What the hell is productivity, anyway?


I have been pretty on top of things this week, and feel pretty good about the housework, and whatever yard work I was able to do. I even feel good about everything I was able to get done all week at work. One might even say I have been “productive”.

Why then do I constantly feel that it’s not enough?

I had the lovely opportunity to spend several hours catching up with my cousin this morning. She’s pretty awesome, not only because she’s super smart and a lot of fun, but she gets it.

What’s it? Several things, actually. All of the things women our age deal with, and she and her BFF have even written a book about it. More to come about that later.

The thing weighing on my heart at this moment is that Society likes to feed us a constant stream of bullshit which supports the idea that if you aren’t “productive” you are falling behind, or somehow less worthy. We are constantly asked to chug this bitter Kool-Aid and declare it delicious, even though it’s clearly poison.

House and yard must be kept just thus and so, because we need to blend in. Even if you have done a whole lot of work, it’s never all done, and at some point you need to rest your body, mind, and soul. What?! Stop whining and get back to work. Too much to be done to be lallygagging.

“Productivity” seems to be one of the over arching things that Society needs from us, and we aren’t to have needs of our own. Gods forbid we have a complaint about something either. Suck it up buttercup, there’s work to be done.

What the hell is with that, anyway? What really is productivity? I’m changing my ideas about what that means in my life.

Upon arriving home from visiting with my cousin I immediately felt guilty for not having got some laundry going before I left the house, so I could feel like I was “getting something done” while I was out having a good time. What happened here is that I allowed myself to fall back into the societal cookie cutter of constantly needing to be productive. It’s a bad reflexive habit, and I need to knock that shit off.

Here’s what productivity in my world really should look like:

I get to have as much time as I want, or need, with friends and family guilt free. It’s time well spent, strengthening bonds with people who matter, and is good food for the soul.

I get to hang out in my home, doing things as I see fit, when I have the time, without feeling guilty that I can’t ever get all of the things done.

I. Get. To.

Done.

I don’t fit into the cookie cutter very well, and the older I get the angrier I become with Society’s need for us all to fit into this arbitrary construct called “productivity”, especially when I find myself capitulating out of habit.

Do I sound like I’ve got my ire up about allowing myself to feel guilty for no purposeful reason? You betcha. I’m mad as hell and I’m going to make a practice of not taking it any more. Trust me, it takes practice. When you fall down, or if someone pushes you down, in the process of getting to know who you are and what you want, get up and try again.

Faithful Readers, make your own Kool-Aid. Give yourself space to feel and do what you want, and you can tell others to get stuffed if they don’t like it. Break that old tape playing in your head and write a new song.

My fondest wish for you all today is that you give yourself the space to feed your soul as you see fit, without guilt, and without thought or worry that you aren’t getting enough done. You are enough, regardless of the things you do or not. Blessings all!

Advertisements

What the hell is productivity, anyway?


I have been pretty on top of things this week, and feel pretty good about the housework, and whatever yard work I was able to do. I even feel good about everything I was able to get done all week at work. One might even say I have been “productive”.

Why then do I constantly feel that it’s not enough?

I had the lovely opportunity to spend several hours catching up with my cousin this morning. She’s pretty awesome, not only because she’s super smart and a lot of fun, but she gets it.

What’s it? Several things, actually. All of the things women our age deal with, and she and her BFF have even written a book about it. More to come about that later.

The thing weighing on my heart at this moment is that Society likes to feed us a constant stream of bullshit which supports the idea that if you aren’t “productive” you are falling behind, or somehow less worthy. We are constantly asked to chug this bitter Kool-Aid and declare it delicious, even though it’s clearly poison.

House and yard must be kept just thus and so, because we need to blend in. Even if you have done a whole lot of work, it’s never all done, and at some point you need to rest your body, mind, and soul. What?! Stop whining and get back to work. Too much to be done to be lallygagging.

“Productivity” seems to be one of the over arching things that Society needs from us, and we aren’t to have needs of our own. Gods forbid we have a complaint about something either. Suck it up buttercup, there’s work to be done.

What the hell is with that, anyway? What really is productivity? I’m changing my ideas about what that means in my life.

