the day I quit

October 5, 2015

Last Monday was a tough day and I just about had it with all things mothering, so I said, “I quit.” I wasn’t joking. I walked off the job. I went on strike. I declared that if they weren’t going to listen, then I was done, so I was done.

They would call, “Mommy! Mommy!”

“Um, don’t call me mommy. You can call me Ruby.”

That was my response. For real.

When Ben came home, and in exhaustion said, “I’m done.” I told him I’m going to work or he needs to stay home. I’m not opposed to flip flopping the current situation. The next day, my strike continued. I didn’t make breakfast, didn’t make lunch (thankfully the older girls do that already), we didn’t do school (I saw True trying to teach her sisters), and didn’t clean up one bit (oh you see a bit of the chaos above, and yes, I took pictures of the mess). I did get caught up on email though, so that’s one plus. HA! Ben came home and the house was upside down. I helped the girls with one thing, but that’s only because they started crying. *raising my hand* Totally failure of a mom right here.

Yep, my heart was so hard. My mom called and I told her how I quit, and she said, “Okay, come home now.” I talked to my MIL and I told her the situation, and I could hear her during Spanish lessons telling the girls they need to do a better job of listening to me. When Ben came home, he said, “So what do you want to do for real?”

Through the course of the day, I remember thinking that my heart isn’t being quick to repent and this is so scary. My sin had such a strong grip on me and it didn’t want to let go. In fact, it felt like my heart was holding on to this frustration, selfishness, pride, and rebellion a lot tighter and tighter as the day wore on.

I could tell Ben wanted to get mad at me and tell me to snap out of it, but he didn’t know how to. He wanted to be sensitive to my feelings, but also knew that I was being ridiculously selfish. I left Ben and the girls alone to eat dinner and I was chilling by myself. I knew that my heart couldn’t continue this way, nor do I really want it to. Sure, it felt good for a little while, but in the end, it will lead to destruction. I didn’t want to follow Anakin Skywalker’s path.

Eventually (and pretty much right before bed), I opened my Bible to read a little bit (with much hesitation, but I knew it was necessary). Then, I read this article, “When Your Life Feels Like a Waiting Room,” and boy did I need to read that. Throughout the day I could see my selfishness in wanting my way, pride in thinking I was deserving of things going my way, and rebellion in not wanting to do the job I have. After I sobered up, and was rebuked with God’s word, I was ready to repent. First to God, then Ben, and then the girls. I told them all about how I failed and asked them to forgive me. Of course, I got to use it as a teaching moment to remind them that we all fail, and that’s precisely why we need Jesus, me especially. I’m broken and only He can do the fixing. Not even Olivia Pope is good enough to fix me. Only Jesus. I lead the charge when it comes falling short as a mother. I admit, while I do adore my children, I have plenty bad and hard days. And while it does take me awhile to repent, I’m thankful that God’s word transforms my selfish heart and gives me a new one. #ineedgrace #andtheyneedgracetoo


35 comments on “the day I quit”

  • jane says:

    i hear you sister! thanks for having the courage to share this. i genuinely hear you right where you are/were…’cuz i’ve been there too. these are different kinds of teachable moments, as you said, for me and for my girls. i had plenty of in-school teachers who had their fly off the handle moments too, but i don’t remember them coming back and apologizing or talking us through how we affect each other. you are not alone…in this community…and most definitely with our Lord. Thanks for making me feel less alone as well! 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Wow Ruby, I feel like quiting almost everyday. It’s our first year of homeschool and everything is diificult. I lost my mom two weeks ago and my heart and mind are broken and scattered and I can’t seem to get myself collected and in the right mental place. The boys have terrible attitudes and I feel like that is my fault too. I am worried my kindergartener is not learning anything. I am jealous of my husband even though he is working hard and supporting us. I feel like he does not get to have a bad time with the boys when he just got home, I’ve been doing it for 10 hours!! Also we have been eating junk because I am too burned out to cook most days. Fail. Fail. Fail. Anyway, I feel like a failure everyday. Every single day. Thank you for always being so honest. There is something nice in knowing as isolated as I may feel, I am not alone in these struggles. I love the saying, “If you can’t have grace in the moment, have grace in the turn around.” I need to get that one framed. I think it’s my motto this year.

