Most people’s parents taught them not to be quitters.
Never give up! Keep going! Don’t quit on your dreams!
Well, sometimes third grade dreams are thirty minutes away, four times a week, with three other kids whining in a minivan.
I’m pretty sure that’s why my mom didn’t discourage quitting.
Tap? Piano? Whatever. If I complained, she wasn’t going to hate her life driving me.
I threw in the towel on lots of things I started without her printing out inspirational quotes it. Now, as a parent, I get it.
(Sidenote: I was still busy in extracurricular activities, just not a million.)
As I’ve gotten older, I realize there’s a good amount of wisdom in this. I wouldn’t call it “quitting,” necessarily, just weeding out. Prioritizing. Not sweating small things. Realizing what daily fluff you can omit you’re your routine and still be satisfied with the meaning and focus on your day. Knowing when to say no. Understanding that, actually, it’s NOT possible to do it all. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
Is it my DREAM to take my kids to the library every week? No. Okay? No.
In fact, letting go can give me the ability to have a more laser focus on the important parts of my day.
Say, my kids.
What do I do know that distracts me from them? As a mother who adores her kids, I’d say…nothing.
Really, though, that’s a lie. We all know it’s our stupid freaking phones.
I saw this photo a while ago, and hated that even in this obviously planned picture, my phone was still in it. See it back there? Me, my precious babies, and an inanimate object that I shower as much attention and food on (whoops) as my human children.
THAT is what I need to quit.
So I did. I went three days without social media with my mantra, “I’m a quitter!”
(I do realize three days is not a long time and sort of pathetic.)
Are you expecting me to say that it was an enlightening experience that changed me for the better?
That’s wrong, though. That’s not what happened.
The first day, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I’m not on social media constantly, anyway. Mostly just naptime. Still, my lost index finger jiggled all over the phone screen trying to locate the deleted social media icons before my brain even had time to communicate with my panicked finger…even though I just needed to check my calendar for a time, or transfer money into my account. I became aware of my short attention span and how truly addicted to my phone I was.
I had to put my phone in a drawer. I wouldn’t be surprised if my finger was twitching or ghost-scrolling for a few hours.
I was more present all day.
The second day was great. I had adjusted. I didn’t care what anyone else was doing on their Hawaii trip, or what they bought at Trader Joes. Instead of reading memes, I thoroughly enjoyed my kids and spent quiet time reflecting on them (although they wanted my phone more often…they wanted to know where their music went). I still didn’t go laundry, though. I hate laundry.
The third day surprised me. I actually felt a little lonely.
I text friends here and there, but I did feel noticeably more isolated. I wondered how prevalent and exacerbated loneliness and maybe depression must have been for stay at home parents before, say, ten years ago.
I realized that social media is a little bit of an escape for me. It’s a connection to an outside “real” world. It gives me laughs. It inspires me to see what my friends are doing with their kids and families. It’s all about balance, and although I’m strict on myself about limiting my time and usage around my kids, scrolling through social media during naptimes is a mental health indulgence.
Looks like I wasn’t a total quitter. Maybe all those years of classroom kitten posters have changed me.
image via here