Upon arriving home from visiting with my cousin I immediately felt guilty for not having got some laundry going before I left the house, so I could feel like I was “getting something done” while I was out having a good time. What happened here is that I allowed myself to fall back into the societal cookie cutter of constantly needing to be productive. It’s a bad reflexive habit, and I need to knock that shit off.

Here’s what productivity in my world really should look like:

I get to have as much time as I want, or need, with friends and family guilt free. It’s time well spent, strengthening bonds with people who matter, and is good food for the soul.

I get to hang out in my home, doing things as I see fit, when I have the time, without feeling guilty that I can’t ever get all of the things done.

I. Get. To.

Done.

I don’t fit into the cookie cutter very well, and the older I get the angrier I become with Society’s need for us all to fit into this arbitrary construct called “productivity”, especially when I find myself capitulating out of habit.

Do I sound like I’ve got my ire up about allowing myself to feel guilty for no purposeful reason? You betcha. I’m mad as hell and I’m going to make a practice of not taking it any more. Trust me, it takes practice. When you fall down, or if someone pushes you down, in the process of getting to know who you are and what you want, get up and try again.

Faithful Readers, make your own Kool-Aid. Give yourself space to feel and do what you want, and you can tell others to get stuffed if they don’t like it. Break that old tape playing in your head and write a new song.

My fondest wish for you all today is that you give yourself the space to feed your soul as you see fit, without guilt, and without thought or worry that you aren’t getting enough done. You are enough, regardless of the things you do or not. Blessings all!

A New Goal – Something to Hang on to


Happy New Year!

A little late in my New Year’s greeting, I know. However, it’s been one heck of a busy time for this little sparrow. Really, the whole of 2014 was a year on the run. I’m generally not given to making resolutions or predictions for the new year, but for 2015 I will make a giant exception and make a goal. A large one.bullshit

Why? Because I’m fed up. Cooked. Tired. Exhausted. Ready to move on. And five billion different other reasons I won’t bore you with.

In 2014, I mostly had good success at both of my jobs, though I ran like a fool trying to get to them both. In December, I took on working extra hours at the Big Red Box Store, so I was working 7 days a week somewhere. In October I was promoted at the Cube Farm, but I was gifted with the news that my Ex was also promoted to the same department. While he and I keep it professional at work, it’s still very wearing and stressful to have to trade emails and attend daily meetings with him. On top of that, the leadership for this job was pretty absent, and the training was horrific. Suffice it to say I’ve been pretty miserable at the Cube Farm these last few months.

So, I applied for a new job with a new company and was accepted. I took a bit of a pay cut, but they pay better for benefits so it will balance out. My last day at the Cube Farm was Friday, after working there for 15+ years, and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I start my new job on Tuesday (more about that in a future post), and I feel like I am running full speed ahead into my future, giggling like a kid playing in the sunshine.

This is an item I can check off of my bucket list – New Job. Mission accomplished!

Previously, I didn’t really make goals for the new year, because my overriding goal every day was just to make sure I was surviving and getting the kids what they needed until they were launched into their own lives. After Younger Son graduated from high school and left home for the military, I felt kind of adrift without any daily reason to get out of bed. I’ve pulled myself back together now, and have had one thought in my mind that won’t go away:

I want to move away.

Yep, that’s right. It’s time for me to pick my nest up and move it to a happier, nicer place. Minot has been a good home to me and my family, but it’s really gone down hill. Not only is it expensive to live here, but the crime has become awful. I’m looking to decelerate, and be closer to my brother and his family. This will mean moving away from the vast majority of my friends, but that’s what email, phone and Facebook are for. I can’t wait to see my little albatross of a fixer-upper house and find a nice apartment to dwell in. No maintenance, and no extra expenses. No shoveling snow or worry that my sidewalk is too icy for the mail man. I want to decelerate in my life so I can stop and smell the roses, and that means moving myself into a position where there is less to worry about.

The good news is that this job I took has offices in Grand Forks, and there will be potential to transfer! I can transfer with the Big Red Box Store too. I feel like I’ve taken the first baby step into my future by accepting this new job.

