ohdeardrea header
home button food button home button “natural “travel “advertise “cookbook

Yard Work

I've always hated not working. I always seem to fall into some sort of boredom depression. I think it's why I try to take on so much, so much of the time. If I'm not doing more, then what use am I? How much am I worth if I let my own time be wasted and offer nothing to anyone? You know? I started working when I could, at 15 or so. After school, I walked the half mile or so to work, did one 5 or 6 hour shift, and got a ride home. This continued through high school. And through college. I don't think my parents really ever pressured me to work, but I do think, my first job was more of a "hey, you want a nice car? start working and saving up money" sort of deal--- well okay pops, no problem. In college, there was no pressure for me to work. My parents expected me to learn, and nothing else, but a week into my freshman year , I walked into the cutest candy/gelato shop, and was offered a job. Every weekend and a few days a week, I would get to sit at a counter, eating all the candy I wanted, studying, watching movies on my laptop and whatever else, making 15$ bucks an hour. Sold. After college, I went in and out of bouts of depression, and now, looking back, it was almost always correlated with how much I was working or how much free time I had. There was a few month period where I had nothing. I lived in a shitty place, working little to none, watching the hours go slowly go by, and I was miserable. The less I worked, the sadder I became. The sadder I became, the more difficult it grew to step outside and change the circle I created. I moved to Florida, rented out an apartment from my dad and started working for him. I love my dad, but his business, was not for me, and within a week, I found myself another job. I worked a lot, but I enjoyed it. Not long after, I made the move to Miami. I wanted to go back to school, I wanted to study nutrition. I worked, conveniently enough, managing a health food store, for a few months. The living situation Laura and I (we moved down together, to both go back to school, with a few other people) were living in went from bad to worse. She left. I stayed until I could bear no more. It seemed that in a period of two weeks, I lost more than I wanted to lose, and was left with very little: no job, no proper housing situation, and really, not any close friends in Miami. My stubbornness, my denial to my situational boredom sadness, and whatever else, (there are so many gaps in between this story) held me off for a very long time, but finally it came to a point, where I broke down, and asked my family, for the first time in year and years, for support again. In no time at all, my dad came down, drove up and down the different towns, and found my the tiniest, quaint, and (omg) purple (I despise purple) apartment--- and when I say "apartment",  I mean a bed, and a Marlowe sized stove and shower--- pretty much the perfect size for me and dirty jerry. (It was small place, attached to a home of an elderly couple. The gave me permission to use their backyard, and I did. And came out of the place basically creating a tiny tomato farm for them.) I was back in school, living alone, and no amount of pride or stubbornness, could change the fact that my dad was helping me again. I got pregnant here, in this situation. In school, with a boyfriend of one or two years or so, in a mostly okay, but sometimes miserable state of mind. I finished off my semester and moved back to West Palm. I tried to get a few jobs, but to no ones surprise, the job market is not booming for a pregnant girl. My parents made it very clear, that they would support me through anything. When I cried of guilt and resentment to my mom, she told me, some people have partners to help pay their bills, to give them emotional and physical support, and help love and raise their children, and just because I didn't, didn't mean that I or Marlowe would have miss out on anything or suffer. They would offer what they could give, because my happiness, and their future granddaughters, is what matters. And I stayed home. I did what they wanted me to do-- what I was so lucky to be given, a chance to raise my daughter---to be with my newborn-- to raise her the way she deserved to be raised, just like she would in a better family situation. Just because I didn't have the mother-father/husband-wife support to offer, didn't mean there would need to be worries of daycare and juggling everything by myself--- not yet, not right away, not when I needed it the most. Alex came and left. Within the week, I found a job. From the outside, maybe a slightly ridiculous job, but from the inside, a really well paying (I left some days making easily 24+ bucks an hour), flexible job, that gave me a tremendous opportunity to spend a few hours of still-lighted outdoor sunshine with my daughter. I busted ass doing everything. Working, raising my daughter, putting healthy full meals on the (coffee) table, keeping my house beautiful, sewing on the side, blogging every night, and having one night a week--- completely to myself when Marlowe was with Alex. It was a perfect, crazy, but welcomed balance. 
