Monday, February 1, 2010

Setting priorities and putting yourself first

There is something to be said for helping other people and doing things for other people. There is also something to be said for doing things for yourself, and I think this is often underrated. Sometimes you have to make the decision to put yourself first.

Today I made a big decision. I made the choice to keep my etsy store closed until further notice.

A year and a half ago, I started it up - making hand made hair clippies and other hair accessories for girls. It was something for me. It was a way for me to have time for myself and feel like I was doing something. I am first and foremost a stay at home mother, but I needed more. A year and a half ago, it was exactly what I needed. And I was good at it. Not only did I make a good product, but I marketed it well and sold a lot. It filled a void that I was trying to fill and helped me to feel good about myself.

I liked making the clippies, but I was getting tired of the trips to the post office, and what seemed like endless packing. Even making the clippies was tiring because I didn't get to choose when to make them and often had to put clippie making above time with my husband and kids and definitely above time for myself to workout or relax. I enjoyed the craft fairs and mom to mom sales, but I felt like everything else was an unwanted imposition.

After the Christmas rush, I temporarily closed my shop for the holidays. Then I didn't reopen. Whenever I thought about reopening, I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach. That little ball of stress. Why was I doing this to myself? It wasn't for the money. I've always considered it half hobby, half business. I make a bit off of it, but I'd make more for the same time working in a retail job.

I realized it was time to make myself a priority. It was time to make the decision to spend spare time on myself rather then on a hobby I wasn't enjoying anymore. My children don't sleep through the night, so I'm chronically sleep deprived and don't get up any earlier then I have to. The kids' naps are few and far between and rarely at the same time. Even bedtime tends to be a bit of a battle. There are only a couple hours left in the evening and one of those hours is now for me. I get to go watch my escapist reality television while I pedal or row on the exercise machines. When there's extra time left, I spend it with my husband.

It was hard for me to make the decision to keep my store closed because I felt like I would be disappointing people. Okay, reality check here: my family is important and my friends are important. While my customers are important, they are strangers to me, and certainly don't rate higher then my needs.

Why do we put everyone else ahead of ourselves? Only now am I starting to realize that I do deserve to put myself ahead of other people. In my world and my life, my family is number 1, I'm a very close second, and I value my close friends. Everybody else will get a piece of me only when there are pieces left over.

So what about you? Do you put everyone else before yourself? Is it time to make a change?


  1. Interesting. I just did something similar to what you did. I started a blog last year about interior design, one of my hobbies. Unfortunately, when the blog took off, I was spending so much time writing and trying to find info. and ideas for topics that it was becoming a chore instead of fun. Hobbies shouldn't feel like a chore or take time away from your family.

    You made a healthy and positive choice. Maybe when your children are older you'll want to resume your Etsy shop, but right now it sounds like you have more important things to concern yourself with.

  2. good for you for recognizing your needs and fulfilling them!!!

    i barely remember being younger and single and soooo totally self absorbed, but i don't miss that me...i do miss having a shower uninterrupted
    wouldn't change a thing though and as a mother and wife, i know that if i'm not happy, then my family isn't i try to maintain a happy medium of keeping my family's needs met, while trying to meet my needs. it's not always perfect but i'm consciously trying, striving, going the right direction...i hope!