Is “busy” the only good excuse?

I didn’t work on this speech this weekend. 

That’s ok! You have 3 kids, you must’ve been really busy.

I didn’t go grocery shopping this weekend.

That’s ok! You were busy.

I forgot about that deadline.

You just have so many things going on.

I haven’t blogged in a week or so and I have no excuse. Have I been busy? Not really. Do my 3 kids require attention from me 24/7? Not really. In fact, I had several free hours over the weekend that I filled with light reading, heavy reading, working out and roaming around Target.
I wouldn’t say I’m too busy to do anything. I just dont’ want to.

I don’t want work on that speech, I’d rather indulge in a movie on Koty, or play board games with my kids, or do a mix of light and heavy reading. I slacked off and “busy” is not my excuse.

Lazy? Yes.

Different priorities? Yes.

I spend the weekend taking in everything I possibly could, from the beautiful weather to eye rolls from my daughter’s beautiful big browns; from a tutorial on comedy writing to George Orwell’s 1984; from Mighty Ducks to Sister Act; from the home section to the freezer section, I took it all!

It was relaxing… and I was consumed with guilt. 

I didn’t get milk (or EGGS!). I didn’t practice my speech. I didn’t write on my blog. I didn’t finish anything I started.

So today when I replied, “No, I didn’t really get anything done this weekend,” and my coworker offers up a classic “you were probably so busy” excuse, I took it. Shamefully. 

“Yes. That was it. I was just so busy.”

Busy enjoying my life.

March on! 

Today was a momentous day in history.

Nearly 3 million people (estimated)  participated in The Women’s March worldwide!

Many people (with countering political beliefs) may think this march was a hissy fit or some sort useless outcry. At first, I thought, what’s the point? Trump will still be president in the morning. Nothing will change.

I think I understand a little more now why millions of women and men – feminists – across the globe gathered to march today. And it’s the same reason I think many people voted for Donald Trump in the first place: fear.

Fear that our civil rights will be lost. (Among other things, of course)

As all election years are, 2016 was brutal between the right and the left. However, it seemed that more than ever, they were soooo extreme. Too extreme. I don’t think you could get more opposite than a bull-headed, feminist woman and a misogynistic man. I mean, I guess it’s possible but this was a lot to handle.

When my kids came home and told me things their friends (2nd grade!) told them at school, I was mortified. These were gory, specific things kids don’t make up, but things they overhear from adults. It’s scary to hear what untruths were being shared.

When Donald Trump won the election, many people felt betrayed. Betrayed that people we respected (respect) would vote for someone so crass. To them (us), it felt like, our peers/friends agreed with the things (all the things) he said/did. It hurt. It hurt because many of us thought we all agreed that we abhorred those disgusting, offensive things. Then, it was like we were Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Standing on that front porch all dressed up, and then pelted with eggs. We felt alone. We felt like failures.

But we were wrong to think that. Just because people voted for him, it doesn’t mean they share each and every one of his beliefs. I admit, I agree with a few things he stands for and even more now that the ridiculous carnival is (mostly) over. I think, we all value certain political ideals over others. And we have to weigh the importance of those values when we cast our ballots. Not everyone is as extreme as the candidate they vote for. 

So yeah. I’ve “gotten over it” and I’ve “accepted it.” He’s my president. He’s all of our president. 

Not all women who marched in the Women’s March are expecting something to happen. Yes, there are extremists. But many of us just want the reassurance that we are not alone. That we haven’t failed. And, that we won’t lose these rights because there are millions of us who will still fight to keep them, if they ever are threatened. 

We want to be fearless.

I’m going to quit my job and draw

Donnie and I were watching a Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates the other night. I saw it on our list but avoided it because sounded like one of those college-age, binge drinking, sleeping with everyone in sight style movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen American Pie. I thought it was hilarious. At the time. 

Maybe it’s my age. Maybe I have higher standards for movies now. I can’t even look at those American Pie actors without mentally rolling my eyes.

However… we were tired of browsing and settled on this one. Have I sufficiently convinced you that I don’t typically watch this type of movie? Ok then, we watched it reluctantly. And I’m shocked to say that it was hilarious. I actually put my phone down and got into the movie. Then we got to the end. Zak Efron’s character decides he’s going to quit his job and draw full time.

I lol’d. Ok. A lot of this movie was somewhat belieavable, but seriously? You’re going to quit your steady job and live with your parents and survive somehow on… drawing?  “Become a graphic novelist” to be precise. I love drawing. I’d love to make money from drawing. It’s just not realistic. In real life, we have to pay bills. Then, in our free time (if there is any), work on our graphic novels. It was kind of a quick way to wrap it up. For a man who is irresponsible and sketches in his spare time to now have a dream and a future (promising, of course).

Now that I’ve worked through this entire post, I’ve realized that maybe it’s not as unrealistic as I thought. I’m such a cynic. If you’re good enough, you can excel if you take that chance. Maybe I’m just envious. Envious that I haven’t taken a leap, or hardly even a step toward a creative dream like that. Envious that I wouldn’t have the guts to believe in myself enough. Envious that I don’t have Zak Efron’s abs. 

