The idea that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence is an old, old cliche, but still, it seems to be relevant to our last couple of weeks.
For OB, it's the idea that he'll have so much more fun at somebody else's house. Every day, the first thing he asks me is, "Where are we going today, Mummy?" Then he proceeds to extract a full itinerary, usually delivered in mumbles from a barely-awake Mummy!
He does like everything mapped and planned out. But I think what he's really looking for each day is confirmation that, at some point, we'll be "going to other people's houses Mummy". When I tell him we're not visiting his friends, then it's a barrage of "Why not?" and "Please!" that can go on all day.
So, with the Easter holiday looming, I went ahead and planned a full fortnight of activities. This was partly for his benefit, and partly so that each day when my eyes were peeled open at an unearthly hour, I'd have a ready answer for the inevitable question.
It started off well, but by midway into the second week I began to realise that it was all getting a bit much for OB. On the Thursday morning, when I told him about the playdate I had planned, he cried and begged to be allowed to stay at home and play! Unfortunately, arrangements aren't always so easy to unmake, and it was Easter Saturday before we managed a full day to spend at home, playing with toys, doing crafts and just generally relaxing.
I thought that at least I'd learned a valuable lesson, and was looking forward to our quiet day. It was about 9.30am when he asked me if we were "going to other people's houses Mummy?" Ah, the green, green grass of home . . . or of other people's houses . . . take your pick really!
So, while I'm coming to terms with the idea that, whatever I do, I'm unlikely to satisfy OB's urge to look for the greenest grass, I'm also realising that I'm not immune to a bit of lawn envy myself. It's certainly easy to look around and see people who seem to have it better or easier or more comfortable than I do.
There's a huge downside to this sort of lawn comparison though. For a start, I'm only seeing my neighbour's lawns from a distance. This means that I don't see the moss, clover, bald patches and other deficiencies in their grass - it all looks perfect from where I'm standing. But I see the problems with my own grass close up, in full detail, and too much close scrutiny means that eventually the problems are all I can see.
This means that when my neighbours come to me and share their concerns over their lawns, I am less likely to listen, to care or to be compassionate. I am more likely to inwardly think about how much better they have it than me and, in doing so, minimise their concerns and dismiss them, feeling that I am the one who should be getting sympathy, encouragement or whatever - after all, look at that grass! Unchecked, lawn envy could make me a bitter woman and a bad friend.
In reality, no lawn is immune to weeds, no matter how good the soil, how well-manicured the turf. Those dandelions and clovers and other nameless imposters will still try to come and mess it all up.
So, this week, I've decided that I'm not going to compare grass any more. This has happened:
That's right, folks! The lawn is gone! I'm done with grass, and I'm done with worrying that yours is better than mine, both metaphorically and literally. We are going with gravel. It's less attractive, maybe, but it's practical and low maintenance. So from now on, with nothing to compare, I'm determined to look at the grass on the other side of the fence with a more realistic eye. It will most certainly be greener than mine, but since we're not in competition, I don't think it will matter at all!