Why I Gave Up Homemade Pizza

I planned to write about exercise this week.

I was going to show you a picture of my cute, sparkly barre socks that I get to wear to my studio classes, which is my new favorite thing. I’m just not feeling it today, though.

School got out a week ago and it’s been an absolute whirlwind of pool parties, in-laws visiting, an ER trip, sports practices and camps, an anniversary that still waits to be celebrated because of all THAT and while I know how much exercise keeps my anxiety in check and improves my mood, I just haven’t been consistent lately and I’m not going to write about it this week.

What’s on my mind right this minute is how my perspective has shifted in the last year or so and how I’m grateful for kids without fevers, a bear hug from my 7-year-old, my daughter painting my toenails and sharing a Frosty with my teenager. Daily, simple things that have become the big things.

I know we’re far from Christmastime, but there’s never a wrong time for a Clark W. Griswold quote:

Ellen: “It’s just that I know how you build things up in your mind, Sparky. You set standards that no family event could ever live up to.”

Clark: “When have I ever done that?”

Ellen: “Parties, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, holidays, vacations, graduations…”

I could add to this list: Homeschooling, keeping house and meal planning. I definitely share in Clark’s misery and disappointment when life doesn’t live up to my expectations and I’m learning to set the bar a little lower these days.

Friday pizza night is a family tradition borne out of necessity for structure during the chaos that was PCSing and moving away from the only home my children had ever known. I went all Clark W. Griswold and decided it MUST be homemade pizza and so every Friday I stopped at Trader Joe’s for raw dough (ok, semi-homemade) and toppings.

Clint would come home from work, and as the primary pizza chef in the family, grab the rolling pin and get to work. The kids toggling between Netflix, Amazon and the Redbox app deciding on a movie for the evening. And me? I’d pour a glass of wine and kick my feet up like a Princess, relaxing from my rough day of laundry and grocery shopping.

Fridays are my favorite and I think you can see why.

Served to me piping hot on a plate would be two slices of custom-made artichoke, tomato, red onion, pesto pizza.

This went on weekly for a couple years. The evening we all looked forward to, an exclamation point at the end of our busy week. Even Clint, chopping, rolling and sweating in the kitchen.

Blindsided by deployment, I thought surely, I could keep up this tradition, even Instagramming my prep work the first week he was gone.

But week after week became month after month and the stress and exhaustion wore on me and there came a point when I just couldn’t chop another tomato or roll out another crust. That first time I ordered Domino’s pizza on a Friday, I felt like a complete failure.

Like if Clark had to buy his Christmas tree at a lot.

Nobody saddled me with expectations. No, no, it was all self-induced. And the shame that followed was felt by myself alone. But when I looked around and saw that our Friday nights were just as memorable because we were together, I found a freedom I’d been longing for. I’ve learned to give myself some much-needed grace. The kids sure don’t mind or even notice. Hey, cheese pizza is cheese pizza.

Why did I hold myself to such standards?

Perhaps I’ve been playing tug-of-war with the military over who’s in control. I’ve been losing badly; not being able to live where we want and not having Clint home on a predictable basis. Keeping Friday night sacred felt in some ways like my last card to play and I had to make it count.

I’ve since discovered that I’ve been playing the wrong game after all. I’m not really in control of much here but it’s my job to make the best of it wherever we are and there’s no shame in taking the easy way out. Clint’s home now but on a wonky schedule and I’m finding myself doing many Friday pizza nights solo again.

And last night? I didn’t even consider homemade. Domino’s pizza ordered online means less dishes and I can watch the pizza tracker. I told you, it’s the little things.

I’m learning to take this approach in many areas of my life where my expectations are through the roof. This life is hard enough without piling extra pressure on. I’m taking things down a notch around here and loving it.

One of these weeks I’ll get back to barre class and write a wonderfully inspiring post with a picture of my cute Toesox, but for today? Today, I’m eating leftover pizza, cleaning up the slime lab that has become our garage and refereeing two boys who insist our living room is an indoor soccer field and will not be convinced otherwise.

How are you simplifying this summer?



  1. Amanda on June 28, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Beautiful post. Sometimes we have to let go of some things to keep moving forward. I love how you adapted your tradition to keep it going even if it meant changing it from homemade to order in. Good luck with the rest of your deployment.

    • Kara Ludlow on June 28, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      Hi Amanda! Yes, I love traditions and learning to hold my grip on them a little more loosely as we navigate this military lifestyle. Thanks for stopping by to read!