easy and burden is light, so if you’re burnt out doing all these things, you’re probably doing too much!

  26. kileah May 9, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    i am totally gonna get laughed at for this, but the title of this post has a huge grammatical error! the “Mother’s”…is incorrect grammar. The apostrophe indicates possession, not plurality, so you may wanna remove the apostrophe since it seems you are using the plural form of “Mothers.” haha! that being said i was thoroughly encouraged to know I’m not a total loss of a silly nerdy mom and that good habits take practise!
    Love love love this post and yes-I will most definitely be sharing this with my friends;)

    • Kat May 9, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Ha! I should have added grammar to my initial confession.

      “Hi, I’m Kat. I don’t floss, recycle or check my grammar.”


  27. Mela Kamin May 9, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    This made me giggle, because I’m sitting at my computer, hunched over with my knees pulled up to my chest … not very ergonomic. This really hits the mark – picking priorities is tough stuff, especially for creative, competitive, multi-taskers. Instead of dabbling in many things, I want to be purposeful with my actions and my ever-dwindling time. “But is it really important to YOU? Is it what God wants YOU to be doing right now?” This is a great question I will start asking myself more often. Thanks, Kat & praying for you as you embark on your Compassion trip! Blessings as you use your gifts for Him.

    • Kat May 9, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks so much Mela!!

  28. Maura May 9, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Another important thing to remember is that you cannot please everyone, all the time. Examples:

    You may need to tell church members “no” when they ask if you can help out with events at church as you need to attend an out of town business function.
    You may not please all members of your family when you cook a certain meal.
    You may have to leave the office a little early one day to attend an event at your child’s school causing a co-worker to pull more weight in the afternoon.
    You may have to decline an friends/family BBQ to clean your home and prepare for out-of-town family to arrive.
    You may need to opt out of a family movie night to spend time with a friend who needs prayers.
    You may have to say no to working that extra shift at work as you have church service to attend.

    Nobody will be happy with all your actions and your choices, all the time. Don’t feel guilty and it as is it your live and your schedule.

    • Jeremie Shaffer May 9, 2011 at 10:56 am #

      These are so true and I had to chuckle because I cooked Mother’s Day lunch for my mom and my mother-in-love and made Baked Ziti. My mom doesn’t like Italian food, but I chose that because it’s easy and relatively inexpensive and can be prepared ahead of time (and my husband’s family is Italian!). Plus IIIII like it! lol and I’m a mother too! Whadaya know?!?! My mom like it!

      Good point!

  29. Erica May 9, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    The hardest-to-swallow revelation I have EVER had is that this one life is entirely to short to do all that I would like…

  30. Tammy N. May 9, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Thank you for this post! I needed this reminder today.

  31. amybeth May 9, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    you know, you really should floss.

    just kidding. i never do either… except after eating corn on the cob.

    great post! thanks for the reminder. the world’s priorities are not God’s priorities.

    reminds me of Mary and Martha.

    Lets all be Marys!

  32. Kari May 9, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    AMEN sista! Thank YOU for writing this! I needed to hear this so much this gray Monday morning!

  33. Daniella May 9, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    SUCH a great post. THANK YOU!! You are so right, thank you for the reminder to take things to God and He will lead me…..because we are indeed BOMBARDED by important things to do….even all the things we wish we COULD do….but we can’t, and must figure out what we each personally need at this time. I liked your analogy about the football player not needing to practice the important things a basketball player needs to do…a great reminder, because sometimes I indeed feel like I need to do something based on the fact that someone I know and admire is doing it (even with my Christian friends and mentors, I need to first ask the Lord if HE wants me doing what they are doing, or if maybe He wants me focusing on something else!)
    Thanks so much!
    P.S. Confession, I floss and recycle, but I haven’t swept my kitchen floor in weeks, I have a bag of donations to the local co-op that’s been sitting there for a month, and instead of organizing our mail and papers of late they’ve been stuffed in the kitchen drawer. =)

    • Kat May 9, 2011 at 5:28 am #

      I’m so glad it encouraged you! And thanks for sharing your own confession…

    • Jeremie Shaffer May 9, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      My papers and such are stuffed in a brief-case type bag that’s about to explode! lol So glad I’m not the only who to do this!

    • Jen May 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

      I love your confession! I sometimes floss and always recycle, but my house was in horrible shape after the unexpected early birth of my son at 29 weeks. It was a HARD season to let everything go and focus on him, and my own recovery which took forever! I’ve just recently gotten back some energy and motivation after 4 1/2 months. My mother’s day gift to myself… clean floors in my house!!! Except the bedrooms. :) Still working to get this place in order.

      P.S. My son in now 4 1/2 months old, home from the hospital at 2 months, and absolutely thriving! Such a blessing!

  34. stacey May 9, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    amen! i’m really trying to “convert” myself to this wisdom because i know that’s it’s true and my efforts in doing too much only frustrate me and thus my family. but it’s so hard! too many things that i need to do, too many things that i want to do… and they’re all good things!! but to be the best wife and mother i can be, i need to listen to what God needs and wants me to do. definitely a work in progress but i’m getting there. and thanks for helping feel better about not flossing my teeth as often as i should too! :) great post!

  35. Joy Price May 9, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    wow, so remarkably encouraging!

  36. Lori May 9, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Loved this post. I think the most important thing to try to do every day is just to love and serve others…Life has become so much sweeter since I have made this my daily goal.

  37. Melissa May 9, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Nice post. It’s easy in this society full of media to feel overwhelmed with all that we “should” or “should not” do as a woman. It’s hard sometimes to not feel inadequate given the fact that it IS impossible to accomplish everything everyday! Thanks for reminding us that we don’t have to fall into that trap!

  38. melissa p. May 9, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    thank you for this…
    thank you for giving the reminder that God created Me.
    I have a relationship with Him.
    the only “ought to”, “should”, or “need to” is to be ME with HIM.

  39. Katy May 9, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    I don’t have any children, but this still rings true for me as well. I really needed to hear this due to some recent events lately. It’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap and not feel good enough as a person or a Christian based on what you see in others. Thank you so much for helping me focus this morning on my unique life instead of comparing it to the lives of others!

  40. Marleah May 9, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    This was so perfectly said. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have to learn all of life’s lessons at once. …And for the record, I don’t often floss either… :D

  41. Rebekah May 9, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    Excellent post. Thanks so much. I am sending it to several friends who I know feel overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” on their list.

  42. Lisa H. May 9, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    Thank you so much. I needed to hear that… again. After years of always trying to stressfully do those things that other well-respected mothers were doing in home education and failing miserably at them (because I am who I am, and not who THEY are), I have finally started mapping out what God has called OUR family to do, not what other family we should be imitating, with our educational/life goals. It really does look different in each home, because God made each family unique. The hand should not be trying to do what the ear was called to do.