Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Where You Water It

I think it is always easy to see another scenario, another situation, and compare it to ours. To wish or long for what others have, even to be jealous of elements of it. The grass must be greener over there, we tell ourselves. They must have it so much easier, so much better: "If only I had more time, more money, a better personality, the chance to be home, a better marriage, a better body, the chance to work a job I love"... insert jealous item here. But the thing is, that never really gets us anywhere. It leaves us feeling unhappy, discontent, and maybe even a little guilty. And we ultimately have changed nothing, other than suddenly feeling bad about the little plot of land we've been given, a beautiful plot with lots of potential. 

Last year, before we put 300 pounds of grass seed down at The Brim and prayed it wouldn't wash away, Aaron built and installed an irrigation system. We didn't have a building, no fancy getting ready room- heck, we didn't even have long term bathrooms yet. We definitely weren't offering everything other venues could offer at this point. But we had some poles, a dream, a story, and (hopefully) would have some nice grass. So we watered it like crazy. Each month, we pumped hundreds of dollars into keeping the ceremony space and tent area watered. And you know what? It grew. It grew, and it stayed green. We let other areas of our 16.6 acres go wild, but, where it mattered, we committed to making sure it stayed green. 

Now that I am a couple of months into my sabbatical, and we are in more of our "off-season" with The Brim, I've actually had a little time to breathe and a little time to reflect. And I've realized more and more, that it's true: the grass is greener where you water it. There are things about working full-time (outside of just the home) that I miss. I miss co-workers. I (strangely) miss dressing up and getting ready and feeling a little bit put together. I miss uninterrupted time to get work done and to use my brain in another way that doesn't involve making PBJs, corraling toddler breakdowns, and constantly folding loads of laundry. 

But on the other side, I sure don't miss other things. I don't miss grading essays. I don't miss having to get a kiddo up and ready and packed and to daycare before I even made it to school to start my day. I don't miss all the extra pumping, or missing my babies during the day. I don't miss feeling like I've ran a marathon even before 8 am. 

I can completely resonate with what we "miss", what we long for as a working mom, or as a stay at home mom, because I've now had my toes in a little bit of each. Quite honestly, y'all, there is always someone who wishes they had what you do now. If you are longing for what someone else has, there is probably another out there longing for what you have. But none of us, not a single one, has it all perfect- despite what Instagram may say. 

Although my stay at home experience is a bit different because I'm running our business from home at the same time, I see the loneliness that exists there. I see the longing to find value and worth in a society that often doesn't offer that to the mom who is home, completing the daily grind and keeping the home running. Who is tired of the never-ending cycle of dishes and laundry and cleaning the same messes. In comparison, I spent more time (3 years) as a working mom, and I remember the guilt I felt handing off my baby to someone else each day, how hard it was to drive away from a crying kiddo that I didn't really want to leave. How much I felt like I was missing out. 

People say the grass is always greener on the other side, but here's the thing: the grass is greener where you water it. I can choose to sit and think about what I no longer have (even though there are things I now have that I once longed for). OR, I can choose to think about how to water where I'm at now. How to make it the greenest and best that I can, making the most of my current plot of land.

So how do I do this? I am learning that it starts with self-reflection (hello, blog post and writing things down). It starts with realizing what makes me stressed and what makes me passive aggressive or upset- finding the root of that and figuring out how to re-frame my views on it. With a pandemic, a new baby, and a new business, it hasn't just been an easy breezy year (for anyone- many have had it much much worse). When I choose to recognize what keeps me mentally and emotionally at my best in my current world, my current field of grass, I start to advocate for and rearrange my routines to make it happen. I choose to turn my eyes away from someone else's grass and get out the hose to water my own. 

For me, personally, I have (HAVE) to work out basically every day or I am stressed out and short with people. So I will fit that in, whether that's waiting for Aaron to get home, seeing if I can find a friend or family member to pop by so I can sprint over to 9Round, or just running on the treadmill for even 20 minutes while both kids are napping. And though I don't often choose to do it, even working out after they've gone to bed or before they are up is worth it to me. And each time I choose to make this a priority, I open the spigot, and the sprinklers turn on. And the grass perks up. It's not perfect. But it's better.

Another thing that I'm finding works for me is reaching out to others for a little bit of help once a week with the kids. In my scenario, my mom and my mother in law are within 15 minutes of me, along with a couple of fabulous sister in laws and some very dear friends. It may not always be long, but having a couple of hours, or even a whole day to get things done for our business, our home, and myself is keeping me sane and helping me feel like I'm not having to neglect the kids, doing everything at once but none of it well. I recognize that not everyone is lucky enough to have family so close who can watch your kids without a price tag, but I would even consider finding another mama who is home that you could alternate dropping your kiddos with and getting a little time to yourself. Or, if it is a possibility and reality for you, maybe even paying someone once a week or part of a day so you can have a little time to get things done. The to-do list gets crossed off, you have a little time away, and you're a better mama when you're back with your kids again. And so, the sprinkler turns on. 

Lastly, I am trying to build in social time for myself- a major extrovert who can get a little crazy when I'm with only kids ages four and under all day. On the days I "work" without my kids, I try to build community with other wedding vendors. I try to be intentional about reaching out via text to friends, and Marco Polo has been a lifesaver lately because I can see and hear people and they can get back to me when it is convenient (and I can do the same with them). Although COVID has restricted some of the in-person possibilities, my best scenario would be having a park or play date with another mama at least once a week, and leaving the house at least once a day (even if it's just for a walk, a trip to the store, or even to fill our gas tank). These little "getaways" disrupt a long day at home and give me just a little bit of sanity. And each time I go on them, the water droplets start to rain down, giving me a little life and greening things up a bit. 

So the next time you start to compare, start to peek around and see who's got the greenest grass on the block, remember this. We are all in different seasons, different scenarios with different struggles and with different joys. What we have now could look much different in the blink of an eye. So rather than sadly looking at our brown blades of grass and wishing for more somewhere else, let's choose to do the work. Let's plant the seeds; let's put in the irrigation; let's do the work to see the beauty that our own situation possesses. Myself definitely included. Let's water our own grass, and be a part of helping others do the same. The grass is greener where you water it, and I'm striving to get the hose going this year and to do the best I can with what I've been given. Because it truly is a gift.