‘I look around and mothers are wilting. Marriages are filled with resentment, longing. Moments with our children are hurried and empty.’: Woman explains mental health through gardening

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“I’ve been growing things as long as I can remember. What began as a love for a summer vegetable garden blossomed into a homestead with a budding orchard, raised beds, green house plans, and a true sense of sustainability. Through the years, I’ve come across many different issues with plants, and it almost always comes down to the soil. Is the soil healthy, and it is appropriate for the plant you’re cultivating? If it isn’t, what can you do to alter it? This is the question time and time again.

Courtesy of Jenne Fine Arts

What I didn’t realize was that I was learning all along how to care for myself and the people closest to me. When a flower fails to thrive, we don’t paint its petals so it appears to be flourishing. We don’t belittle the flower for failing to adapt or judge it for being less. We take a look at the soil, the light, the water; we examine the nutrients, adapting them so the flower can gain its true form.

Courtesy of Jenne Fine Arts

I look around at my peers in life and motherhood, and so many are wilting. The hot mess persona is nearly synonymous with modern family life; all you have to do is open social media to see what I mean. Marriages are filled to the brim with resentment and longing. Our moments with our children are hurried and empty.

We’ve become a culture obsessed with success. We’re applauded for busyness, and debt is plain status quo. How did we get here? What’s in our soil? How can we alter it?

What if we slowed down? What if we steeped our relationships in intentional time together? What if we sat face to face with our spouse and got it all off our chests? What if that hurried afternoon of errands and outings with our kids was replaced by a blanket fort and a stack of books? What if we ate like we loved our bodies, and what if we exercised because it makes us feel amazing?

What if we just need different soil? After all, different people have different needs.

Courtesy of Katie Bryant

My husband is a man with a need to accomplish a list. You can throw all the yoga, hot tea, sex, and time together you can dream up his way, but if he’s not daily accomplishing something on that list, he will feel stagnant and unfulfilled and even unworthy.

Me? I probably had a list, but I lost it somewhere. I need downtime. I can go and do, sightsee and workout, but if I don’t have some time to read a book, write what’s in my head, or do some yoga in a calm and uncluttered space, I start to get anxious and restless.

Why? Because different people need different soil.

This is not your practice life, your practice relationships, or your practice body. This is it, you get this ONE chance. Why waste it being miserable? Get rid of your clutter, take a few things off your schedule, do that thing you’ve been wanting to do. Stop spending your money on needless stuff and save for a trip instead. Learn what you need to thrive, learn what your partner needs, learn what your children need and spend time tending to it. I promise you will prosper and dare I say THRIVE.”

Courtesy Katie Bryant

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Bryant, 31, of North Caroina. Follow Katie on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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