    • Brooke says:

      I really like that sentiment, Holly. And I bet you’re having successes everyday that you aren’t giving yourself credit for 🙂

    • Rubyellen says:

      I’ve never heard that quote before, but I love it. I want to make it a poster! I need that reminder. Every. Single. Day.

  • amber says:

    As a mom of 4 myself, I so relate to this post! It’s so hard sometimes when your life is not really your own. To always have a million things on your to do list, & all those little people that need constant care & supervision, can at times be so overwhelming. And frustrating. But, like you reminded in your post, only through Jesus can we do this. And, really, it is a gift. The hardest thing, I hear, we’ll ever do. I remind myself often that this is my highest calling. And they are so worth the blood, sweat & tears! Thank you for posting this. And for your transparency. Your girls are beautiful & they are so blessed to have you as their mama. Failings & all!

  • Brooke says:

    Well this is timely for me…:D I was just having an “I’m trying not to lose it” conversation with my husband a few nights ago. I realized (after I let it all out and spent some much needed time in prayer) that while I’m getting a little better at taking some time to be by myself, I don’t use it to allow God to restore what needs to be restored in me. Instead of spending time with Jesus, reading, praying, being quiet and listening I generally use my precious alone time to do errands, or get on the internet, or clean, or veg, etc. I end up trying so hard to be what I want to be and it’s exhausting. Also, I really like the quote from Holly in the last comment.

    Thanks for sharing your real struggles. It’s comforting to read I’m not the only one— feeling this stuff, having to apologize to her husband and kids, needing to repent for the same stuff over and over and learning how to model grace for myself to my children.

    • Rubyellen says:

      Everything you wrote, sounds like I wrote it. I totally get you. So much frustration with the repetitive pattern of messing up, and then just learning to rely on and truly believe grace.

  • Alli says:

    I have certainly had these days! I know that there are limits to my patience, there are limits to what I can do in a day and limits on what I can offer my kids as a mom and as a human. I really wonder if you are asking too much of yourself? It seems like you are blaming yourself for failing to live up to an unattainable expectation. To be mother and teacher to 4 little girls of different ages and abilities would stretch anybody to a breaking point. It sounds to me like being real with yourself and your family and making some big changes to your circumstances would allow you to be your best self and mother. There is only so much we can do, and do well.

    • Rubyellen says:

      It’s what I signed up for with 4 and homeschooling, but yeah the days definitely get rough sometimes. I agree that sometimes I need to learn to chill out on my expectations of them and myself.

  • kristin says:

    this is so real. when we are trying to get the kids wrapped up for bed, and they are wrestling dad and taking their sweet old time. THIS is when i look at the hubs and say, “i’m done” i feel like i have not once more once of repeating myself or hearing something that i don’t care about.
    i ruin the moment before bed because i want to have some time to myself. when i’m not totally selfish, i see some nuggets of fruitfulness in our conversations, and my kids smile more with me too. not just with their dad. ugh. so selfish here.

  • thank you always for being real and an example of God’s grace.

  • J says:

    I love that you are genuine to your family, your heart, and to us readers! I am curious in asking if there were any particular reasons you and Ben chose to have the girls homeschooled?

    • Rubyellen says:

      We love being able to cater to their interests and learning styles. I have a class of 4 versus 30, so they get more attention and opportunities to do other things a traditional classroom might not have time for.

  • Sara says:

    Thank-you for being honest and real. It is such a gift we women can give to one another! I loved this and I’ve been there.

    • Rubyellen says:

      I agree. I love blogging, instagram, and the whole social media thing, but I’m also aware that it could be deceiving. I love pretty things and things neat and tidy, but real life is messy too, and all of it is beautiful even if it doesn’t feel that way at the moment. Honesty with each other is truly such a gift!