Here I am again. In a new (less expensive, and more amazing) space, and working from home. Except now, Alex is here, really here. Physically, no, not so much. His job hasn't changed from last time-- he still works 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, so this keeping up with everything around here thing, its still very much my gig and my responsibility. If I'm being completely honest, part of me still resented the fact that a career outside of the house for me, isn't at all an easy option, with the career path he chose. When I ask for time and help, I can't have it. I gave up fighting that battle, because its not worth it. A time will come where I will have more time to myself, when she will be grown up, and I can chase those dreams, but for now, I have to be okay with this working/not working/career dynamic we have in this household. And not just okay, but I have (had) to find a way to make it work for everyone. And I have. And I have options. But now, for the first time... (EVER?) I think I'm going to choose the road with more acceptance, less self pressure, and more indulgent self satisfaction. I've had a few great opportunities come up, some I sadly (or so very sadly) turned down. And this current opportunity in front of me, while it might be a great one, I think I'm turning it down too. I'm going to take a moment, and feel okay, satisfied, and happy in the fact that I can take advantage of this shared space. The pressure I put on myself, it's lessoned. It's less challenging with two incomes and shared responsibility. I feel no shame in being able to say it's easier, and I'm going to enjoy it.
Patience is not my strong suite, but luckily for me, stubbornness can get me very far. This is something I learned, when I was 7 months pregnant, carrying a crib mattress, on my chest, across Babies R Us, up to the cashier, out the door, and loading it into my car, by myself. I thought, well crap, maybe my arms can hold more weight than I thought. If I can do this, I'll assume I can do anything. (That's a safe assumption, right?) 
I grew tired of waiting for season to end, for Alex to be around more, for help in the backyard. I called my dad and asked him to please drop off yard tools. The next afternoon, Marlowe and I went outside, and I ripped out our dead or dying trees like I never thought I would or could by myself. After a few hours, covered in dirt, sun, and sweat, I stepped back, looked at the work I had just finished-- the piles and piles of trees that once lined my fence, now laying on the ground, and I felt an incredibly immense sense of pride and accomplishment. I did that. By myself. That felt good. The next day, Marlowe and I went out again, and I began ripping at the roots I missed, grabbing piles of leaves, branches, and dirt and moving them across the yard. As I pulled out weeds, I showed Marlowe bugs, centipedes, snails, and snakes, and she protected them from Jerry. I cleared the space. I stepped back, and again, it felt good. I had done something good for my home, for my daughter, and for mental and physical self. Instant gratification.
So now, finally, for the first time, I'm okay with not taking every extra option in front of me to bring extra income to this table, because at this very moment, I don't need to, because what I'm offering is enough. And instead, I want to put that extra time into my kid, my family, and this home. Of course, not forever, ohhh, certainly not forever, because the stay-at-home mom life is just too hard for me--- requiring a completely different kind of strength---and realistically, probably not even for very long at all, but at least for a little while... because at this moment, the work and satisfaction it brings to make our shared space beautiful, is worth it. 
I'm crossing my fingers for nice weather tomorrow, because tomorrow, that stack of branches needs to be pulled out from the back, to the front, and onto the curb... and we know, those branches aren't going to move themselves--- and well, I love Marlowe, but let's keep it real: getting tough and dirty? She's a bit too small and girly for that.


