Identity, Priorities And A Rocking Horse Graveyard

It feels like forever since we’ve taken a day trip as a family. Since Zoom is still young and doesn’t tolerate long road trips well, a day-long outing is about as far add we get.

But I’m not complaining – the states are small in the North East and we can get pretty far in a short amount of time.

The last trip I remember was in the beginning of November (have I mentioned it’s been a looong winter?). We checked out a waterfall so my husband could feed his photography hobby, then we stopped over at a rocking horse graveyard.

Yes, you read that right. 

Funny thing about my husband and me: we like weird, creepy or even haunted destinations. So when we heard about this graveyard in Massachusetts, we had to check it out.

Which leads me to my next point: having young kids is hard. Maybe you’re further along in your parenting journey, or maybe you’re just starting your family like we are. But I find the tendency to lean in to our son and let his preferences guide our daily…well…everything, is very strong.

After all, we want to be good parents. We want him to know we love him and we want to “raise him right.” Which is good and desirable. But…I believe putting our kids first isn’t healthy.

Last year I said my first priority was my relationship with Jesus, then my husband was second, then my kiddo third.

How it actually panned out though…well…I wasn’t as diligent as I would have liked. And my actions created imbalance. I lost sight of what was most important and all other areas of my life suffered.

Most of all, I started to lose sight of my identity. Not that motherhood isn’t a facet of my identity (in fact, losing myself in motherhood when Zoom was 6 months old was part of my getting it back). But the truth is, parenthood isn’t meant to be our whole identity. Just a piece of it.

The best way I can describe how this works is by keeping track of what’s in the red. When I’m functioning with my priorities in line, nothing is in the red:

  • My relationship with Jesus feeds everything, from being solid in my identity and purpose to my overall well-being.
  • Putting my husband next feeds my marriage, primary relationship support and parenting. 
  • THEN my son comes next. And I’m better equipped to be a good mom.

This way, no area is in the red. From there I can move forward to be a better writer, friend and businesswoman.

When my priorities aren’t in line…well, all sorts of imbalance crops up.

But it’s easy to put my kiddo first. Oh-so-easy! After all, kids are often the sqeekiest wheel. And let me tell you, as a mom, that biological drive to take care of your kids is s-t-r-o-n-g.

But that’s all it is, a drive, a facet to my identity. I’ve got control over my mind and thoughts through Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), so I can use God-given discernment to make wise decisions. And ultimately, I want to be open and vulnerable with my kids as I raise them, so they know who exactly their mother is. Unique identity and all.

Do share – how do you keep your priorities in line?