Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Support of Slacking

All winter long, I've planned my first ever kitchen garden. Tomatoes, of course. Basil. Garlic. Peppers. Maybe some melons. Except...I really don't want to plant a garden. Despite the fact that I am a huge fan and supporter of the local food movement, of eating fresh, whole foods, and of Michelle Obama, I just don't want to plant a garden. So I'm not going to.

This feels incredibly rebellious. Among my friends and acquaintances, not planting a garden appears to fall into the same category as giving your kid Coke for breakfast. Scandalous. If you have the space, you plant a garden. But I make pizza from scratch, I buy my meat from a local farm, and I eat more lentils than anyone I know, so I've decided to give myself a pass on the garden.

Contemplating my potential garden, I found myself longing for the kind of yard we had in our old city - big enough for the pugs and a few tomato plants in containers, but really best suited for sitting outside and sipping wine on summer evenings. Instead, we have an unwieldy half-acre, exactly the kind of yard that cries out for a garden and one of those expensive wooden swing sets. The swing set has never been a possibility (our yard isn't level enough), and now that I've embraced my anti-garden stance, it seems our little slice of suburbia will lie fallow. Sadly, it can't even be used for sipping wine on summer evenings. Too many mosquitoes.

That I would rather drink wine in my yard than grow zucchini suggests I probably would not have been well-suited to life as a pioneer woman, but also that I am not unique. Whether it's planting a garden, sending our kids out in matching clothes, or reading a newspaper every day, we all have something we just don't want to do that we nonetheless feel we ought to do. The truth is (and we all know this, just may not want to actually accept it), stay at home mom or working mom, kids or no kids, suburbs or city, none of us can do it all. What have you decided to give yourself a pass on? And if you haven't given yourself a pass on something yet, I hereby give you permission to do so - it feels wonderful!


  1. I'm not good at giving myself a pass on many things, but I like your thinking. I have a couple of neighbors who spend a lot of time in the summer on their joint garden, and they've asked if we want to help, thus reap tomatoes, squash, and the like. I just don't have the energy. My husband set up a lame garden that actually looks like a sandbox, so every kid in our yard decided it was for play. We got a few tomatoes by October last year. I have no idea what his "big dream" will be this summer.

  2. Giving myself a pass is actually something that I AM very good at. I'm almost embarassed to admit, but I do it, often, though not without guilt.

    That said, it takes us an entire day every week in the summer to deal with our yard. We have a big one because we live on a 5 acre piece of land. I can tell you that I feel that same pull for a small little plot that takes only moments to care for so that we can spend more time playing with our kids.

    You might be interested in today's post about the shoulds and wants of motherhood over at www.thehappiestmom.com. She talks about this in detail.