This Is Life, And I Quit. Also, I Un-Quit.

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately. Spitting into the wind. Taking one step forward and three steps back, minus the one step forward part.

I think that’s pretty much the same thing as being a mom, although I don’t think it’s we moms exclusively who fit those GOOD LORD I’M TIRED clichés. It’s just that… Good Lord, I’m TIRED, you know?

You know.

I know you know.

Two nights ago, I quit. Called my husband on the phone prior to dinner and said, “I QUIT. I quit. I quiiiiiiiiit. I quit, and I quit, and I quit. Not gonna parent tonight. Not gonna wife. Not gonna adult. Just gonna sit in the bathtub and read a trashy book and go to bed at 7. ‘Cause, DUDE; I’m twelve kinds of done.” I mean, I just quit temporarily, of course, but I still quit dramatically and with lots of words because otherwise what’s the point of quitting? And Greg, because he’s smarter now than he used to be, said, “OK,” and “fine,” and not, “so you’re sticking me with all the kids and all the work?” He’s SO MUCH SMARTER, friends.

Here’s how it went down:

At 5pm, I quit everything.

At 6pm, a kid started vomiting, so I unquit and got out of the tub and snuggled that kid into my bed with the specific understanding that I would requit as soon as the kid felt better.

At 8pm, the kid felt better. I re-quit.

At 8:15pm, the kid who has anxiety and panic disorders and developmental delay and questionable judgement because he’s made out of human had a meltdown. A wall-banging, anxiety-laden, ragey, annoying, heartbreaking meltdown. I unquit.

At 9pm, when that kid calmed and finally slept, I requit. QUIT quit. “I QUIT,” I told Greg. “I MEAN IT THIS TIME.”

At 9:15pm, another kid — separate from the kids above, because my kids share well, including the torture of their mommy — had stomach pains. I, however, did NOT unquit. You know why? Because this isn’t my first rodeo, folks. He had stomach pains, not a severed artery, and his stomach pains weren’t on the right side so I knew it was just gas and not appendicitis because the internet told me so.

At 9:30pm, the stomach pain kid was still crying.

And at 9:45pm.

And at 10pm, plus he added some screaming.

At 10:15pm, I unquit, and at 10:30pm, I took him to the emergency room.

At 11pm, he was admitted to the hospital.

At 11:15pm, he farted and felt much better.

At 12am, he was released, and we came home, and I got to explain to Greg that we will be paying an ER bill for gas and constipation. Again.

At 1am, I requit because sometimes you just have to have priniciples, you know? I whispered, “I quit,” but no one heard me because they were all finally asleep, and I technically requit in bed with the gassy kid on one side and the puker on the other because I’m also a mama and it’s what we mamas do. Still, priniciples.

I’m swimming upriver, friends. Trying to keep my head afloat. Sinking fast. Resurfacing.

I don’t know what to say about that other than this is life.

This is life. This cycle of drowning and floating and being dashed by the waves and finding our way to shore to rest and recover and forage for sustenance.

This is life. To sit by the ocean and to know its power from the sound and the memories of the pounding of the surf.

This is life, to rise again and brush the sand away and wade into the depths again.

This is life. To swim with long strokes and to succumb to the sea and to swim again.

This is life. This pace. This relentlessness. This strange joy in the journey even though we’re jabbed and jarred.

This is life, and I can’t tell you I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I’d honestly take a little less puking right now and a lot more sleep, but this is life, and I’m content, and sometimes that’s all we can ask.

 

This is life, and I unquit. For now.

With love,

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
19 comments
  1. Yes and yes and double yes. Between this and the “I call you friends” post, you have nailed my life these last few weeks.

    Last week (and the week or two before that) I wanted to quit. I was dealing with, in no particular order, 2 1/2 jobs, basketball camp, music camp, traveling husband and 15-year-old, sick 80-year-old friend, birthdays… A lot. Some good, some not so good, all A LOT.

    The 4th was my birthday. It started out good, with homemade cupcakes for breakfast. And then I spent my entire evening at the hospital with my very dear 80-year-old friend, for whom I am the closest thing to family. And I kept getting all these messages on Facebook saying “Have a great birthday” and “Hope your family is spoiling you today”. Not only was I in the ER, but my children had needed prompting from my stepdad to do something for my birthday and my husband had forgotten altogether.

    You know how it’s kind of standard procedure after one’s birthday to go on Facebook and thank everyone for their birthday wishes and tell them all about the amazing day you had? I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I could say thank you for the birthday wishes, but I couldn’t pretend I had had a good day. So I didn’t. I didn’t pretend. Like you coming out of hiding to tell us you were feeling kind of hidey, I told the truth. I told my friends and family and some of my coworkers that while I appreciate my brothers calling me a superwoman, this plain-old-regular-woman is not feeling particularly super right now. She’s kind of tired. Really really really tired, because she’s been dealing with a lot of stuff. And while you see superwoman, that woman is actually someone who has way too much on her plate and on her mind right now and she just needs to be able to say that out loud.

    I don’t know what the point of me writing all of this is, except to say THANK YOU. Thank you for entrusting us with your honesty and your thoughts and your feelings and for giving us room to do the same.

  2. Today at work, and as part of our celebration for Mother’s day (in my country we celebrate Mother’s day on Aug 15th) we received a talk about how to be better mothers. The expositor (a psychologist and dad of a two year old) talked about being conscious and have self – criticism and trying to be the mother we want to be. And all the time I though: “is this guy for real?!” I don’t have time to be conscious, or to do an analysis of my parenting and improve my skills… I live in survival mode, dude!. I feel lucky if by the end of the day everybody is alive, safe and there is food on the table (or in the fridge) … bonus points if no one is crying.

