I had a little garden plot. I bought organic seeds and little tools and set out to teach my son, who would rather be watching tv and eating noodles, about nature. Deep down I probably thought this would be a good opportunity to prove my worth as a mother. I do not knit, I do not sew, I don’t cook dinner every night, I don’t do any of those things that my other mama friends do. I feel like I don’t measure up, and we all know motherhood can be quite the competition. I just wanted to be good at growing something, because I don’t think I am. I didn’t even grow my own child properly, he was early, a tiny little undercooked baby boy, literally cut out of me, because my body couldn’t handle being pregnant anymore. Surely, I could handle a garden.
The thing about having your own child is that they are often very similar to you, whether you like it or not. My son liked going to the store to buy the seeds because like me, he loves shopping. But the dirt digging, the bugs, the worms, the hot sun beating down on his little body? Not so much. I too must admit that I hated it. Not fun, my friends, not fun at all. I told myself that all over the world women work the land, growing crops for their families, tending the Earth, with their kids in tow. I could do this. My son would love it. I would finally have something to talk about in mommy group (I usually just sit around reading Cosmo), while the women knit, nurse babies and talking about their peaceful home births.
I am not one of those mothers. But I want to be. Sometimes. But I want to have better clothes. And shoes.
This morning, I went to my garden. It’s been raining, a tornado or two has passed through my state, my son is on vacation, I have two jobs and two summer school classes and an active social life; all reasons I use for not going to my garden regularly, and it shows. My little seeds have grown, but so has the grass and it’s hard to tell which parts are weeds and which is the plants. So I just left it, all of it, and went back home. All the other gardens are beautiful, the corn stalks are growing, little flowers are blooming, white picket fences are up, and there are no weeds. Someone threw a plastic soda bottle in my garden and I didn’t even pick it up. I just don’t see the point anymore.
And then I realized this: I am not a gardener. I am not like the other mothers. And I have a debit card. I can buy whatever the fuck I want, when I want, and I can keep my toes clean and my kid entertained in the grocery store. I do not knit, I take my buttons to the cleaners to get mended, and I hate digging in the dirt. I’d rather take my kid to shows, the mall, and on airplanes. He prefers to sit around reading magazines and eating cookies and noodles for dinner too. We can play video games for hours, in the house, where there’s a fan, and cold soda to drink. We are city people. Our carrots come in a bag with a twisty tie on them.
I’m a quitter. If things are not going the way I want them to, I am not going to use up all my energy and time trying to make it fit with my life when it simply won’t. That’s not the way my brain operates. Life is too short to be unhappy in situations that you can change. And so as soon as I am done with this blog, I am turning in my tools and letting my apartment managers know that I am done gardening and am going to pay the fine for not weeding my garden at the end of the season. I have two jobs; I can afford the fine. I refuse to be miserable doing something that I hate just to prove a point, to myself, and to my son, who is four states away. He just got a Nintendo DS and honestly doesn’t give a shit about vegetables; he doesn’t even eat them anyway. And I am going to be happy all day, working, climbing the corporate ladder in baby blue high heels and a city-girl skirt, eating perfectly cut baby carrots out of a Ziploc bag in my cubicle, with the AC on. Point proven. Nails clean. Guilt gone. And while I am not going to win any awards for being Minnesota's most natural mother, I am doing what feels natural to me--not gardening.