Maybe my initial reaction was only surface deep. I guess not all of us have the guts, the means, the talent, the drive to quit our jobs and draw.

But they’re doing it, why can’t I?

I was watching Logan play 7 year old flag football and loving every minute of it! But… sadly, they were losing.

Logan came over to me at half time to express his frustration (i.e. Started crying because he didn’t want to lose to his best friend’s team). He said, “It’s just not fair, the flags are hard to pull so they keep tackling us. I’m going to start tackling. If they can do it, so can we.”

This is strictly a no-tackling league.

Big parenting moment here. I live for parenting moments (well the easy ones).

I told Logan, “Just because the other team is breaking the rules, it doesn’t mean that you should.”

Logan said, “But it’s not fair. They are getting away with it and winning the game.”

So I said, “It’s not about being fair. It’s about doing what’s right, even when others aren’t. It’s not your job to make sure things are fair and even. It’s your job to do your best and do what’s right.”

This was an easy for Logan. He’s got a good moral compass. He knows what’s right and not right.

Now if only adults could learn this lesson just as easy.

Doers vs. Watchers

This morning I had a conversation with Anya (13) about consumers vs. producers. She shared a famous quote that she liked on Instagram, it’s been more of the same since she started using social media two months ago.

I told her she should consider taking some of her photos and interpreting famous quotes instead of simply, re-blogging (inside joke).

Anya: But Mom, that takes a lot more work.
Me: Yes, it does. But you dont want to spend all your time consuming because the world needs producers.
Anya: Wut?

Cue the whole meaning behind the name of this blog: elephant poop. Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant. Consume a little and then Produce and keep producing and keep producing. It’s good for your soul, it’s good for your skills and it’s good for the world.img_0775

But, knowing this, why do most people resist producing?

Anya said it. “Too hard”
But why is it hard? I can type words on WordPress. I can get my paints out and express myself. I can start a support group and get 630 members in order to grow the game of beach volleyball in Wichita, Ks (did that in one day, btw).

It’s hard because we’re scared. Watching other people make waves and try things is easy. We justify our not-doing-ness with excuses:

– I’m not good at that
– I don’t have time
– It’s dumb

It’s ok to be a consumer. Producers need consumers to be successful! But, we sometimes take even further measures and criticize those who are doing:

– That’s not going to work
– I’ll wait until I see proof and then I’ll try it
– That’s a terrible idea
– That’s not the way most people do it

It’s bad enough to make excuses for not doing. It’s even worse when you feel soooo guilty for not doing, not being part of something that could be so great (but yes, might fail), that you make others feel bad when they have the courage to be a doer.

The greatest innovators are always criticized with the reasons above and more! Yet they have the courage to keep innovating through criticism and failure. It’s what makes them great!

So… if you see someone who’s pooping like an elephant, inching out a narrow branch, trying to reach something new, taking a chance, failing (gulp), don’t put them down. Don’t tell them they will fail because others have failed or because you think it’s improbable. Encourage them. Support them. Because it’s hard enough standing on that branch alone without you shaking the tree.

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

You is also illiterate, but… I choose to look past that part to see the message from the gut-wrenching, infuriating, inspiring movie, The Help.

I love how “kind” is in there. And it’s first!

I think we (I) spend too much time worrying about whether our (my) kids are at the top of their classes, the best on the soccer team or the fastest runner, first to tie shoes, first to learn ABCs.

We spend so much time and effort molding our kids into perfect, successful human beings that we forget about the human part.

Your kid may be the smartest kid in the class but I just watched him push a little kid out of the way, look back at the crying toddler and keep going. I don’t want my kids to be that way.

I won’t tell my kids “You is smart” because then they will think, “I know all I need to know and don’t need learn anymore.”

I’m not perfect though, in the past, I have focused a lot on grades and excellence in sports (nee every aspect of life). I’ve recently come to the realization (parents are always learning) that if my kids fail 5th grade science, it doesn’t mean they will become losers. It doesn’t mean they will be homeless, or worse, live with me until they’re 30.

I’ve started focusing on what makes them special, what makes them happy, what they work hard toward.

My son is below average in reading, but off the charts in math. I decided not to worry so much about the Cs he got in spelling and reading. It’s obviously not his thing. He will have to work at it, but I won’t set unrealistic goals for him in something that he already struggles with. That kid has a heart of gold. “You is kind” is his life’s motto. He’s got empathy for miles. Practicing empathy is not always easy, believe me, I know, so if kindness is your kid’s thing, I think he’ll be alright.

I know he’ll be alright because that kid has a heart of gold. “You is kind” is his life’s motto. He’s got empathy for miles. Practicing empathy is not always easy, believe me, I know, so if kindness is your kid’s thing, I think he’ll be alright, too.

The fact that I notice but choose to ignore the illiteracy of “You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” shows that I’m growing (as a mom and a perfectionist) and focusing on the very important message and not the delivery.

Also, watch The Help. It’s good for your heart.