We were having grilled chicken, steamed green beans, and salad for dinner the other night when Speedracer came over and asked me to make some broccoli for him because he doesn’t like green beans or salad. Now, he’s not known for liking broccoli either! But while planting the garden a few weeks ago he told me that “this year I’m going to eat this broccoli” and I guess he meant it. Not wanting to waste the opportunity to get my 5-item-eater to add something to his picky palate, I handed him a knife and told him to go cut some from the garden and he could steam it for himself in the micro-cooker.
And friends–HE DID!
We’ve been planting a small garden his entire life. He’s helped (in some form or fashion) every year since he could walk. And he’s NEVER eaten any vegetable we’ve ever grown except lettuce. So I’m not about to suggest that growing their own food will turn all picky eaters around. But I will say that I think the cycle of work–reward–work–reward–work–reward might have finally gotten through to him and he wants a bite of those hard earned rewards for himself after all that sweat equity!
Which brings me to my post today.
Busy momma, tired momma, momma that wants all the good things for her children but feels totally overwhelmed by the Pinterest-beautiful world we live in–today I want to remind you that there’s nothing wrong with crooked rows!
Your backyard garden doesn’t have to look like the pages of BHG or Countryside Magazine. It doesn’t have to look like the Lowes commercials or the photoshopped cover of the latest crunchy-momma lifestyle book on Amazon.
It can be messy and still feed your family!
The plants can be a little too close together, weeds can be sprouting around the edges, the fence can be a little wobbly and the tomato cages a little rusty (or a lot rusty!)…and you’re still growing food.
Throughout our farming adventure, I have often let perfectionism defeat me and get the better of my gardening–Ok, ok, let’s be honest with each other. MY LIFE. I have often let perfectionism get in the way of my LIFE.
I’ve given up and let the weeds take over. They practically have anyway, right? A storm comes through and breaks my beautiful tomatoes and instead of binding and re-staking and letting them grow crooked, I just shrug and walk away. Squash bugs invade my patch and instead of doing battle with the little beasties and eking out what harvest we can, I groan about the disaster to my plans and let the whole patch whither.
But momma, there’s nothing wrong with crooked rows if it means your helpers enjoyed helping you!
There’s nothing wrong with a few weeds if it means you don’t dread heading out to the gardening chores.Who needs a Pinterest-perfect garden. You need love, laughter, FAMILY. There's nothing wrong with crooked rows! Click To Tweet
There’s nothing wrong with a few chew holes in the leaves if you still get a harvest.
And there’s nothing wrong with a small harvest if it means you spent hours working and learning together!
I read a quote once that said: The farm is ALWAYS bigger than the man. There’s just no point in which you’ve got a handle on everything and it’s all figured out and there’s not a project or pile of work to be done somewhere that you just can’t get to.
I think that’s life in general.
Motherhood and farming (and gardening for sure!) have taught me that it’s better to give yourself a big, heaping, higher-than-our-compost-pile, dose of GRACE than it is to just give in and give up.
Our kids are loving the gardening this year. (Minus a few misadventures in the mud!) And I think that’s partly because I’ve finally loosened up on my “vision” for the garden and am enjoying it too. I’m letting them be involved from start to finish. I’m letting them help make decisions, use the tools without constant direction, and letting them carry out the directions without constant correction.
Because the goal is not perfectly straight, perfectly weeded, perfectly mulched rows.
The goal is food and family.
The goal is learning and growing.
The goal is smiles. From all of us.
Are you struggling with letting go, and letting them grow? I know I do! I’m learning that given the right technique, they’ll grow into the matching skills eventually. In the meantime, honest effort is what we’re striving for.
Be sure to take a look at our Tips for Success in the Family Garden and Letting Kids into Every Step of the Garden for more ideas and inspiration. And sign up for our newsletter to get a FREE copy of our Family Garden Planting Worksheet for your own family garden planning!