Planting A Garden is Like Becoming a Mother

This weekend I planted a garden. It’s a small garden with a couple of vegetables and the kids’ choice of watermelon. I spent hours digging up a little corner of our yard to create this space. I have no idea if I’m going to successfully grow anything, but I’m feeling proud of myself. I find myself stealing glances at my work and I keep envisioning the “fruits” of my labor. I feel hopeful and positive — like I’m doing something important. This is how I feel today. Yesterday was a different story.

Yesterday, while I was raking and digging and mixing soil in the blazing sun, I felt annoyed that I had taken on another project. Another responsibility that was NOT as satisfying as I hoped. I cursed myself as I yanked weeds and cleared rocks. My inner voice of doubt and negativity started talking. How is this relaxing? Why do people do this in their spare time? I will never choose to do this in retirement. I’m just going to end up killing everything anyway. What a waste of a holiday weekend.

But, I kept working though the laborious task. I pushed myself to finish the project I started… even though at times I wanted to walk away. I have never been one of those people who felt compelled to grow my own vegetables and live off my land. I will be happy if I get one tomato and one cucumber from this whole thing. It will be a victory. An accomplishment for my plant-killing non-green thumb.

So, why did I embark on “project grow a garden” in the first place? Honestly, I’m not sure. I just wanted to try. I wanted to see if I could do it. Could I follow through with this idea? Could I nurture these seedlings and watch them grow? Could I be disciplined enough? Would I be lucky enough? Would I remember to water and weed? Would I be able to show my children what is possible with some effort?

Planting a garden is like becoming a mother for the first time – at least for me it feels this way. There were days I didn’t know if I would make it through. I had love, a little experience caring for kids, and leaky breasts. That was about it. Looking back I am fairly impressed that I was able to do it at only 21-years-old. I raised a baby into a teenager and eventually had more children, but, just like with gardening I sometimes struggled to see the end game. I also had many moments of self-doubt and worry. There were difficult days that made me question everything and simply required pushing through. I took each day as they came and gave what I could. I kept my expectations realistic and prayed for the best. I am still praying and hoping for the best. I simply want my babies to be healthy and to grow up to be happy people. I want to show them love and give them the opportunity to flourish.

I wasn’t a Mommy UNTIL I was a Mommy. And now I like to think I am a good Mommy. So, who knows, maybe this gardening thing isn’t so out of the realm of possibility. You can’t become a gardener until you start your very first garden. Maybe my garden will actually grow. Maybe I will push through to the end to claim my “fruit.” But, even if I only end up with a few wilted plants I will take comfort in knowing that I didn’t give up before I started.

planting a garden is like becoming a mommy - @tinystepsmommy #momblog


I need to believe it is possible. That I can do anything I put my mind to… with some hard work, patience, and a whole lot of love.

How does your garden grow?


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.




  1. I’ve been thinking about planting a garden this year as well but am running out of time. I love how you compare new motherhood and learning as you go to learning about gardening as well. Lovely! And I can’t wait to see the photos of your veggies and watermelon!
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…My Developmentally Delayed Little Boy Works Harder Than I DoMy Profile

  2. This is such a great analogy! It’s so easy to forget that we never really know how to do something until we try. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂
    Carin Kilby Clark recently posted…3 Basic Survival Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their ChildMy Profile

  3. You’re way ahead of me. Good for you! I have exactly one plant in my house, which apparently needs very little care. My 18-year-old daughter has asked if this summer maybe we can get some more plants for the house. Your post inspired me to be brave and try!
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