The grass on the other side of the fence is Astroturf

Synthetic: produced artificially, devised, arranged, or fabricated for special situations to imitate or replace usual realities

That green grass on the other side of the fence that divides the “stay-at-home” herd from the “working” herd has been under my feet for a week now and I have some observations:

It is green.

There are a lot of things to like about the place in which I will spend three days of each week.  I have an office where I can set something down and find it exactly where I left it.  Nobody follows me into the bathroom.  The work is challenging without being overwhelming.  I don’t have to threaten anyone to ensure that it is quiet when I answer the phone.  My day is full of uninterrupted adult conversations.  My co-workers have been welcoming and kind.  There is free food that I don’t have to cook – like the “bagel day” breakfast I enjoyed yesterday followed by a catered lunch.  And, there is coffee available on demand.  In the event that I am able to outsmart the machine, there is even espresso available.  If not, I’ve discovered at least three coffee shops within 100 yards.

It is not grass.

I confess, I miss my bathroom shadows and peanut butter and jelly lunch companions.  On the other side of the fence, I can still see them smiling at me, but they are stuck behind glass in a frame.  Son’s kisses are held on a two-dimensional tracing of his hand that decorates my bulletin board rather than planted on my cheek randomly throughout the day.  Daughter is taking her naps at school where someone else gets to witness the way her hair plasters to her sweaty face and the stoned look she has upon waking.  I try desperately to “imitate or replace our usual realities” when I get home but there isn’t enough time.  Sure, we can snuggle on the couch briefly before dinner to share about our days, but it isn’t the same.  On the other side of the fence, there was time for conversations to bubble up over the course of the day.  Thoughts shared while putting on socks; observations made over breakfast; memories recalled on the walk to school.  Now, I feel pressured to extract as much as I can in a short amount of time to calm the uneasy feeling that I’ve missed too much.

So, there you have it.  I’ve been to the other side of the fence and found it to be green and tidy and even.  I like it.  But, the other four days of the week I will joyfully graze my home field and appreciate the divots and dandelions.  I love it.


10 thoughts on “The grass on the other side of the fence is Astroturf

  1. Perhaps the most important feature of my childhood up to and through the sixth grade was that my mother was at home. I think that she made the best chocolate chip cookies; better than your mom or you can make. I AM sure of it. It really saved me having my mom at home. Phillip

    PS Lemon pie too.

    1. If I could retract my previous comment I would. Not because it isn’t true, but because I should know when to sit on my hands.


      PS My Kingdom for a cookie.

  2. Beautiful and so true. I recently went to part-time (2.5 days a week) so that I could spend more time with my 12 month old daughter and everything you wrote rings true. There are some really nice things about being at work with other adults, but I still miss my home turf when I’m away. Never the other way around though. I never yearn for my office the way I yearn for my daughter, though it is nice to get out of workout clothes/pj’s and join the rest of society a couple of times a week:)

    1. Yearn is a nice word. I think I sometimes miss work (like when I step on a pointy toy in bare feet or find peanut butter fingerprints on a new shirt) but I never yearn for work. And, yes…after six years away I found I needed a serious clothes upgrade. The fashion “must haves” on the preschool circuit don’t translate to a law firm.

  3. Read it before, and enjoyed a re-read today! Thanks! Certainly a topic that provokes thought, and rarely leaves me feeling any more settled for having re-considered the whole thing. All we can do is the best we can do…sometimes that’s fine, and other times it just seems to fall short…

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