Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

Last March I joined thousands of other non-native-Wisconsinites in a collective sigh of relief when Brett Favre retired from the Green Bay Packers. At last! We wouldn’t have to suffer through on off-season entirely devoted to chatter about would he or wouldn’t he come back. It was finally settled.

Or was it? With this week’s news, Brett is regretting his decision. He has second thoughts. The green grass of retirement that beckoned a few months ago has lost its luster, the green (bay) grass of football is calling his name, and maybe, if he’s released, he could play for another team entirely. Oh, the temptation.

I really thought I had nothing in common with Brett Favre. But I understand his dilemma. When I graduated from college, I dove into the workforce with both feet. I loved my job and quickly climbed the proverbial ladder. After marriage, I was sitting pretty in middle management, making more than my age (the goal of the day) and clocking 60+ hours a week. Life was good. We started our family, because thanks to the women before me the glass ceiling was shattered, and we could work and raise a family at the same time. We took our baby to daycare at 6 am, picked her up at 6pm and watched her fall asleep in her highchair as we scrambled to put dinner on the table. Divorced parents with shared custody saw their children more than we saw ours!

So, the grass looked awfully green to me on the stay-at-home-mom side of the picket fence. With baby #2 I boldly left the workforce and tried out this new gig. But after a few hours in the sandbox, my brain began spinning wildly out of control. I would mentally write and re-write business plans in my head as I played Polly Pockets and Barbie with my sweet girls. I loved being home, but the part-time job grass was looking really green…

Part time is good, but then, you always feel like you haven’t quite finished anything and it’s time to go. Then you get home, and you feel like you really haven’t started anything, so you panic. Then it’s time for work again, then home – Yikes! This grass was green, but there were a lot of dandelions!

So I stayed home again, but the kids were finally in school. Wasn’t it more fun when I was working? Maybe it was time for full-time again. Yea, that’s it. The velvety, perfect, putting-green quality grass of full-time, meaningful work. Sign me up.

And then, OMG, what did I sign up for? The kids are falling behind, the house is a mess, and we’re eating in the car on the way to the Y to work out at 7pm. This grass is turning into tumbleweed.

What’s next? Self employment? Small business ownership? More? Less? Nothing? Everything? I don’t know. All I can say is, Brett, I feel your pain. It’s really hard to make a decision about the rest of your life. How about we just take it one day at a time?


  1. I'm with ya, dearie. Who knew that two ambitious 20-somethings would become 40-somethings who didn't know what to do when we grew up?

  2. It's the constant questioning myself that makes me crazy! How do we resolve ourselves to one thing or another?

  3. I think the advice I would give to my 20-year-old self is "you can do it all, just not all at once." That way, it would be easier to live in the moment and not continually question the choices.