The Day I Gave Up

It started out like any other day.

Instead of using the 2 free hours I had to settle in with a good book, watch The Skulls on Netflix, or nap (all the things I wanted to do), I drove down to Sam’s to prevent hearing my children proclaim one more time that there was no food in the house.

My patience remained calm as I navigated the crowds of people waiting in line for free samples and piled my cart full of bulk items. I smiled at how excited my son would be when he saw the 60 pack bucket of sunflower seeds to prepare for baseball season and the inevitable glee my daughter would experience when she saw that I’d once again bought Hot Cheetohs. I made sure to grab just the right amount of whole grain, non-GMO touting items to prove to the world that I was creating the perfect balance between “make healthy choices” and “I’m just glad you’re eating something besides toast today.”

I even continued to maintain my calm while the check-out lady asked me if I was going to move the items she’d already scanned into my cart so she had more room. Sure, I was doing her job (expertly I might add), but who cares? I was the picture of calm because I was being productive.

That calm ended the minute I returned home, and opened my freezer suddenly concerned that I didn’t have enough space to house all of the food I’d purchased. I quickly learned my concern was unfounded as I pulled box after box out of the freezer to re-stack items only to discover there was no need.

They. Were. Empty.

Giving Up Feature
Ina looking at my pile of empty boxes with her judge eyes

All of them. Bagel Bites? Gone. Frozen pancakes? Gone. Bag of frozen fruit? Nothing left but blueberry-colored ice in the bottom. What the ever loving what?! I stacked one empty package after the next on the counter, the Barefoot Contessa cookbook looking on with judgment – “This never happens in the Hamptons while I’m making homemade gourmet mayonnaise for Jeffrey’s sandwiches.”

“For all things Holy, if you take the last of something, just throw it away!” I screamed collapsing the boxes and throwing them in the recycle bin.

As neither of my children were home to hear me yell, I began thinking of all the ways I was going to teach them a lesson. One friend suggested throwing the empty boxes in their bedroom and although I appreciated this technique, my daughter is just a half step away from being featured on hoarders. She’d just use the empty pretzel bag as a pillow and move on.

What if I throw the empty items at them as they walk in the door? That seems logical, right? Just as I was about to settle on this particular strategy, our 150-pound dog came walking around the corner as if on queue reminding me that he would quickly grab said items and rip them to 100 pieces. I was running out of viable options.

Giving Up - Other Pic
“I’ll leave just enough in the bottom so it’s not quite empty” is the new way they are testing my let it go mentality.


And that’s when it happened. I decided to give up. I would no longer be dying on a mountain of empty packaging, and it felt amazing. Embracing that feeling, I kept coming up with other battles I was no longer planning to fight – crumbs on the kitchen counter, mismatched socks, my hairspray that always finds its way off my sink and into my daughter’s room. I let it all go, because you know what? I have two kids in Junior High. Remember the time almost everyone looks back on and cringes? Two little humans living in my house are stuck in that awkward space between being kids and growing into young adults and that stuff is hard, you guys. The emotions are big, and the challenges are getting more and more complex. If I continue to fight all the inconsequential battles, I’ll have nothing left to give to the big stuff.


Later that day, the kids came home grateful for food unaware that I had contemplated pelting them with items earlier in the day. Sure, I may have had a taller pour than normal that evening, but generally, I was at peace with my decision to just let a few things go.

Christie Pettus is a full time working wife and mother living her suburban cul de sac dream in Orange Park, Fl. She is Mom to two awesome teenagers, McKenzie and Ethan, who have come to accept that certain parts of their lives will be blogged about, so they should act accordingly. As graduates of the University of Florida, she and her husband Ryan can be found rooting on their alma mater every chance they get including the more obscure sports. LaCrosse anyone? When she’s not judging her kids' questionable teenage choices, she can be found hiding in a room buried in a good book or writing, editing, and dreaming about being a full-time author.


  1. Exactly! Empty boxes are not the hill I want to die on. I have a tween that I can talk to normally and have no clue what emotion I’m going to get back. I have no desire to set her off over some empty containers. Good for you!

    • I hear ya! I was actually prepared for the mood swings from my daughter, but the ones from my son have really thrown me for a loop.

  2. So my house. I’m working o.k. letting it go, but it’s hard. I work overnights, and the 6am calls because we are out of breakfast foods, again, because there were empty boxes of Waffles and pancakes, and empty cereal boxes in the cabnet, but no actual food. This has gone on for 2 years, and I’m tired. Now, there is extra money in his account at school where he can buy breakfast. Just not worth the arguement


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