When I was growing up it wasn’t cool to quit. My friends and I were educated and parented by people who assured us that ‘quitters never win and winners never quit.’ I appreciate the sentiment and understand the reason behind it when talking to an eight year old. But as I approach 40 I’ve decided it’s okay to be a quitter.
I plan to teach my kids to be the same.
Sometimes quitting something good for something better is best. Over the years it has become incredibly obvious that letting certain things go and letting certain people move on is the healthiest approach. I’ve quit reading books halfway through because they bored me to tears. I’ve quit allowing ‘less than positive’ influences to hold center stage in my life. I’ve quit hobbies and exercise regimens and more ‘healthy eating’ plans than I could count on all fingers and toes.
And recently I quit my job.
Whew…typing it still makes me nervous cause kids ain’t cheap and we’ve got more than a few. College (for each child) will likely cost the same as a modest home. That’s if we can manage to get them educated to the college level…..which may be tough since second grade math was a bit challenging for the whole family this last year. Braces are also inevitable as we had four babies fond of their thumb. The rapidly increasing appetites make me nervous about grocery bills in the future.
These compounding worries kept me from quitting. For years.
Eventually the overwhelming realization that I cannot and will not ever get these years back won out. I quit the job. Along with the job I quit all (well, more like some) of the chaos that came with it in this season of life.
I quit the evenings filled with resenting myself and my sour attitude and my impatience and the tone of voice I heard resonating throughout our home. I quit questioning how on earth every other mother manages to make this happen. I quit feeling guilty for not being ‘all in’ for the kids. I quit feeling guilty for not being ‘all there’ for my job. I quit feeling resentful of others who had the faith and courage to do what they knew was best for their family. I quit envying moms who ‘love being a full time working mom’ or ‘love being a full time stay at home mom.’
I quit second guessing myself and started trusting that God has laid out a great plan for our family. So much greater than what I’ve tried to force or plan or manipulate. This has been such a progression over SO many years. I kept trying to find the balance until I realized my truth. Maybe the truth for many moms.
There is no balance.
Don’t misunderstand me. There can be better balance. Balance where you feel like you’re not totally tipping from heavy loads on all fronts. Balance where you’ve figured out the schedule and managed to squeeze out every bit of life in a day. Balance where you ‘get it all done, everyone seems happy, life is running fairly smoothly’ type balance. However, continuing as full-time working mother of four wasn’t my ‘better balance.’
In my line of work, part time has become a thing of the past. Years ago companies used to employee sales reps for job share or part time but the spots have been hard to come by as of late. After years of praying and searching, I’d long given up the hope of finding a local spot. Quitting outright wasn’t an option. As many of you know, my husband is a teacher and I have always been the breadwinner. I am not saying it’s easier to quit a job if your husband has a higher paying job… because there are a LOT of variables that exist outside of finances. BUUUUUUUT, I can say for certain that the thought of raising four kids on one teacher’s salary has been a critical point of concern. It also might be good material for a reality show….
I mention all of this to emphasize that I allowed this concern to prevail for YEARS. Despite a heartache to be home more, I never trusted enough to move forward. It wasn’t until recently when I felt an absolute calling and knew I couldn’t deny the still, small voice. We prayed and we budgeted and we made lists and we prayed. Then we had a spending freeze and more praying and a few more lists. At the time, I knew I needed to tell Matt that while I couldn’t explain it, I felt I had to step out in faith before we’d know the next step. He beat me to it when he told me we needed to trust in this decision and the plan would unfold.
We took a step of faith, one tiny baby step at a time, trusting that God would honor our faith. We set a resignation date.
I tried not to panic.
I still panicked.
Every day brought fears and doubts and truthfully, socially acceptable logic. The same nagging voice that told me for years I couldn’t do it. Because of college. Because of braces. Because it’s nice to vacation. Because it’s nice to have food to eat…. Because, because, because. Each time I heard the doubts I chose to trust. It was more than challenging. It was grueling. It seemed odd and unusual and uncomfortable. But we trudged forth towards resignation.
And wouldn’t ya know…..a couple months later, mere weeks before my resignation, I received a phone call about a part time sales position in my field of work. I interviewed and ultimately got the job. The plan began to take shape. God’s timing……not mine.
I’m so thankful for the chance to be home more (while also having a second steam of income) that I can hardly breathe it all in. It may be a mess. It may not be THE balance. But it’s a start. If nothing else, it taught this stubborn old gal how to walk in faith rather than just talk about it.
And how to be a quitter.
I know there are many of you pondering a decision, prayerfully considering an option that seems silly or unrealistic or impossible. Keep the faith. Baby steps.
And speaking of babies…….
If you need help from a quitter, just call.
In the meantime, here’s to hoping my kids don’t fire me.
** This transition to part-time is likely to be full of some interesting blog material. I hope you’ll subscribe (upper right hand column) to read all the latest adventures/misadventures! Thank you for reading!**