Being a (good type of) quitter

I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall at the beginning of the year and without telling many people, adopted it as my mantra for 2017, with one addition, “making my family happy.” Over the past nine months, I’ve been busy doing exactly the opposite of what my parents taught me. I became a quitter.

People like me are everywhere, particularly in my suburban neighborhood. By “like me” I mean moms who say yes to too many things, feel stressed and rushed ALL THE TIME. So much pressure (internal and external) to look perfect, be perfect and have the perfect children. I worry that at some point all these “perfect” moms will reach their breaking point. I flirted with that line for some time before recognizing it. Or at least before I hit it too hard, fell flat on my face and couldn’t get back up.

One by one, I quit things. Things that took me away from this mantra. Things that didn’t make my family happy. Things that didn’t make me better. Things that didn’t make me happy. Especially the things that made me downright miserable.

So maybe you’re wondering, what did I quit?

I quit my barre studio, which was probably the hardest. I met so many wonderful women there. I love the owner and supporting a local, mom-owned business. I loved the way my body looked and felt. But in the past year, my mind wasn’t clear when I took the nearly 90 minutes out of my day to go to a class. While these classes used to be an escape for me (I even wrote a post about this), as kids’ sports and homework piled up, I was always thinking I needed to be home after work not at the studio. Don’t confuse this with mom guilt. That’s not it. It’s pure necessity. Homework needs to be done. Kids need to get to practice. I need to feed my family. Truth is, I miss the people and the workout. I could very well go back. But for now I’m working out at home, before the kids wake up (which in case you are wondering, is really early).

I quit packing the kids a “healthy” lunch every day. Sometimes they can buy lunch. School lunch a few days a week won’t kill them. And believe me, we’re happy to have one less thing to worry about on already frantic mornings.

I quit the board for the kids’ school foundation. While I want to help support the school we love, it started to feel too much like my day job. I’m happy to help when I can, but I can’t take on more work right now.

I quit trying to come up with new things to cook for dinner. My family is not very picky, they like healthy foods. I went through a phase (probably because of seeing recipes on social media) when I tried a lot of new things. I spent a lot of time and money getting ingredients, and the response was not overwhelmingly positive. Not that they didn’t like it, but they didn’t like it any better than the less expensive, easier options. So I quit. I make the things I know we like. Makes shopping easier and takes less time. When we go out to eat we can try new things. Otherwise I’m good with turkey tacos and cauliflower rice stir fry.

Even more recently, I pretty much quit cooking all together. I found a food delivery service that brings ALREADY PREPARED FOOD to my house every Sunday. I just warm it up on the night we want to eat it. Is it cheap? No. But is it worth it to be more present with my family, whether for homework or fun? Yes, it is.

I quit grocery shopping. I occasionally run into the store for an item or two, but long gone are the days I’d walk in with a long list. Partially because I buy prepared food and the kids buy lunch more. But also because I’m okay with Chase shopping too. He can run to Costco at lunch or the store on his way home. Sure, it may cost me more because he’s more likely to make impulse buys, but it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

I quit cleaning my house. Oh gosh, who are we kidding? I quit doing that the day Clay was born. I will pick up and wipe things down, but that’s it. I don’t do bathrooms. I don’t dust. I quit.

I will never quit working on myself, but in recent years I’ve¬†quit caring so much about what other people think. A friend joked on my birthday last week (when I turned 39), that once I was in my 40s I wouldn’t give a crap what others think. I was a little early to that party. It’s the beauty of getting older.

Did I quit wanting the best for my friends and family and doing whatever I can to maximize my time with them? Absolutely not. And I never will. I’m the good kind of quitter.

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