Caught-Up with the Urgent?

“It all seems ultra-important at the moment—but later we realize much was done at the extent of cultivating deeper and more meaningful relationships with those we love most.  Being held hostage by the tyranny of the urgent is not how we were meant to live.”                                Charles R. Swindoll.


I sure am.

The years I struggled as a single mom I was under an insurmountable amount of stress.  It wasn’t just child support or family support that I lacked, I was also stuck with huge amounts of debt I didn’t create.  I tried to make the best of things, but I was often overwhelmed, exhausted, and grumpy.

Unwittingly, I placed more importance on finding a home for my family than the treasured place my kids held in my heart. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them.

It was for them that I sacrificed!

I was a woman on mission and my goals were to keep my kids fed and safe, to keep our family together, and to provide for them.  But I had my parental priorities in the wrong slot.

With three teenagers and the family dog, it was nearly impossible to find an affordable place for rent close to the kids’ school.  The rents were as large as mortgages. They had already been through so much I didn’t want to move them from their school.

Severely under-qualified to purchase a home, I kept hoping for a miracle and looked for a mortgage loan that would work. I finally found a loan officer—single mom herself—that made my dream come true.  She assured me a loan.  I rested on her every word.  She filled out the forms and with the flick of her pen, my stats were fixed to fit the lending criteria. Voila!  I became a homeowner!  Starry-eyed over the prospect of feeling secure in one area of life, I signed the form, and nearly my soul, away. Interest rates were no object.

I began to house hunt and found a home in a safe neighborhood, close to the school.  The only problem was that the home had been severely abused and neglected, and was in desperate need of TLC.  Good thing I have always enjoyed a challenge. Any little time I had between and after my jobs, I was at the house working.  Cleaning, painting, removing garbage.  I replaced broken light fixtures with clearance items from Kmart.

One particular day, I went to work on the house as usual.  I couldn’t afford a cell phone and there was no phone installed yet so it was hard to keep in touch with the kids.  I nearly shed tears of joy when my daughter Hannah surprised me and brought over half a dozen blueberry muffins she baked.  I hadn’t had any dinner and it was already late in the evening.  I inhaled those muffins.   After six weeks of gruesome work the house was ready for us to move in.

I thought I was doing well then just to provide a warm, safe home to keep our family together.  My efforts were beyond noteworthy as I worked two, three, sometimes four jobs; but I was physically absent and terribly stressed from all the work.   I was also emotionally absent at a time my teenage kids needed me as much as when they were small.

The house eventually looked great.  But my relationship with my kids suffered.  The kids and I were practically strangers after a few years.

In retrospect, I wish my priority would have been wrapped in keeping my relationship with my kids strong. I saw our situation then as one massive hurricane blowing through our lives, but figured once the hurricane blew through and we picked up the pieces, things would go back to the way they used to be.

Had I to do it again, I would be less worried about our home.  I would rent a much smaller house than the one that took all my energy, strength and time just to pay the mortgage.

There is nothing more important than family.  I found that out the hard way.  My daughters are now adults with a life of their own. My son now lives in Heaven.  My relationship with them didn’t recover the way I hoped.  It took years for that hurricane to clear and for the pieces to be picked up. I would trade away just about anything to redo those years, but the years cannot be reversed.  One can never get them back.

Hindsight, they say,  is 20/20.  I must add, hindsight is also sometimes much too heart-wrenching.

Please, don’t make the mistake I did.  If you have kids at home, make them your priority, next to your relationship with God and your spouse. The years fly by and before you know it, they are gone and living their own lives.

By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©


Filed under Inner Sruggles and Heartache, Life Lessons, Loss of a Child, Single Parent Struggles, Writing and Author Stuff

12 responses to “Caught-Up with the Urgent?

  1. Sure. Thanks, Elizabeth. Here I sit at my laptop, trying to catch up on 200+ unread e-mails, my grandkids watching TV, my daughter and husband in the garage building a picnic table. My mind is set on reaching a goal for today. What I am doing is IMPORTANT. Don’t you understand? I HAVE to do this.

    All right. Shutting down the laptop, going to attend to the important instead of the urgent.

    Thanks for the redirect! 🙂


  2. This really touched my heart in so many ways. I can relate to so much… some for different reasons, some for the same. I feel like a single parent most of the time because my husband works out of town for weeks and months at a time. So I don’t have to focus on the income part (although it doesn’t erase financial worries: with five kids they are always there). I’ve had time to focus on my kids and I am very thankful for that. But my hindsight bears a lot of grief as well. I’m glad I’ve been able to focus on my kids, but it didn’t keep me from making mistakes, or being blamed every time something goes wrong in their lives. I think it comes with the territory of being a mom no matter what situation you are in. I can say I am close to my kids, but there have definitely been some heart-wrenching valleys in raising them that I wouldn’t want to revisit. As for getting caught up in the urgent, I’ve been guilty of that, too. I think whether we have to work outside the home or can be at home with our kids, the enemy throws whatever distractions and “urgencies” he can to keep us from getting it right. And then he’s there to whisper the condemnation in our ears, and it’s easy to believe because it confirms what we already feared: failure.
    Don’t believe it! Tell the enemy to put a sock in it! (Preaching to the choir here, believe me!)
    Thank you so much for this post, and my prayers are with you. I just love your blog; I find much encouragement for life here.

    • Thank you, Rhonda, yes, there certainly has been condemnation from the enemy, from my children and even from my own self, but I continue to seek God in everything rather than beat myself up anymore, I have done that way too much of that already! I agree part of it is as you say, “the territory of being a mom.” I am so glad you have had opportunities to focus more on your kids. Life is hard as a parent, especially now-a-days!

      • That’s so true. I still have two at home (TEENAGERS!) and I have days I wonder if I can just resign. Then I remember if I do, that means either someone else would be doing it or no one at all so I keep trudging on. It’s definitely not easy. I get upset with them for blaming me for everything, but then my private response is to blame myself, too. You are not alone! Hugs and prayers to you!

        • You brought up a good point Rhonda. If you “resign” the enemy is always more than willing to take over! You are almost there if you have teens, though I admit, teens are pretty tough, even the very good ones can be hormonally driven to drive us nuts! And we think the Terrible-twos are hard, how about the Terrible-teens! I bet you are doing a much better job at mothering than you think! I found out whenever kids need someone to blame, it’s usually us, the parents! Hugs and prayers to you also!

  3. findingmyinnercourage

    No regrets my friend, please! Hold your head high as you have many followers who will pray for strength for healing. You are loved!

  4. I am so sorry about your children Elizabeth and your regrets about the relationship you have with them. May the Lord open doors and heal and strengthen the love that you share with them.

  5. Love this so much, I can so relate.
    Love you!

Please share your thoughts on this post!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s