**please note that in every single picture, Marlowe has a different pair of shoes. She demanded an outfit change every 20 minutes, because her clothes were dirty. 

43 comments:

  1. I love this post so much. Strength, recognition and understanding. What a great place you're in.

    Bettina
    www.littleoldsouls.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can just imagine how good that would feel right now, to work in a yard and see your progress every step of the way. I don't know if it's just me but when I'm doing tasks like that is really when I think about things the most and usually find peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YEs, especially outside in beautiful weather! It's a great place to feel it :)

      Delete
  3. this is such an awesome beautiful, grabbing onto life post. listen to your soul & to your heart. follow your path as no one else can truly live it for you. I love gardening and i am like you -love tearing stuff up to make it into something new. something better. watching it grow & blossom. this. was. a great. post. good for you to write it & put it all out there. xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. An amazing post Drea, thank you for sharing, you are so very inspirational. I just know that your garden will be beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so! I've never had a large garden, mostly a few small-medium raised beds, but I'm looking forward to it!

      Delete
  5. you are amazing! a true inspiration!

    Galia
    www.thisboyofmine.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. The yard looks great. You are a strong, inspiring women. I think it is great you are learning to give yourself a break sometimes. Enjoy this one, beautiful life.

    ReplyDelete
  7. top photo = favorite photo of you EVER. such a badass.

    ReplyDelete
  8. i can definitely relate to the need to have a job, something to do, a rhythm to keep dreariness away. can't wait to see what comes next in the backyard!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love every single thing about this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Argh, Blogger ate my first long-ass comment! To recap: That first photo of you, Marlowe and Jerry is awesome and should probably be hanging on a wall somewhere.

    In my life there's always been a lot of internal and some external pressure to work. Since 15 I've always had at least one job, usually two, with the exception of my first two months of college. I was so bored with "just focusing on learning" as my folks encouraged me to do that I had to get a job. But now, 7 years out of college, I see it's gotten me nowhere. I'm at a dead end in my current field. I can keep doing the same work, every day, facing the same mind-numbing frustrations, for as many years as I'd like, but ... I dream of a chance to do more of what I want and less desperate scrabbling for income. But my partner is one-third of a startup and my income is the primary one right now so it's just not an option.

    The point being ... there is no one right way to do life. Every family is different. If you are able right now to relax into the freedom two incomes affords, and focus more of your energies on your family and home ... from someone who longs to do just that ... ENJOY!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love being busy. We are mad.
    Great looking space Drea - can't wait to see it transform over the coming months xxx

    ReplyDelete
  12. oh i know those patterns very well. i still struggle with the fact that i don't earn a paycheck. something i started doing also at the age of 15. it's all a matter of perspective and acceptance. i just wrote about it the other day. also, M and Lily are too alike in the sense that they don't really like to get too dirty. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can we hang out soon? Girls day? M has a tutu now too. They can twirl we can..... twirl too?

      Delete
  13. Damn, woman, I am impressed with your tree uprooting skills. :)
    Yard work can be so empowering and so can working for yourself, for no money, just satisfaction. Money and satisfaction are not one and the same, let me tell you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love the shoe change! Looking great, I remember the satisfaction of pulling out my first dead tree. #supermama!!!
    madison!:)
    www.foreverroomies.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love your post, my life is somewhat the same but not really, our children are the same is age and there are other things like always working and depending on people etc. I have been married for 7 going on 8 years and my husband is an sucessful painter and I have to share him with his studio. That doesnt give me to much time for him to do things around the house that I want him to do but like you I have come to the decision that instead of be mad and angry at him I have now just learned to accept it and I am going to do it myself. I am used to my dad doind everything manly when ever need at the dop of the hat, that is the kind of dad I have, but trust me it comes at a price but that is a whole other story. (my dad has ptsd) So I applaude you and your strength. I know people love to judge other peoples relationships and make comments but at the end of the day as long as mama happy baby will be happy and so will be the home. much love D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah my dad is very much the "do it yourself" kind of dad. HE does things at his own pace though... so sometimes I ask for help with something like a toilet or something and he'll show up in three seconds, other times three days. But he's def the "if you can do it yourself, why pay someone" type.... so I'm doing it... myself haha. We're tough mamas, with lots of strength. We can just run the show, without them, right? :)

      Delete
  16. i think you are amazing. :) i also think us young mothers struggle with a lot of the same things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha, well now at 28 years old, I think I hardly qualify as a young mother, but thank you :)

      Delete
  17. I love these deeply honest posts when you turn your blog into your diary or journal. I think it's great you have discovered what works for you--working. I can relate to that. I always have goals, and if I'm not working towards them I feel lost and anxious.

    The yard looks great! Scott was gone Saturday and I did some work in our yard. I was feeling pretty cool for using the big shovel and uprooting some Pentas (a pretty small shrub/flower thing) until I checked out this post. You're badass! You took down trees! (and then some) Nice job!

