Friday, September 28, 2012

Shifting gears

Great. Now I have a new annoying mantra running around in my head.

You'll remember this pithy little phrase that I adopted from that guru of self-help himself, Dr. Phil:

You don't have to want to do it, you just have to do it.

Ugh. I should be grateful for the number of times that phrase has gotten me into my running shoes and out the door, or helped motivate me to get the laundry folded, or forced me into going to the grocery store so I could...I don't know... feed my family, but I'm not. Nope, that grating southern drawl ringing in my head still does nothing but annoy me... but it does get me moving sometimes.

Now, thanks to a friend's inspirational quote on Facebook, I have some new words of wisdom making me want to kick something, or maybe just take a nap.

If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don't, you will find an excuse.


I'll confess my first inclination was to deflect the convicting tone of this message from myself and point it straight in the direction of my kids.

Oh, that is good. My kids need to hear this. I'm going to put that right on the refrigerator message board. They will read that and be instantly motivated to get their homework done, write their college essays (um, that was directed toward one kid in particular but I won't say who), clean their rooms and then learn a second language in their spare time. This is going to be a game-changer, that's what!

The refrigerator message board is one of my favorite tools of communication. I have it on good authority that my kids treat notes on that board as gospel. I haven't actually ever heard them say this but I imagine a little voice in their head saying something like, "Wow. I had not thought of that before. This is really something to ponder... How did I get so lucky to have a mother so full of wisdom? Where is my journal..." 

Aren't I inspirational? Can't you see why they love my messages so?
But as I was daydreaming of all the ways my children were going to be motivated to adopt a "no excuses" lifestyle, another voice intruded on my thoughts. And this voice was the one that is really worth listening to.

Why do you notice the splinter that's in your brother's or sister's eye [or your kid's], but don't notice the log in your own eye?

Ouch, again.

I've been making a lot of excuses lately.

Excuses for why I can't seem to get to the multiple closets in my house that desperately need to be cleaned out and organized. Excuses for why it takes me three days to get around to making one phone call. Excuses for why I haven't scheduled my mammogram yet (I swear, I'm getting to that one!) Excuses for why I am chronically a minimum of three weeks late sending out birthday cards and gifts to my nieces and nephews. Excuses for extending my no-more-than-one-day-without-a-shower rule to two. Excuses for never wearing anything other than workout clothes whether I have exercised or not (full length yoga pants are considered a dressy day). Excuses...excuses...excuses...

Some of those are issues worth exploring and some of those are peanuts in the grand scheme of thing, but the biggie that has been inspiring a whole host of excuses lately is my continued failure to meet my goal of having my family sit down to dinner, around the dining table and eat a meal together at least four nights a week. That has not been happening.

I could give you my list of excuses and, believe me, they are good. It's a long and exhaustive list but the bottom line is, do I really want this or not? Because apparently, according to the Facebook quote gods, if I really want this I will find a way. So, do I?

Honestly, I don't know.

I know I want to spend lots of time together talking as a family and being together as a family and enjoying one another's company. But, frankly, we do all of that really well even if it rarely involves sitting around the dining table. Is a meal eaten while perched around the breakfast counter, spent debating replacement refs and the Huskies 2012 potential any less of a family meal than one with proper place settings and softly, glowing candles? Maybe... but it sure feels like family time to me.

So, I'm backing off my goal of four family meals a week around the dining table and counting kitchen counter meals as "good enough" for at least two of those four meals. Let's shoot for two meals in the dining room each week. Probably no one is going to want to write a book about our minuscule attempt at "FAMILY DINNERS", but whatever. We aren't auditioning to be on a reality show, this is our reality. 

But I know I'm still going to need a push to get that table set and candles lit even two nights a week, so here we are back to that annoying motivating little message mentioned previously. I thought about putting it on the refrigerator message board but I knew that my kids (and possibly my husband) would take that to mean that it was aimed at them. And it's not. This has got my name written all over it. So instead, I put this on my bathroom mirror. 

This one is just for me.
And on the infamous refrigerator message board, I put this:

And this one is for them.
I'm sure they will want to journal about this too...
 Life's a journey, sometimes you gotta shift gears.

Look at me- spitballin' my own inspirational quotes... That one is goin' on the refrigerator right after Sunday dinner. I don't like my kids to go more than about two days without having a chance to bask in my wisdom.


  1. Hey, you are way ahead of me....I count sharing a smoothie around the kitchen island a highly engaging family moment! Sometimes it is the moments you catch rather than the moments you create that need to be the famous words of Ferris Bueller...."Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it!" So, just stop and look around and enjoy! Andrea

    1. Well, there you go, giving me my next refrigerator quote! Ferris was full of words to live by. Thanks, AB! Great to hear from you! I do believe that we mastered the art of enjoying the moment during our Southwest days. :)

  2. Now see, I think it's GOOD to send out the niece/nephew presents late. It allows them to extend their birthday fun and celebrate with a package in the mail on a random Tuesday. If you send it ON the day, your present just gets lumped in with everyone else's.

    I rock at excuses too. For many of the same issues as yours. :)

    1. Mindee- you must stop enabling me! And get out of those yoga pants! (she says while wearing yoga pants...)

  3. Ask not what your mom can do... GENIUS & definitely fridge-worthy! - Sharon

    1. Thanks, Sharon! And I'm pretty sure that you were the one who posted the blasted quote that started this whole thing! :)

  4. Hi Lori! I was just telling your mom how much I enjoy your blog and I thought I should really be telling YOU! Your blog is the perfect vehicle for your oh-so-clever (brilliant, really!) writing that celebrates the everyday happenings in such a funny and poignant way. Thanks for the nuggets of wisdom (I'm using your quotes!) and for making me laugh. Hope you have a fabulous Sunday night family dinner.:) XO

    1. P.S. I'm writing this in my yoga pants. Haven't gone to a yoga class since July.

    2. Thank you, dear friend! I take that as high praise coming from one of the most clever and witty people I know. And July was practically yesterday. Who knows when the urge to do a sun salutation might strike? It's best to be prepared.