“Don’t Forget Your Priorities” She Said…
How do you respond when your mother, albeit well-meaning, sends you this text because you’ve just gotten back from your third business trip in less than three weeks?
“Don’t forget your priorities…”
I had just returned from what had been the most amazing trip to Jacksonville, Florida where I was a power-house on stage at the Home & Patio show, inspiring local residents to get started with do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and power tools.
I stood there waiting for the parking lot shuttle to escort me to my car so I could hurry home to my husband and three sons (ages 10, 6, and 4). As I waited, excitement flooded through me as I texted my mom how the business trip went:
“It was awesome! I guess I finally found some good use [presenting on stage]! I realize that I LOVE traveling!”
I was flying high.
What felt amazing is that I had finally found a strength, something that people praised me for.
As a full-time blogger at Thrift Diving for the past 1.5 years after losing my “day-job,” it has felt wonderful to finally have found my calling — a career that doesn’t feel like work ever, and a career that people tell me I’m a “natural.”
Anyhow, I told Mom that my next (and last) trip is coming again in two weeks.
With that, she responded:
I know you love what you’re doing and I am very proud of you but I gotta say the mother thing…don’t your priorities confused…sorry, but I had to put that out there.
I stopped short and let her text linger for a moment.
….don’t get your priorities confused…
There was something about that advice that I couldn’t let go of.
It bothered me.
Moms are well-meaning and offer unsolicited advice when they think they see you nodding off in the wrong direction.
But I couldn’t help but mull the comment over and over as I drove home alone in the dark, trekking down Interstate-95 towards my family.
What if I had been a man?
I wonder if men are ever told to “not forget their priorities” when their careers begin to flourish…
I wonder if Mom would have told me to “not forget your priorities” if I hadn’t expressed so much excitement and joy over my love of traveling and excelling in my career?
What if I had groaned and said, “Uggggghhh…I have onnnne morrreee trip in a couple weeks and then, thankfully, I’m done with travel for a while!”?
If those scenarios were true, would Mom have given me the same advice? Would she have told me to not forget my priorities?
Don’t Forget Your Priorities
The crux of the matter is the moment a woman expresses joy and success in her career, she’s reminded that her role is “MOTHER” and she had better not forget that.
But what about the other priorities that we can’t forget?
How about the priority to teach my children about entrepreneurship and that careers don’t have to look like 9-to-5 cubicle desk jobs?
What about the priority that with hard work and dedication, you can achieve your dreams, just like Mommy did with Thrift Diving?
What about the priority of teaching children to find their true strengths and how to get paid for those strengths?
What about the priority of traveling and seeing the world?
What about the priority of teaching my children that women can be more than a mom and a wife?
We simply cannot advise women to not ignore her “mom” and “wife” duties.
Because in that reminder, we’re forgetting about all the other priorities that are just as important.
No Need For Reminders
Trust me — we working moms don’t need to be reminded that we have children and perhaps a spouse at home.
We know that.
We already struggle with “Mom Guilt” when we’re pulled away from our families for extended periods of time. Hearing someone imply, “Please don’t get so busy that you’re not around to raise your children” only adds to the anxiety of our hectic schedules.
Telling a working mom not to “forget her priorities” feels like a slap on the hand for not just working a lot, but for enjoying the work she’s doing, and it shouldn’t be that way.
And we’re “Mom” enough to know that for the extended periods when our careers pull us away, we have to counterbalance it with extended periods with our family so that we minimize anything slipping through the cracks.
It’s a struggle, we know.
And while we appreciate the care behind the advice not to “forget your priorities,” some things are usually better left unsaid.