    ReplyDelete
  18. that first picture is amazing! love your thoughts, you have a great way of writing everything down in a clear & relatable way! X www.dippedinyellow.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. i love reading these honest posts. it's also nice to meet other woman who live in similar situations. i'll admit, i don't often open up on my blog as often as i should. partly i suppose is because family, friends and customers of the restaurant read my blog so i feel i can't always be open. the food industry is tough. i hardly see jon. i've given up asking for help. there was a point in time when i was bitter. now, i accept it for what it is. you make it work. i appreciate jon and his hard work and dedication to the business, but i also make sure he understands how hard i work because i feel we work equally hard.
    ok, speaking of yards, i thought i had a lot to tackle at the new house. dang girl, you are conquering that yard. that's awesome. i'm in the middle of sketching and drawing out my plans for the garden. let me know if you want to chat garden talk ;) i would love to hear what you're doing.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The food industry leaves no room for family life. AT. ALL. I think the only saving grace can be (sometimes) in having a place of your own, like you guys. Helps to make it more of a family place, where your kids and spouse is welcome. Alex's place? No family awareness whatsoever.
      When are you coming south?

      Delete
  20. Replies
    1. After I finished the yard work (and fed and bathed my kid, and cleaned up house) I wrote on my to do list "Be bad ass" then crossed it out. (really).

      Delete
  21. Seriously - I think our (women's) need to "stay busy" is one of those crazy, ridiculous things that's been imbedded in us since the beginning of time. Women who enjoy to just be in the moment, take naps, have fun with their family, only take on what they feel comfortable with vs. the entire world, etc. have always been looked down on by society. So we've been conditioned to take on loads upon loads. Love that you're taking time to just be.

    Also, I adore all of Marlowe's outfit changes. Haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll see how long it lasts. I think it's just genetically embedded in me to do more and more. At 10 years old, I was awake at 2 am organizing my things. haha.

      Delete
  22. You are such an inspiration! You're a great mom and doing an amazing job in everything you do. I enjoy these posts.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You are a wonderful mom just like Samantha said. No lie there. Also, great pictures!

    Teed
    www.bugaboobeeplusreview.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey Marlow,

    Do you know how rockin your mama is? She is really rockin. Like the bomb. I LOVE reading her posts cause, lets face it, you are so darn cute, AND she has such amazing strength. Not the lift huge weights and sumo wrestle type (although I am sure she would give it a right go) but inner strength. The kind you will come to admire and hopefully possess yourself through great genes and amazing example. Your mum, from across the ocean can fill me with inspiration, make me laugh and cry in recognition, and cause me to gush all over the net in comment boxes. She is a powerful force. You are so very very lucky to have such a great and amazing mama. I hope you grow up to find the same strength of character and spirit.

    love from someone from across the ocean. x

    ReplyDelete
  25. i read these baby blogs because they usually depict the beautiful side of being a mom. they are my emotional lifters when i get down or things get hard in my own home. i've followed your blog for sometime now and although you have shared some hard and sensitive moments in your life, your pictures always portray a loving, bright family life minus a papa. i just want to thank you for sharing your struggles especially this post because although our individual struggles may be different, we all have them and it's comforting to know that. wishing you and all mamas out there the very best.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I had my boy when I was like that too..living off my parents and still a student. I also felt guilty and remorseful when I was pregnant. Your post kinda reminded me of the past. But that's the past and everything is better for all of us now. You're a great mum to Marlowe, and I hope you'll feel better soon. Don't be too upset or too hard on yourself, as long as your girl is happy, safe and healthy, everything else doesn't really matter.

    Stay strong and all the best. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. you write so beautifully and have so much to say and i read it all, but then i have so much to say back, i get tongue-tied and nothing sounds right. can't you just come over for tea so we can chat? anyway, the first photo should be framed. it's perfect and beautiful. also, i come from the same sort of roots as you - you want a car? get a job. you want spending money for clothes? get a job. so i did. at 15, as well. i worked at a family owned restaurant in my small town. it was fun. i learned a lot. and never had to ask to borrow mama's money. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am so like this as well. I take on a lot because I get that same boredom blues!!! But I just read your daycare post about not sure whether or not to pull her from daycare. I see that you did. I am at this same cross roads right now. i work 3 days a week and my income is literally paying for her school and medical bills….but I don't want to take her out because she loves it and because I love work…such a hard call. I love reading your blog. We are so alike and so different in many ways. Gives me a different perspective on things.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Some how I just stumbled upon this post. I love it. I feel like I relate to it in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your heart. Its so encouraging and beautiful to find community with people who understand. I am in that same boat. Young babes and a hubby that works ALL THE TIME. But, someday when my boys are older I will pour that passion out into work, but right now, I am pouring that passion out into my boys. And I get to do that, I should see it as a blessing rather than upset that I don't have that same option.

    ReplyDelete