Life Lessons from the Lawn Mower

I love to cut the grass. Okay, so I just started taking on the chore, but I’ve been swept off my feet. You see, I am a stay-at-home mother of three. I feel like I run around all day trying to get organized only to crawl into bed with just as many toys on the floor and just as big a stack of dishes in the sink as there was in the morning. There’s a perfect quote that reflects this honestly, that says, “Picking up after your children when they are home, is like shoveling when it is still snowing.” Well, it doesn’t show signs of stopping, “So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Mowing the grass on the other hand, brings a satisfaction that has eluded me in my days of endless wash loads and messy floors. Once the grass is cut, it stays cut, at least for a few days. My nice rows shout so sweetly of organization and accomplishment, that it’s hard not to stand in the street and admire my work. With grass, there’s not a chance that two minutes from when that final blade is trimmed, that fifty blades will spring back up by accident. When it’s done, it’s done.

On the other hand, most of what consumes my productive days is barely noticeable. The dishes are never done, the garages are always full, and vacuuming is a literal necessity daily in our home. Even after a big grocery trip, I always come home to realize there’s one thing we need. So how is it possible to live a satisfied and accomplished life filled with work that never seems to get “done”?

First, you organize every room so that it’s as functional as it can be, and as easy to clean for the kids, as it is you. And second of all, you just let it go. The car will always need gas, the milk will spill, dinner will need to be made and the dog will not stop shedding (you could get rid of the dog, but then there’s a LOT more food on your floor). Our days are filled with the things that just never “get done”. If all we do is look forward to the end of things, we will miss the gifts of the moment. I know this is such a cliché thing to say, but it is true. I haven’t gotten the hand smears off my front door in months, because I’d rather stand at that door making them, and laughing and waving with a little heart that doesn’t care that the glass is barely transparent anymore. And emptying the dishwasher with my daughter may take a lot longer, but she is learning to take on responsibility. Sure, bedtime was 10 minutes later than usual, but instead of me rushing through it, we turned a menial task into an opportunity to talk and work together.

I don’t like cleaning toilets any more now than I did when I thought my house had to perfect. No, seizing the day instead of seizing the scrub brush doesn’t make the chores that eventually do need to get done any more enticing. The reality is, that the house really never will be perfect. Accepting this allows me instead to look who I am doing these tasks for, and not just for the end result of organized bliss. My friends and my family (even the dog), need a present person, who is with them, mind and body, more than they need a pantry with labeled glass jars.

So cut that grass, and roll that lawn mower into the garage with a shot of unadulterated satisfaction. But then remember, you still need to weed wack, pull the weeds and trim the hedges. But that can wait till tomorrow, right? Have a drink, laugh with your friends, and let the dishes stay in the sink. Today only comes once. Don’t just “do” today, remember to enjoy being “in” the moment, too.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

Founders of Rochester Media. Looking to provide great local news to all people in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills. Send them a note at

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