I’ve heard people say that you can’t just keep adding things to your life; sometimes you have to “Say goodbye to something good to make room for something great.”
That statement resonates with me and has empowered me to make changes in the past. I used to keep everything on the schedule because it fell into the “good” category. Over the years I’ve slowly learned to recognize the great things, and I’ve given myself permission to let go of things that didn’t make the cut.
I recently ran into a roadblock, though. I was overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities and commitments in my life and I had nothing “good” left to cut out… only the great things remained! How do you say goodbye to the great?
The tension remained – I knew I needed more margin in my life; I was running on empty (or below empty… if that’s possible!) and I had no time to recharge. I felt very little joy and often felt trapped in my life and circumstances. After a careful evaluation over an extended period of time, I realized the only thing I could take off my plate was my part-time job at our church where I did marketing and communications.
This job was a lifeline for me in many ways. I had to use my brain in an entirely different way for this job than the day-to-day parenting tasks I did. It gave me a creative outlet, a writing outlet, and time connecting with incredible coworkers. It gave me tasks I could cross-off each day, and a sense of purpose and value. One of the best things about it was that I could do my job completely from home, at any time of the day. It checked so many boxes… but it was all that I had left that I could cut. I also worried what it would feel like to officially leave the (paid) workforce. I’ve always had some part-time gig while raising my kids, and this would be my first time completely without that. How would I explain the gap on my resume to a future employer? Would being a full-time mom be enough for me? Thinking about leaving brought up some tough questions with elusive answers.
I made the decision to quit, and after I communicated my decision to my boss, I went over to my husband and wept. There were so many emotions and feelings about it that came rapid-fire. A sense of loss, relief, joy, insecurity, trepidation for the unknown. It was overwhelming, and I wondered if I picked the right great thing to cut.
As the days and weeks passed and the work wrapped up, I found more mental capacity. I felt the freedom to be more present in the moment. I had time to cook for my family – something that brings me joy and pride. I had time to do the fun extras with the kids, like pull out the sewing machine and help them create, and convert our table into “Perler Bead Central” for a weekend. I even found time to begin taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I still miss my role and the work that I did. The transition hasn’t been 100% easy, but it was the right choice for me. The confirmation came one evening at bedtime. I was tucking in my 5-year old and we were reminiscing about the day. We recounted all the fun things we did together and he said, “Mom, it seems like you have more time for stuff like this since you quit your job.” His perspective rocked me; I couldn’t believe he was that perceptive. Knowing that he was observing this made me so thankful I took the leap. I don’t know what’s next, but I know this is right for now.