I Quit

I Quit

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I quit. I’m done. So totally, irrevocably, done.

I quit getting up from the table after I’ve just sat down.

I quit folding the kids’ clothes, because dammit, they’re old enough to fold by themselves, and even if they want to just stuff everything all slipshod into their drawers, well, I kinda don’t give a crap anymore.

I quit finding things for people. My 5-year-old can’t find her stuffed unicorn or her favorite pink pen. My 9-year-old can’t find his tablet or his Harry Potter book. My husband can’t find his sunglasses, keys, cell phone, wallet. Guess who knows where ALL of that stuff is? ME. Guess who’s not telling anyone where all of that stuff is? ME. Mwahaha!

I quit preparing snacks at all hours of the day. Three meals a day for my greedy, bottomless pits, and that is all they’re getting from me. They can make their own damn cheese and crackers.

I quit being woken up in the middle of the night for stupid crap. Kid had a nightmare? Sure, crawl into bed with us. I understand, nightmares suck. But if someone screams through the house at 3 a.m. because they need me to fix their covers, I will bring this godforsaken house down.

I quit over-scheduling my kids. One activity per kid is just going to have to be enough. I need a few quiet evenings per week with no place to hustle to. One or two nights out of the house per week is plenty.

I quit repeating myself. If there is one cookie left and I ask my kid if he wants it, and all I get in response is an absent-minded “Huh?” I am going to eat the cookie. Screw you, kid, I ate the last cookie. Next time, pay attention.

I quit stressing about the wreckage that is my house. I recently picked up some extra freelance work. I could put the money I’m earning into the kids’ college fund, but instead I’m using it to hire a housekeeper. Because I like when my house is clean, but I don’t have time to clean anymore, and I’m tired of stressing about it so dammit, I quit!

I quit putting everyone else first. From now on, I might exercise when I should be cooking dinner. Find some leftovers, kids. Or ask dad to cook. I promise, he knows how. Also? I made appointments to see a dermatologist and a shrink, things I’ve been putting off for years because I worried they would interfere with time I should use to care for my family, or that I shouldn’t be spending money on myself for “nonessential” healthcare.

I quit feeling guilty about buying things for myself in general. For over a decade, I have been a habitual “take the thing I was going to buy for myself out of the cart by the time I make it to the checkout” kind of woman. I quit that martyr bullshit. The other day I bought myself expensive makeup that really covers the lines and age spots on my skin, and I’m not sorry about it at all.

I quit gritting my teeth while my kids invade my personal space. I deserve to feel like a human being with a modicum of body autonomy. No more jungle-gym mommy, elbowing mommy in the ribs or head-butting mommy. Hugs are totally exempt from this policy.

I quit these things because I finally understand that playing the martyr has had precisely the opposite effect I intended. Instead of giving my best to my family, I subverted my own needs so thoroughly that I became a wilting shadow of who I ought to be, and the me they get is stressed, angry and short-tempered. No more of that nonsense. From now on, everyone, including me, gets the calmest, happiest, most fulfilled version of me.

Because I quit.