where you matter (itty bitty thoughts)

where you matter (itty bitty thoughts)

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Friends, we need to have a talk.

You matter at home. You are not replaceable at home.

Read that again.

You are, however, replaceable as an employee.

Or on the church council.

Or in your 4H group.

Or on the board of directors.

Please don’t misread this. I am not saying the work you’re doing and the attention you’re giving isn’t necessary or appreciated. 

I’m saying that in most cases, someone else can do what you’re doing.

I am not at all saying that none of us should volunteer our time.

I’m saying that the time we volunteer should be “extra”.

I’m not saying that reaching outside ourselves and helping others isn’t important.

I’m saying that we need to keep it in perspective.

An uncomfortable but necessary discussion about where and with whom we spend our time, and two questions to help you figure out where you actually matter.

I’ve seen women dump themselves into planning 4h meetings while their home life is an absolute dumpster fire.

I’ve seen men volunteer to clean up someone’s property when they can’t even walk into their own garage to find a tool they need.

I’ve seen people so sucked into their phone and the comments, likes, and reactions to a picture they posted that they’re missing all the beautiful stuff that’s going on right in front of them.

I’ve been that person.

And you know who else I’ve been? This person:

“Oh, Grandpa died? I’ll call you when I get home. I’m just walking into this meeting…”

Am I more of an asshole when I tell you that it wasn’t even a meeting I was paid to be at? A meeting I could have easily walked out of?

Helping others is important. Giving of your time is important. But not to the detriment of the people and the places that are supposed to be most important to you.

It’s part of our human nature to want to feel needed. To know that we matter. To believe we make a difference in something.

Why don’t we feel that at home?

An uncomfortable but necessary discussion about where and with whom we spend our time, and two questions to help you figure out where you actually matter.

The problem is we build these beautiful lives at home and then we leave those lives to build something else because home is just home and family is just family and you know what’s really cool? When the pastor/president of the board/boss/podcaster bigger than me notices that I did An Extra! Important! Thing!

Family is just family. They stick around, right? But that thumbs up from the executive director—that’s where the magic is at!


You guys.

If I stop blogging, there are other blogs to read.

If I stop podcasting, there are other podcasts to listen to.

If I give up my position within an organization, there are other people who will step up to fill it.

If I’m not at the meeting, the meeting will absolutely go on.

But you’d better believe that if I’m not on the back of the motorcycle with my husband, he knows.

If I am not around to sing the stupid silly (wildly inappropriate) love songs that I compose on the fly, he knows.

If I’m not around for hey mom listen to this song I wrote or can you proofread this paper, they know.

An uncomfortable but necessary discussion about where and with whom we spend our time, and two questions to help you figure out where you actually matter.

And it’s the same for you.

And I know money doesn’t grow on trees and jobs can be stressful and I absolutely and totally understand the value of commitment. I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and eat Cheetos and drink beer in your parent’s basement.

I’m saying if you’re financially fine working 40 hours a week but choose to work 60 and then also volunteer for Super Important Organization and then don’t have time to help your kid with their fractions worksheet or give your significant other a backrub, you’re missing the Point of Life.

An uncomfortable but necessary discussion about where and with whom we spend our time, and two questions to help you figure out where you actually matter.

I’ve seen people eat themselves alive with the internal struggle of trying to figure out how to leave a position or give up a “responsibility” or something that no longer works in their life. I’ve seen those same people finally move on from that thing and realize that when they resigned or quit, no one really noticed.

Or said much of anything.

Everyone just moved on.

Figure out what matters in your life.

Figure out where you matter.

Aren’t sure where you matter?

It’s two simple questions:

How long would it take for someone to notice you were gone?

And if you were gone, would anyone ask where you were?

   — Amy Dingmann, 9-25-20

An uncomfortable but necessary discussion about where and with whom we spend our time, and two questions to help you figure out where you actually matter.

Bookmark ITTY BITTY THOUGHTS and come back to check out what I post tomorrow! I’d love your thoughts on today’s post in a comment below or via email at [email protected]

14 thoughts on “where you matter (itty bitty thoughts)”

    • Janet, what you say is so true. Folks need to step back and reflect on what truly matters. Many years ago a teacher I worked with and who was loved by many passed away one night. They put a substitute I her place and quickly hired a teacher to replace her. A tree was planted in her memory and the school moves on. I have since told people that employers move
      on. Your family is who values you and needs you. Thank you for your beautiful words of wisdom

  • I have been there, done that with needing to step down. For me, it was Cub Scouts. Yes, the Pack of 65+ did shut down when I left, but that has more to do with the charter org. not wanting to step up and take care of its Pack. If I had stayed, it still would have failed. My family was hurting for my participation in scouting. It was such a huge relief to me when I quit. It was empowering, too. It was the first time I said “No.” I didn’t think I was allowed to or able to before that. Saying “no” to someone about volunteering can be a huge thing. Volunteering is good, but not at the expense of your family or your health. I hope more people will realize that. Also, y’all don’t have to sign your kids up for every single after school activity out there. They need breathing room too.

    • Yep. All of this. It’s crazy to me how we can get so tied up in the “we gotta help all the people!” that we ignore the very people we’re comin’ home to. We live in such a strange world, don’t we?

  • Oh you just brought tears to my eyes, my family are everything and more times that not I feel I have to justify it x thank you for such wise words

  • This is such a thing I struggle with. I feel like somewhere along the line as a gen xer, I got told everything has to be profitable. I found myself in a place pushing to make our farm profitable and forgetting to feed us first.

  • This rings so true, and hits very close to home! Been there, done that… Both working 60+ hours a week, and doing all the extra things, staggering our shifts and days off to make sure animals got fed and by definition never seeing each other. The house was always a mess, the dishes never got washed, the gardens completely overgrown with weeds. A regional HR rep referred to our smart phones as “work-life integration”. It took a few years to realize that this was no way to live! We needed to go back to having dinner together! I made the leap first, taking a 25% pay cut, eek! 40 hours a week, and cut the extras. The reduced time on the road, and meals out more than made up for the pay cut. Hubby cut back next, and enrolled in school to get out of the rat-race. We now are back to dancing in the kitchen, and eating dinner at home together 5 nights a week. Our days off almost always together. Days home on the farm together where neither of us ever pick up our phones. Because Farm days are the best days!

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