I know that it is important that we have other responsibilities other than __________ (a mom, an employee, a wife, or whatever title you have), because we need to have things to teach to our children and that allows us to grow and challenge ourselves too. The challenge comes though when the things that we are doing may or may not be leaving enough time for the things that do matter. So I have a story that I got from a friend a while back that I'd like to share.
A professor stood in front of his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked his student if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous 'yes'. The professor then produced two sodas from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. 'Now' he said, as the laughter subsided 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions, and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls'. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.