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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

Is it time to quit?

Categories: Uncategorized, the juggle

12 comments

crossroadsI’ve been working towards one significant professional goal for several months now:

Get published in print.

(I’m pretty sure that’s not cool to admit out loud, but whatever.)

In order to research that goal, I’ve invested hours and money on research and tools. I’ve pushed through the scary first steps and I’ve “put myself out there.” A lot.

Thus far, all of my bylines are still digital.

The last few days I’ve been struggling with the decision to quit. It’s hard to work with no feedback (which is pretty typical in publishing) and I’m cognizant of all the people who want to be published writers and never are. My family is planning a move and will be setting up a new home soon, which is going to require money I’m not making from researching and pitching. I’m going to have to make some choices about the future of my career. But how?

I hate the idea of quitting. Quitting guarantees that the dream will not be realized. Quitting seems contrary to my core beliefs about optimism, faith, and perseverance.

On the other hand, I appreciate the value in letting go. I know that letting go of the things that weigh us down frees up space in our life for things that can feed and refuel us. Letting go is rarely easy, but it’s often necessary for progress.

The problem is, It’s not always easy to tell the difference between quitting too soon and letting go just in time.

Of course, there’s no right answer here. Real life decisions are not between right and wrong. There is no door number 1 with a Hawaiian vacation and door number 2 with a box of macaroni and cheese. Behind both doors are merely different opportunities, different possibilities for how things might go. That’s part of what makes choosing so tricky. We make lists of pros and cons in the hopes of picking right, when right does not exist.

There is only, as my mother reminded me this week, the next best decision.

So how do I decide what is the best decision right now?

I’ve been swimming in fear lately. That, I know, is a horrible environment for decision making. In order to get that under control, I talked to my doctor about adjusting my anti-depressants (extreme stress is a game changer for people with depression) and I’m sitting down to look at the cold, hard facts today. That means getting an accurate picture of what my family needs from me, not just an ambiguous feeling of them needing more. I’ll be whipping out the spreadsheets, doing some math, and setting realistic deadlines.

I’ll also be rereading my personal mission statement. Yes, I have one. It reminds me of my core values and was written when I was at peace, which makes it a reliable compass at times like this. While the numbers tell me where I need to go, my core values set the parameters within which I must get there.

Overcoming fear with knowledge and focusing on my values will, I hope, help me choose my next best step. That may mean quitting (or letting go), or it may mean me pushing on. Perhaps it will mean making adjustments. Whatever I decide, I know it won’t be right.

Or wrong.



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12 comments so far...

  • Don’t quit. Yours is a voice people should hear, and yours is a story people should know.

    This post captured everything I am feeling. I too want to be published, but all the “Nos” and dead ends leave me feeling frustrated, not to mention what it does to my confidence. What I’m saying is I feel your pain.

    I want to see your name in print and say I knew you when.

    IlinaP  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 8:57 am

  • a mission statement. I need one of those. I feel the exact same way. About a lot of things. I don’t know what to say about a book - I think your life is extraordinary. But, I totally get this “what should I be doing” thing. I’m home with the kids now, but - we are broke. And I feel like I’m wondering. Or go back to teaching with money, etc… And the stress is just like you said.

    I’ll be praying for your decision. I hate to see your dream go away. But, I do understand that sometimes we need to let things go. xo

    Kristen  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 9:03 am

  • who says you have to quit one or give it up… why can’t you still be in the process of doing it all… but maybe just slow down the process a little until you can get back to it full force. never give up completely on something you want. just because its not happening now doesn’t mean it can’t happen later. xoxo

    liza  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 9:15 am

  • I love your analytical approach, guided by your core values. Very impressive! I should do a personal mission statement. Well, I think I’ve done one — a while ago!! — but I should make it a more active part of my daily decisions.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    el-e-e  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 10:13 am

  • How about a pause, instead of a quit? In response to a discussion about making the difficult choice to put a career on hold and stay at home with kids, one person recently shared advice that her mother gave her: Life is long. I like that because it gives hope of many years ahead to pursue life goals. Plus, the one print publication I landed happened completely by accident, when I called the publisher about something else entirely. Sometimes it is just timing. Good luck with your move! May your new neighbor turn out to be a big wig publisher ;).

    Heidi  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 10:19 am

  • I’ve been published in the local newspaper. My other (non dad-blog) gig is reviewing stuff, and I have a website for it, but I always wanted to “become legit” or whatever. I finally had the opportunity with The Seattle Times several years ago, and for a while I would occasionally have reviews printed in the newspaper.

    It used to be my goal at one point to “get in print” but the headaches and hoops that came with it were too much. The bigger goal was for me to be able to work form home, and when I focused more on that, I was much happier.

    daniel  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 10:24 am

  • Quitting doesn’t mean you can’t restart. Setting aside one part of your life to focus on another is part of the normal cycle. It’s not quitting, it’s rescheduling.

    I just read a three book series by an author whose bio says “Mr. W is a writer from 7 to 10 pm on Wednesday nights. The rest of the time he (does his job) and a is husband and father and son and soccer coach and …”

    Why don’t you try something like that. In between all the scheduled things that a family has, make sure you’ve scheduled a few hours when YOU get to be a writer, with no interruptions.

    Nil Zed  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 12:12 pm

  • For me, I try to determine when it’s “my turn”. Life is cyclical, stasis follows growth, yada yada yada… If I’ve put my best effort into something and it’s not panning out? I just figure that it’s not my “turn” and I set it aside for something else. It’s not about quitting, it’s about recognizing that my energies are better spent somewhere else. I’ll get another “turn” eventually…

    Nyt  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 2:23 pm

  • Maybe it is time to focus on what can generate money more quickly in the here and now. Your dream of being in print is still there but perhaps it is time to let it simmer which could also allow new ideas to be added to the pot that will aid the print dream later.
    As you’ve expressed over the years, decisions are difficult but they are doable. Best of luck.

    Sue  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:46 pm

  • In sewing, there’s a something called a “back tack” — it’s when you run the machine backwards for a stitch or two, and then forward again, in order to secure all of the stitches you’ve already done up to that point.

    Sometimes, it feels like we’re quitting or back-tracking, when really we’re just back *tacking* a little bit. I wrote about it from a career-perspective here:

    http://writeeditrepeat.blogspot.com/2010/11/can-taking-step-backward-secure-your.html

    I don’t think you have to quit. But sometimes you have to shift gears in order to secure everything else you’ve been working for, and then move forward again.

    Lylah  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 9:14 am

  • Published is published, I say. Cast your net wide. I see no need to let go of your dream as long as you have other ways to generate income.

    You’ll find the right way for you.

    Megan  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 11:58 am

  • Perhaps whatever you decide won’t be right, or wrong, but will be the right decision for this moment in time.

    Mich  |  May 9th, 2012 at 8:23 am

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