Sweet Mama, the grass isn’t greener on the other side.
I know it looks that way.
Sometimes it’s literally your neighbor’s yard that’s greener. Beautiful landscaping, gorgeous roses blooming, a giant playset that isn’t sunbleached or made of cracked plastic like your own.
The grass isn’t greener on the other side.
We all know that our mindless social media scrolling leads us to the comparison trap. It’s vicious really: we just want to zone out for a few minutes, numb ourselves to our boredom or frustration or impatience, and BAM! We are smacked in the face by a gorgeous kitchen reno or a seemingly overnight success story or a row of perfectly dressed smiling siblings. And there it is: jealousy…guilt…shame. Why does she get a kitchen like that? Why can’t my business be successful like that? Why won’t my kids freaking sit still? What am I doing wrong?
I saw a quote recently that said something like, “The grass is greener on the other side because it’s turf.” Meaning, the grass is fake. It’s a mirage, a lie. In my more petty moments, I tend to believe that. I want to yell it at my phone, toss my hair and go about my day. But the truth is, sometimes the grass is fake…and sometimes it’s been fertilized and cultivated and grown into the gorgeous green carpet you see. Meaning: people put in the work.
Put in the work
The thing about mindlessly scrolling our phones is that we are (passively) trying to escape our current reality. But we’re running from our real lives into free space but into our own actual fear. Our brain is interpreting the images we’re viewing (posted by both friends and by influencers) as not just “kitchen reno” or “children smiling” but as perceived failures on our part. We feel like the grass is greener on the other side, anywhere but here.
Momma, that’s a lie. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.
Invest your energy in your business. Invest your creativity in your home. Invest your time in your marriage. Invest your compassion in your neighborhood. Invest your kindness in your children. One of the biggest mistakes I made over the years was assuming things would just “work out,” and everything would work out the way I wanted. But I needed to be a part of the growth.
Participate in the growth
Here’s an example. When the pandemic began, the mothers group I had been a part of stopped meeting. Due to changes in leadership and the ongoing uncertainty, the group has remained dormant. After several months, I was desperate for community. I needed something. My church didn’t offer anything like that, and I looked around online with no avail. I missed my old group and the even previous MOPS ministry I’d attended before we moved. I felt myself grumbling and wishing things were different. I eventually called the Family Pastor at our church to ask her if the church could start a moms’ group. I could help out occasionally, I thought. She flipped my idea on its head and said, “Sure. Why don’t you lead it?”
Lead it? The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it. I’ve been leading a virtual mom’s group at our church since September. We meet regularly on Zoom, usually in our pajamas, with no pretty table decor or fun snacks. We don’t have a catchy name and our group has a different makeup of women every week, but we do have is real conversation and deep connection.
The grass is greener where you water it.
What is it that you feel like is “less than” in your life?
Do you feel like your discipline is totally missing the mark? Maybe try a parenting book or an online course.
Water the grass.
Wishing you had more time to connect with your partner? Schedule five minutes every night, no screens, and ask each other one question. Or save it all up for a half hour block on Sunday nights for face-to-face conversation.
Water the grass.
Feeling like your weight is getting out of control? Take a ten minute walk around the block. That’s it. Make a plan to take another walk later this week. You don’t need an app or a big piece of exercise equipment. Any step in the right direction is progress.
Water the grass.
The grass may look greener in another woman’s life. Maybe it’s fake or maybe she worked pretty damn hard to make it that way. Either way, water your own grass, Mama. You’re the one living with it.