Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is The Grass Really Greener on The Other Side?

Ok, since I translate my life into motherhood here's another lesson I'd like to teach my kids and since my love of words and metaphors is overwhelming me right now I just have to go with it: If you think the grass is always greener on the other side, it's because you've stopped tending your own lawn.  You will always think that someone has something bigger and better than what you have and the bottom line is if you want to really be happy in life than stop envying what others have and focus on what you have. 

Here's what I've learned in my 30 years so far.  When you start paying so close attention to what others have you start measuring and translating your life and your happiness in terms of what it is not.  Does anyone ever find happiness by trying to gage what one does not have that others do? 

I can honestly say that my life has not been a bed of roses.  I've been through some dark and trying times, but I'd like to think that I have learned how to see through these periods in life to the brighter side that lies beyond.  At some point, I hope my children do as I did and ask themselves this key question - What is it that I truly need to make me happy?  I hope they think long and hard about this question.  I hope to be the buzzer that sounds in their head if what comes to mind is a possession or a dollar amount.  If this is what jumps to their minds, then unfortunately the grass will always be greener on the other side.  There will always be someone whose possessions and income are more enviable. 

Three years ago, I was an individual.  The only person I had to dream for was me.  Now I'm a mom.  If you don't have kids, I'm not sure you understand what it means to have your whole life change in ways you never expected.  It made me really re-evaluate what I wanted out of life.  I don't know if I really wanted to move up the corporate ladder, rub shoulders with those in positions I coveted and make allies among the other "young professionals" whose goals were the same.  Every time I get approached by these "young professional" organizations now to join and participate in whatever "career development" program they're offering I kind of smile inside.  It's not because I don't agree with what they are doing.  It's because they don't see it in me.  Sometimes I think everything about me is so clear.  I'm the living cliche of someone who wears their heart on their sleeve so I sometimes forget that not everything I am is so transparent.

I'm a mom I tell them.  Then I get this blank stare.  I say this by way of explanation, as in I don't have time for extra curricular activities.  I have a job and I have a family so that leaves um virtually no time for anything else.  At this juncture in my life, I don't know if I will ever want to be on the career development, upwardly mobile path.  I know that's what people think I'm supposed to want.  But that's where my handy dandy philosophy comes in, I CHOOSE what I want and three years ago I CHOSE to become a mom.  After I lost my first baby, I realized that it's a choice people sometimes take for granted.  As if it is always there; an easy option that will be waiting for them whenever they decide the time is right.  I'm not saying its a bad thing to be career oriented, to be ambitious, but I would just like to make sure that my children stop, take a second and ask themselves "What is it that I need to make me happy?"

I have asked myself this question on several occasions.  The answer keeps coming back the same.  I need my family to make me happy.  When my daughter was born, I couldn't bare the thought of leaving her in daycare and then I got a call that would actually start me on a new path.  It was my grandmother who inadvertently and painfully reminded me of the many more options I have in my life than she did.  So I sat down and asked the question and thus hatched my job share plan.  I work part-time now and yes my bank account is pretty sad on any given day and yes I haven't had my hair cut in at least six months, but I have seen my kids first steps, heard their first words, and even on days where the temper tantrums of my three-year-old infuriate me and my son is being so needy that I can't get a square inch of air to call my own, I don't feel anything but happiness when I think of my life.  I have what I need and that makes me happy.  Would I like to go on a fancy vacation this year, buy a bigger house, have more money in my bank account?  ABSOLUTELY.  But I know that I am NOT willing to have time with my family be the sacrifice I make for it.  That is just me.  That was the answer to my question.  I hope they know that they, along with my husband, are what I need to be happy.

I hope that one day they know that the grass is only greener on the other side if you've stopped tending your own lawn.  So Hannah and Jayden if you read this one day, do your mom a favor.  After you've thought long and hard about what you need to make you happy, get up and go get it.  You will be amazed, trust me, at how very possible your dreams are.