  3. I believe our kids learn a valuable a lesson when we take time for ourselves, when we don’t always come to their rescue. Perhaps someone else comforts them sometimes. They may learn to soothe themselves. Perhaps they learn that not everything is a crisis. Perhaps they learn that other people—like parents—have troubles too.

  4. This. This inability to check out and let things lie and truly quit, no matter how much you really want or need to. I can’t do it either. But as I read your version of not quitting, I realize it sounds an awful lot like love. That’s exhausting and comforting at the same time. You’re a good mom, Beth, and you’re a good woman and a good friend to all of us out here waving in the dark. Thanks.

  5. I work from home, more as the kids get older. My truck is in the shop, still waiting diagnosis. I quit Monday when they’d “try to look at it soon”. I felt guilty for having such a first world problem of no vehicle, with 2 kids that bummed ride home from friends, and then hubby came home early to take girl to gym. I had worked, I worried, I am off balance without my truck. I unquit and made dinner, did laundry, etc.
    Tue hubby started commuting with a coworker. I had his jeep. I am still off kilter without MY truck. The dealer thinks it may be this or that, will dig in later this week. Hopefully Wed. I didn’t quit.
    Yesterday, after working 7 hours, running kids to sports and such, then heading home way too late I asked what everyone wanted for dinner. As in I’m going to a drive thru because I quit. Girl says “oh Mom, your spaghetti sounds good!” I sigh. I said I’d make frozen ravioli as I was thinking more like drive thru, but it’s easy and we’ll have garlic toast and it’ll be better than drive thru anyhow. Girl says “it’s okay, we can do whatever you want Mom.” My boy grabs my hand and says “You’re great Mom.” I unquit. Darn. Ravioli was 10x better than drive thru anyhow. 🙂
    Just when I think I can quit, the kids, who are older now, see the pain and help me unquit. This was not the case when they were younger. We’re all wiser I guess. Thank you for sharing your heart and giving me courage to share mine.
    You’re awesome!

  6. Why is some subset of your kids always puking, Beth? WHY?

    I think you should sue the universe because you’re clearly experiencing prejudicial treatment on some level, there.

    Today I didn’t quit, but that’s unusual lately. We actually had a very pleasant day, all things considered, but now it’s 2:30 in the morning and my four-year-old is STILL AWAKE and I’m *thisclose* to quitting.

  7. Thank you for making me laugh. Not laughing at you, just with you, near you. I quit often (but not publicly). Because I think, what would happen to my children? There is nobody in their life who can look after them. Aged, infirm, far-off grandparents. Stressed out father. So, it’s like being in one of those professions where you are not allowed to go on strike. Which puts more pressure on you, because you feel trapped. Keep taking big breaths and seeing the humour in life. We will keep reading 🙂

  8. So, this is your letter of resignation, not as in “an act of retiring or giving up a position”, but as in “the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable”? Got it.

    You’re not much of a quitter. You really should work on that.

  9. Thank you for your honesty. I love you even though I’ve never met you. You make my life better (and make me better able to handle my life). For now I unquit and attempt to get the finally sleeping 9-year-old into her own bed.

  10. I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your pain and joy and giving us laughter in the middle of tears.

  11. Oh I am so happy I found and am now following this gem of a blog. I SO quit this morning 3 times for 3 kids and each kid immediately found my hiding spots and made me unquit. Quitting at night by yourself is not as satisfying.

  12. Sending, in no particular order: love, hugs, less puke, more sleep, free ER visits and lots and lots more life.

  13. You say things so well. I try to quit so many times a day too but these little people called my kids won’t let me. They keep coming up and asking, begging and crying for thugs and I can’t help but do what they need (as long as they ask nicely or it’s an emergency) because I love them and they are mine.

  14. I so, so, so understand this. I have fantasized “take this job and shove it” quit SO many times. I have fantasized about turning from SAHM to career mom who happens to work on another continent for months at a time. In 16 years I have lived in 12 homes and 8 states, none of them within 6 hours of family. We are on our own and thanks to my husband being a rock star at his job he gets to travel near and far every. freaking. week. Thank you for making me feel less horrible that I want to quit instead of making homemade sunscreen and organic whole wheat bread and orchestrate home science fairs. <3

  15. Yes, yes, and yes. I came home from a glorious vacation and found bedbugs. So I quit. But then I realized I needed to bag up every.single item of clothing and bedding for my household of 5. By myself, of course, because single mama. So I unquit and started bagging. And then I had a crisis at how much clothing I have, and how American consumerism has invaded even my sock drawer. So I sat on the couch and quit. But then I imagined bugs crawling on me even on the couch. So I stood up and unquit. I’ve bagged and I’ve laundered, and I’ve quit and unquit hundreds of times in the last week. I am currently in quit mode, sitting on my couch with a glass of wine and looking at all the bags of clothes that still need to be laundered. And then folded. And then put away. I can’t do it. I may not unquit this time.

    1. Kelli, that sounds horrible. We’re in the middle of our second flea infestation in three years and I SO feel your pain right now. We don’t even have pets, don’t know where the dang things came from! I’m so sick of laundry and cleaning, and being sick because I’m pregnant doesn’t exactly make it any easier. I quit too! That is until the 4 year old gets scared of something and has to be put back in bed. Or the 18 month old wakes up poopy, again. I quit!

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