Try Strategic Quitting to Be a More Relaxed Mom


knowing when to quit

Why can’t I bake a decent batch of cookies?! No matter what I do or how hard I try, my cookies never turn out right. For a long time, that baking shortfall really bothered me. But not anymore—not since I started applying the principle of strategic quitting.

Strategic quitting let me step away from my cookie quest and allowed me to stop beating myself up. But it’s not about just giving up when things get tough. As the name indicates, there is a strategy to knowing when to quit. And when done right, it can really help us be better moms. Here’s how to do it right.

Play to your strengths.

iMOM founder Susan Merrill wrote about a version of strategic quitting in her The Mom I Am post. She says that when moms accept and appreciate what makes them unique and effective, they can strategically quit chasing after some “ideal” they’ve spotted in other moms. It’s OK to be the mom you are. It’s OK to be the person you are. Build on your strengths. Sure, we want to temper our troublesome tendencies, but we don’t have to transform them into strengths. Instead, play to your strengths. That’s where you’ll see the most return on your time and effort.

Prioritize.

Strategically quit the things that are unimportant. Prioritize and get better at what really matters and leave the rest behind. For example, my sister’s house is charming, cozy, and hip. While I would love to have her flair in my home, I don’t. Before practicing strategic quitting, I would work harder and longer to get what she has. But that just takes away valuable time and effort from what’s really important and what really matters in parenting—and from what I’m good at.

Let go.

Have you heard of sunk costs? It’s the amount of time, money, and energy you’ve put into something. The higher our sunk costs, the harder it is to walk away, even if we know something is a lost cause. So maybe you’ve poured yourself into an activity or a direction for your family that you know isn’t right or worth it. But now you feel like you can’t walk away because your investment is huge. If you feel like walking away is right, then cut your losses now and do it.

Strategic quitting can be freeing! Knowing when to quit is the best use of your resources. What can you strategically quit?

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