Gardening and Stress

When I had my second child, I decided that it was also time to go back to work so that we could begin saving for their college funds. Going back to work meant seriously dividing my time between my children, my spouse, my job and the housework. There was no time for me to be by myself doing the things that I used to do to relax.

After several months of feeling as if I was going to go crazy from stress, I spoke with my mother. My mother is an amazing woman who raised three children on her own. We all went to college and turned out fine. She was a good resource for helping me restore balance in my life without taking away anything from what I needed to give to my family and children.

The first thing my mother encouraged me to do was to keep a journal. The next was to begin gardening. The season was perfect too, because the peak growing season is the spring.

One Saturday afternoon, my mother and sister came over. We shipped the kids off with my husband and spent the afternoon digging up a space in the back yard for my garden. Because my back yard is rather large, I didn’t have a problem finding a space that was both sunny and large enough to plant a substantially sized garden.

We hoed the grass and made the soil soft. Each my mom and sister had purchased an assortment of plants and vegetables. We planted a brick boarder around the garden and divided it along the middle – one side for vegetable and herbs, the other for flowers.

Next, we began to plant. I found that digging in the earth and building what would turn out to be a beautiful and fruitful garden was already relieving my stress – on the first day!

I continued to develop the garden from the spring to the end of the summer. During that time, I found that I became more relaxed. I began to look forward to the morning before work because I could go outside and see what the garden offered in terms of flowers and vegetables for the day.

My children also enjoyed the garden. My youngest would lay next to me on his blanket, taking in the warm sun as I gardened. My oldest enjoyed playing in the dirt and sprinkler as I monitored him from the side of my eye. Thus, the garden not only reduced my level of daily stress, but it turned out to be a catalyst for bringing me closer to my children.

My husband, while not much of a gardener, will mow the lawn or tend to eh landscaping while I dig in my own section of the yard. I enjoy being close to him and watching him work while simultaneously doing my own thing. I think it is safe to say that the gardening has encouraged us to be an “outdoor” family.

I recommend gardening to all moms and all families – it’s the perfect reward for a hard-working family!

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