Here’s the better news: My Flirt wants to go with me! Moving to Grand Forks means he will be that much closer to family and friends as well. We will be kind of in the middle of everyone, which is a good thing.

Moving away has become the new thing I hang on to every day. It’s the thing that motivates me, and helps me get my priorities straight. I’ve got a long road between here and there, but I’ll make it.

Here’s to hoping that you have a lovely and prosperous 2015, and that you can decelerate (or accelerate) to a speed of life that makes you happy. Happy New Year!

Rules for replying to posts that make you mad


Today, I was shocked and dismayed to discover that one of the blogs I frequent has been attacked by another blogger in a fit of self-righteous indignation. I’m not going to rehash the whole scenario, as you can find it HERE, but let’s just say that the other blogger blew things way out of proportion, and then stated that she was ready to tweet her displeasure about this blog post and see what the internet had to say about it. In other words, she was mad and wanted the rest of the internet to be mad too.

The thing that is interesting to me about this is that the other blogger more or less accused my blog friend of  the crime of bullying/intolerance (which is, by the way, incorrect), and then turned around and became the bully herself.

Really?  Are we not adults here? What is the point in becoming the thing you accuse others of?

As I have a history of flying off the handle before really thinking about something before I respond to it, I’ve had to employ some measures to make sure that I am not one of those people who just blurts out whatever my attitude is on a subject. I’ve really tried to work at giving thoughtful replies to things that have been less than pleasing to me, if I reply at all. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. When you read something that really pisses you off, first thing you need to do is re-read the article to make sure you did understand it correctly the first time. Read it not just for the raw information, but for intent and correct context. Go back and read other posts by the same blogger to get an understanding of them. Don’t just judge on one post.

2. Make sure you have your facts straight. Do you research. This has saved me from making an ass of myself more than once.

3. Once you’ve made completely sure that you understand the topic well, then decide if you are going to reply. Don’t post a reply just because you can.

4. If you are still angry, leave it overnight. Most blogs don’t disappear into thin air… It will still be there in the morning. If it does disappear, then problem solved and no comment needed.

5. If you’ve left it lay over night, and you still feel the need to post a reply, make sure you use your manners. Just because someone has said something you find incorrect or infuriating doesn’t mean you get to be a bully about it. You will not win an argument by brute force.

6. Simply make a short well thought out statement and leave it at that. However, if you have the opportunity to engage in a thoughtful dialog with someone about the topic, go for it.

7. Treat everyone with the respect and dignity you expect to be treated with. In short, don’t be a dick. Yes, I said it, and I mean it. While we are all entitled to our opinions and have the freedom to express them, being a dick about it buys you nothing but a bad reputation, hard feelings and more drama than you need.

That’s all I have to say about that. If I missed anything that might be a good addition to the list, please feel free to post it.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for


I am a mother of two boys, ages 17 and 15. If I’ve learned anything in the last 17 years, it’s that kids are smart and they will flog you with their unwavering curiosity and intelligence at every opportunity.

What prompts me to write about this today are two blog postings I read concerning people saying things deemed inappropriate for polite consumption. The first, called A One Armed Stripper Ruined my Lunch, talks about a woman who was trying to have a nice lunch with her kids, when the people sitting next to them began to talk about strippers and all manner of topics related, and her reaction to it.  The second one entitled Feel Free To Swear Around My Children, is a differing view on how to react when situations like the one-armed stripper conversation occur.  I encourage you to read them both, as both have valid points. Not that I want to take sides, as I’ve certainly found myself in similar situations as described in both of these blog posts, but I think I have to say that I agree with the 2nd one more.

