Less stress, less overwhelm, less guilt… more time, more joy, more freedom. These are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you give yourself permission to quit a tradition that no longer works for your season of life.
One of my earliest memories of school was an “About Me” poster I made in kindergarten. Alongside my drawings of a ballerina (my 5-year-old career aspirations), Mr. Rogers (my favorite TV show), and the conglomeration of stick figures that represented my family was a giant plate of food.
I couldn’t pick just one favorite food like my more obedient classmates because my favorite “food” was what my family (and so many other Dutch folks) refer to as “Sunday Dinner”.
For those of you who aren’t Dutch, or who didn’t grow up in my family, Sunday Dinner is a delicious meal eaten around noon after church on Sunday — a roast, ham or steak, served with mashed potatoes and gravy, multiple vegetables, applesauce, rolls, a salad of some sort, and dessert.
The entire meal was conveniently explained by the term “Sunday Dinner” — which, for my 5-year-old brain, made it a completely logical choice for a “favorite food”.
My dad made Sunday Dinner EVERY week, and while you might think I’d tire of eating the same thing every single Sunday for 21 years, I can assure you, I did not!
Dave and I continued the Sunday Dinner tradition after we were married. We both looked forward to a large meal every Sunday — sometimes we’d have family over, sometimes we’d go to one of our parents’ homes, but we always had a version of Sunday Dinner each week.
I assumed Sunday Dinner would be a constant in my life forever and ever. But when we started adding children to our family, I realized how rushed and frazzled Sunday mornings can feel with young children… especially dealing with fussy babies whose schedules were all thrown off because they missed their morning naps.
All of a sudden, Sunday Dinner felt like a chore instead of a delight. It was firmly planted at the bottom of my “have to do” list instead of on my much more fun list of “want to dos”.
But the thing is, I didn’t HAVE to make Sunday Dinner… at least not on Sunday afternoons.
After several weeks and way too much thought, I decided to temporarily abandon one of my favorite childhood traditions for the sake of my sanity…
Nine years and four children later, we’ve never looked back!
Our current Sunday lunches now consist of leftovers, sandwiches, or a very simple slow cooker meal I threw together in the morning.
And you know what? No one seems to care!
I regularly make “Sunday Dinner” (a.k.a. roasted meats, potatoes, and veggies) for supper during the week.
And we now have new traditions like family movie night, pool parties, weekly baking marathons, and fun craft/ LEGO days.
Although Sunday Dinners were one of my most favorite traditions for many years of my life, there came a point when it no longer made sense for me, for my family, or for our season of life. Quitting that tradition was extremely freeing!
I still look forward to Sunday afternoons — but not because I love coming home to the smell of beef!
I look forward to Sunday afternoons because they are the quietest, most relaxing, most enjoyable afternoon of our week.
Our electronics are tucked away, our normal weekly to-dos are put on hold for a few hours, cleanup is a breeze after our simple Sunday lunches (especially if we eat outside), and I no longer feel that nagging guilt of trying to force a tradition that doesn’t work for me anymore.
What about you?
Does the thought of quitting one of your current traditions sound wonderfully freeing?
If so, it might be time to evaluate why you’re hanging onto this particular tradition, or if there’s a way to tweak the tradition to make it work better for your current season of life.
If you feel overwhelmed, weighed down, stressed, or even just slightly annoyed by a tradition or routine in your life, I challenge you to take a short break and see if it makes a difference.
Maybe you’ll realize your stress was caused by something different… or maybe you’ll realize that one simple change made a HUGE difference in your daily and weekly life.
If that’s the case, give yourself permission to quit (at least for now). You can always pick it back up again later!
I know how difficult it can be to stop a long-standing tradition (especially a tradition you really enjoy) but, as the popular saying goes, “you CAN have too much of a good thing.”
I’d love to know…