  • weiyan says:

    <3 <3 <3 sending you lots of love and virtual laksa bowls from singapore. praying for you and your family, ruby! <3 <3 <3 <3

  • another mom says:

    I needed to read that too, thank you for sharing.

    I’ve been feeling discouraged as a single mom. I have a young child with special medical needs ( not too serious but a daily ongoing issue) and having to work and mother it often feels overwhelming. I feel like I fail miserably in ways just from being so tired, my patience is so thin these past few days. It doesn’t help having a custody battle that has me claiming bankruptcy from my sons abusive father. It’s kind of a hell I never imagined or thought possible.
    I just wonder what God’s plan is in it all and pray for the grace to be strong & to love my son and not give up when fear and discouragement want to pull me under.

    just another mom trying to love and follow Christ.
    Pray for me <3

  • Frédérique says:

    Hi Ruby! I know I don’t ‘know’ you know you:) But I have been reading your blog for more than 6 years now!!! I only know that because I started when I was pregnant with my first baby and she is about to turn 6! It made me so sad to read how harsh you are being on yourself! Thought I completely understand as I am the same:) You are are allowed a time to reflect and pause, I understand that you are not proud of the fact that it happened in anger, but if you need time to think and just some time off, you shouldn’t blame yourself. You will only be a better Mom and wife from it! I have the hardest time knowing when I need to take a break, I just want to give all I have to my husband and babies, but sometimes I lose it too, and realize I need a break, though I don’t want to take it because I want to be there for them! Sending you lots of love and strength, F

    • Rubyellen says:

      You know what, I have the hardest time knowing when I need a break too. I love being home, so while maybe some alone time out would be helpful, I hate leaving the house sometimes when I know Ben is home. hahaha I’m such a homebody and I love being where Ben is. Maybe for my birthday this year I will request a do nothing at all in bed day again. It feels good to not have anything to do but stay in bed and read a book.

  • AMEN! Thank you for sharing the raw and unpretty – to remind us we can all be a little unpretty at times. We need Jesus. xxx

  • Suuper says:

    Girl!!!! I feel the same way on some days! It is SOOO good to hear that other mom’s have the same feelings I do!!!!

    • Rubyellen says:

      I agree! But on those days, I feel so alone sometimes, so I’m glad I can share that here and you all are so gracious to let me tell parts of life I struggle with.

  • patty says:

    I look to your blog, not only for inspiration, but for truth, in the reality of motherhood. I believe we all go through a valley here and there, the beauty is that we are surrounded by majestic mountains of love; our families, and Creator, the Most High. I bid you love and patience , my comrade in this battle called ,motherhood.

    • Rubyellen says:

      This battle called Motherhood. I love that. It’s so true. So much joy when days are victorious, but lots of hardship too … such is life.

  • shauna says:

    AMEN! sister!
    this post spoke to me after a really hard week.
    it can only get better from here!

    God is faithful.

  • Vanessa says:

    Ruby, your honesty has always blown me away! I just wanted to reach out and thank you for being so open, it really does inspire me to do the same in my own struggles. I wish I could help in a more tangible way but know that your readers are thinking of you and always sending you support through the rough days!

    • Rubyellen says:

      Thank you for your thoughtfulness. Just letting me know you feel similar to me helps tremendously. I always feel like I’m along and probably the only who majorly screws up as a mom, but it’s nice to know there are friends who fail too, and just want to learn to get back up and rely on grace again like I do. I think there’s just so much more freedom in living when we aren’t just about putting that best foot forward, but able to admit that we don’t always have everything together. I think that admissions helps us really grow in understanding grace and how to love others better.

  • Yazmin says:

    Is there anyway you could reconsider the home schooling in order to give yourself a little break? Maybe shuffle the hours around and enroll them in classes an extra day or something like that? It sounds like very full-on contact with your girls without ever being apart for a break?

    • Rubyellen says:

      My husband and I have discussed a few options. I defintely think I do need more alone (relaxing) time. It really is full on busy all the time since I homeschool and pretty much do everything with them 24/7.

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