Several years ago I won tickets to a Vikings game and so the four of us (before I divorced) went to Minneapolis for a night and to watch the game. Of course, the seats were three rows from the top, and so I found it more entertaining to watch the people around me and visit with my family. After half time, two drunk guys came in and sat down directly behind us… and then the F-Bomb-a-polooza began in earnest.  Generally speaking, I try not to eaves drop on other people’s conversations, and if others want to swear that’s their business. However, when you are packed in together like sardines and the F-Bombs are flying free and fiercely into my ears and the ears of my (at the time) young kids from directly behind our heads, I just couldn’t keep it to myself. The conversation with the guy behind me went something like this:

Drunken Idiot: “Blah, blah, f**ker, blah, blahbity blah. F**k that, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, can you f**king believe that?  You’re f**king right, blah, blah, blah… “ (you get the picture)

Me: (I turned around and looked him in the eye) “Sir, I hate to bother you, but could you please tone down the F-bombs? My kids are sitting right in front of you, and hearing everything you’re saying.”

Drunken Idiot: (His eyes got big and round) “Oh my god, ma’am. I’m so sorry. I was so totally not paying attention. Yes, I will stop that right now.”

Me: (Smiling…his embarrassment was gratifying) “Thanks a bunch, we appreciate it!”

So, we continued to watch the ants, er, players run around on the field and the conversation behind us became less of a distraction. Until he slipped, and then things got funny. His getting the hiccups made it even funnier. It went something like this:

Drunken Idiot: Blah, blah, (hiccup) f**king bastard. (he leans closer, addressing me) OOPS! Sorry about that (hiccup)!  Blah, blah, blah…(hiccup) yadda, yadda, yadda. Yackity, yack. Blah, blah blabbity blah, you’re f**king right! OOPS! (hiccup. He leans into my ear again) Oh crap, Ma’am…sorry about that…my bad!”

Needless to say the kids and I just about wet our pants trying not to laugh at the guy. I have to give him credit for at least trying! The point here is that if someone is being offensive, it’s OK  to politely ask them to stop. If they don’t, at least your kids will know that you tried to do something about an offensive situation. At the very least they are watching to see how we adults react to things, whether we speak up about them or not, and they are soaking it all up like little sponges.

Another thing to consider are the questions children ask because they are naturally curious beings. If they weren’t curious enough to ask what most adults deem as embarrassing questions, they wouldn’t be normal.

A very important thing to know about children is that they know bullshit when they hear bullshit, and they will keep asking questions until they feel they have them all answered. If they ask you a direct question, it’s better to just give them a direct answer without any prevarication or squirming. It doesn’t mean you have to tell them everything, but at least a basic and direct response is due. Otherwise you run the risk of being interrogated, and the interrogation will most likely come loudly and in the presence of your grandmother, minister or boss. With your luck, probably all three at the same time.  All kids have an inboard BS-O-Meter, and when you start squirming, try to put them off or tell half-truths when they ask embarrassing questions, it starts pinging in the red zone. This will prompt more questions, each one more embarrassing than the last. Save yourself…just be honest the first time around.

You can fake out the BS-O-Meter sometimes, but the next person who has to answer that question you so successfully avoided will not appreciate it. One example of this is when my kids picked my mom to ask where babies come from. She promptly told them that babies are hatched under cabbage leaves in the garden. She successfully avoided an interrogation by looking them directly in the hairy eyeball and giving them her answer straight from the hip. Being as they were still so young (ages 4 & 6), they took it hook, line and sinker. Later that week when the boys notified me that babies are, in fact,  hatched under cabbage leaves which, of course, is the gospel “because Nana said so”, it was left to me to tell them where babies actually come from.  No explanation from me would break them from their misinformation. Luckily enough, at the time, there were a couple of different networks who constantly showed real birthing stories. So, I made it my business to keep the channel dialed to these kinds of shows and the boys then got an education about how babies are born.  I remember very clearly that Older Son was particularly disgusted with seeing the birthing process, and proclaimed loudly that was gross and he was NOT born like that.

Silly me. I should know that when kids have time to digest information other more insidious questions are then launched…very much like when you cut the head off of a Hydra, two more pop out to take its place. Next questions were, of course, “Why do babies come out of THERE instead of the belly button?” and “How did the baby get in there to begin with?!”

Oh well. Parenting is messy, and if we didn’t want to answer the hard questions we shouldn’t have signed up for the job. That’s what we get paid the big bucks for.

Uhm…yeah…big bucks. I guess I’ll have to quantify my rewards in something other than hard, cold cash! 😉

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