AFH and I started our life together in a southern suburb of Atlanta. He owned his house and I was renting my townhouse in another part of the city, so it made sense that I move in with him. We loved every part of that 1,300 square foot house, threw epic parties there (including our Bachelor/Bachelorette party), home-improved the shit out of it and finally brought our firstborn home to it. It was cheap too. AFH had bought it for a steal at $68,000 and so our mortgage was lower than what my rent had been. It was magical.
But now kids were involved and the schools in our district were absolute shit. I landed a new job at the north end of the city so my commute was an hour one way on a good day, close to two hours on a bad day. We wanted another kid too which would have meant we would have outgrown that house immediately and so, before getting pregnant with Baby #2 we knew we needed to get our shit together and find our forever home.
Fast forward to finding and buying said home that checks all the boxes for us AND is in a great school district (the elementary school is directly across from our subdivision). There’s enough room for all four of us and we love the proximity to Atlanta. However, we’ve encountered a strange phenomenon:
People in suburbs are CRAZY for yard work. Doesn’t matter if it’s dark outside, these fuckers will strap on a headlamp like they’re going down into the mines
On December 28th, when all the grass was dead, we watched our next door neighbor hop on her ride-along lawnmower at 6:00 p.m. and do yard work for two and a half hours. In the dark. With a packed driveway. One can only assume she excused herself from whatever party she was throwing and thought, “Now’s a good time to go and do some yard work.” It’s FUCKING INSANE. Let me just preface this with the fact that all of our backyards are not sprawling. It’s polite to say that a child can run it in about 5 seconds. You could easily maintain it with a push-along mower and that’s about it. But all of our neighbors have these ride-along mowers, backpack leaf-blowers, high-end weed-whackers, and most of all, they don’t care if the sun’s out or not. I’ve listened to our neighbor weed-whack at 10:00 p.m. (no, that’s not a euphemism). We’ve had babysitters that have said, “I almost went out there and said something” and “Is this normal?”
When we entered suburban life, we were definitely not ready for this. We know we’re the tattooed freaks of the neighborhood. We know we don’t fit in, primarily because we don’t own a white SUV and I’m not a stay-at-home mom who looks like she’s always ready to work out no matter what time of day it is.
And the big one ladies and gentlemen: we definitely don’t attend church.
“Stay away from those heathens in the first house of the subdivision. They don’t believe in a supernatural being that will look after us and make Auburn win the SEC football championship this weekend. Hashtag Blessed.”
I know how we look to the neighborhood but guess what? We keep our house nice-looking. We may rock the boat a bit by having a landscaping company called “Kiss My Grass” come and mow and edge our front and backyard every two weeks in the summer (because it’s $40 and guess what? I like my husband and want to spend time with him instead of losing him for 4-5 hours at a time every Sunday). We don’t watch football or wear team jerseys every weekend during Fall. But we have the same goals as all of those people: we want our kids to be well-educated in a safe environment. We love our downtown area with its old movie theater, antique stores, and rundown Irish bars, where parades still happen and little kids run around in the square. We still get giddy when we drive up to our house every day. And we pay all of our bills on time.
Keeping up with the Joneses is exhausting. We don’t care and we’re SO happy with our little family. I’ve never lost my shit and had a full-on shouting argument with my husband in the backyard like our neighbors did last year. The stress of keeping up appearances starts to show its cracks no matter how hard you may try to hide it and at the end of the day what looks good on the outside may not be so perfect on the inside (Instagram and Facebook I’m looking at you).
What’s wrong with being honest? What’s wrong with trying to build the life YOU want instead of the life that everyone around you has? Don’t settle for the life you have if it’s making you so miserable on the inside that you can’t see a way out.
There’s always a way out. It may not be easy but it’s there for the taking.
Identify your goals and start small. There are static things in your life that can’t change (like, I need more sleep but I have two young kids so I’m kinda shit out of luck on that one…) but if you’re unhappy in your job, find out what you want to do, learn the skills to make you invaluable and start applying (or create your own career). Don’t tell me people don’t have the fucking time. Maybe if phones were put down once in a while then it wouldn’t be such a hardship. You don’t need to see what Pinterest monstrosity Melissa is doing for her 3 year old’s birthday party because guess what? It will just make you feel inadequate and chances are that kid won’t remember it anyway (and Melissa spent the week before screaming into a pillow and staying up until 3:00 a.m. decorating that handmade birthday banner. You know it. She knows it. Nobody’s bringing that shit up). It’s all for show, it’s making everyone miserable, and nobody’s listening to their inner voice anymore.
So if you want to live in Suburbia to give your kids the life that you never had, do it. If you want to start your own company do it. And for fuck’s sake, nobody gives a fuck what your backyard looks like so stop mowing the lawn in the dark. Everyone thinks you’re crazy – FemaleGG
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration