The Empty Cup


fill your cupTonight, I was short with my boys.

My mind is in a thousand places thinking about the neverending to-do list. I think that made the little irritating things they did multiply to something that drove me up the wall. My patience tank was empty, running on fumes, the indicator light had been on for quite some time. 

Some days it gets overwhelming trying to prioritize the urgent and important tasks and set aside the non-urgent, unimportant ones. Today was one of those days.

I found myself desperately wanting to get them off to bed so that I could get there myself, only to realize I had about two hours of things I needed to get done before I would lay my head down.

A mother’s job is never done, I get that. I know I signed up for exactly that. But it sure can be a lot sometimes, and, boy, does take a lot out of you. 

Tonight, after the boys were in bed, I looked at my urgent to-do list and worked on the things that would make tomorrow run more smoothly.

I quickly checked a few things on Facebook and a meme caused me to pause. It was a popular meme, one I had seen several times before. One with a picture of a coffee cup and the words, “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” I had never related to an inanimate object more in my life. 

I am that empty cup. 

No wonder I was feeling crabby and run-down.

I know the things I need to do to fill my cup. Nurture my relationship with God, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, connect with friends, even silly things like getting my hair and nails done and organizing parts of my house. What has been happening lately is I have been putting those things that fill my cup off of the urgent and important quadrants of my to-do list when I should have been keeping them there and checking them off.

It seems I’ve been putting myself last on the to-do list. The things that fill my cup deemed non-urgent and unimportant by none other than yours truly. And it has caught up with me. 

Tonight, I reorganized my to-do list. I am a priority.

I am a better mother when I am filled up and not running on empty. Thank you to whoever posted that meme, I needed that. And maybe you need to hear it today, too.

empty cup

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Jennifer is a single mom of two boys. She does her best to get to places on time, despite being a chronically late person and the fact that neither she or her boys are morning people. She recently went back into the classroom after staying home for nine years to raise her kids, and she credits her sanity and success at this endeavor to the fact that she has incredibly supportive parents, family, and friends. She also has a network of single moms that truly “get it” and who encourage her on a daily basis. When she’s not hanging out with her kiddos, Jennifer enjoys writing at a coffee shop, trying new restaurants, or catching up with friends.


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