Life Is Not a Lowe’s Commercial

Springtime brings new life with every turn of the corner, from a multitude of colors gracing our flowerbeds to those bright yellow fluffy chicks that are hatching daily in incubators around preschools everywhere. From sidewalk chalk pictures lining the driveway to never-ending bubble wars, I love almost every single detail that surrounds the season of new life and rebirth.


You will be hard pressed to find commercials that aren’t geared toward the rebuilding and absolute overhaul of your home and garden. Even with as little TV time as I have to myself, I can’t help but notice the plethora of advertisements that make me feel as if my bright green lawn and freshly planted flowers aren’t enough. Home improvement shows flood us with the idea that one can never have enough shiplap throughout the home with a generous dose of sliding barn doors to round out that farmhouse chic look that has been in style for what seems like forever and a day now. Even with topics that don’t directly relate to parenthood, why do we still believe that what we have is never enough? (Except shiplap, of course. Aapparently you can never have enough shiplap.)

One of the commercials that made my mama heart chuckle came from a large home and garden store. The advertisement boasted that you can “get more done” with this store’s help and tackle any project in a weekend’s time. The happy actor couple strolled gracefully up and down the aisles, taking their time while carefully making sure every i was dotted and t crossed. How lovely for them, I thought to myself as I proceeded to judge the unmarried couple that made home improvement decision-making as easy as 1-2-3. I realize that I am putting a lot of time and mental energy into a commercial that lasted no more than 45 seconds, but the lack of reality and the hyped-up marketing schemes stuck with me as started wondering why I haven’t started writing a to-do list for my engineer husband yet. “They must not have any kids,” I muttered to myself, along with, “Did they compose a landscaping plan, or were their purchases made on a whim?” Being a transplant to the great state of Texas means that I have had years of plant trial and error and two houses to try to configure a way to not only secure the plants to the soil, but keep nature away with the flower candy store I so generously provided them (spoiler alert: there are a total of four plants that the deer haven’t eaten yet). Throw in non- consecutive chunks of time to produce a magazine-worthy yard due to those little humans known as children, and you have a recipe for me, the stay-at-home mother, laughing uncontrollably with a “yeah, right” thrown directly at the unsuspecting Lowe’s Home Improvement Store actors. My takeaway and downright refusal to let this commercial steal any more energy and time from me than this post allows leaves me with these thoughts that align a paid advertisement and motherhood:

The “before” is not always as bad as it seems.

In my opinion, there was nothing wrong with the couple’s “before” yard layout. I realize that if reality played a part here, we wouldn’t have a commercial to watch and be swayed by, but I found myself not categorizing their landscaping as a total disaster. Are we all just in need of more projects? Are we unable to feel satisfied if something bigger and better is not in the works? Although I love a good clean-out and facelift of a room every now and then, I have to remind myself that the “before” of anything at the current moment may just be an actual representation of parenting life at its finest over here, which in turn is enough for us.  

Where have all the children gone?

In the commercial, there were a few props around the yard that suggest children might reside there. Throughout the commercial couple’s shopping, planting, mulching, and enjoyment phases, I did not see one child running through the compost. I didn’t see siblings take their bikes through the mulch. And you can bet that they didn’t showcase what happens when a hose is left unattended in the hands of a baby brother. Where was the family pet that chews the tops off the flowers? Perhaps someone can explain how the patio is so clean when muddy footprints and paint spill should blanket it all. Moral of the story, folks: I want to see the messes. I want to see real life.

Quarrels, anyone?

Pardon my bold attitude, but I’m certain that one, if not more, disagreements would occur during the Lowe’s commercial couple’s trip through the sugarplum forests of green lawns and plentiful bushes. The labor of landscaping is exhausting and draining. Personally, I like plants that bear colorful flowers that will attract butterflies that land on stems and bring joy to my children as they observe nature working around them. Enter my sensible husband, who ever-so-gently reminds me that we have one iota of full sun that would afford such a habitat for my butterfly dreams. Take that sensible and practical husband and put him next to his wife who, for the seventh year in a row, is determined to make a bed full of hydrangeas come true. Those scenarios, blended with many more dreams and realistic views, can shake the nerves of even the most steadfast couple. At the end of our day, the most peaceful solution was to bring in those who know the soil, sun, atmosphere, and personalities of both adults in the household best. Unlike the actor couple, we recognized our need to wave the white flag as the deer strategically stood behind the fence, waiting for our missteps and all the petunias our hands could hold.

Currently, the sun is setting over the treetops of our backyard and the nocturnal animals are starting their day. My backyard is overflowing with plants native to the Alamo City: young hydrangea bushes that pay homage to my Northeastern roots are safely planted and shaded in their appropriate spots while multiple bushels of citronella will hopefully deter any mosquito that would like to dine here. Our lawn oasis is a collaboration of rookie mistakes and artwork of skilled hands, Mickey Mouse sprinklers and bubble wands, with tiny muddy footprints for good measure. Although far from commercial material, our property leaves you with an authentic feel and the hope that y’all will come back real soon.

I’m a native Pittsburgher through and through, but transplanted to Texas with my superhero cape to teach elementary school. I have a five-and-a-half-year-old girl and a two-and-a-half-year-old boy who keep my days full of laughter, glitter, monster trucks, and stuffed animals. As a stay-at-home mama, I am constantly yearning for new ways to engage their minds, hands, and bodies with the city and community around them, while stealing a run and a cup of coffee or two. I can be found at the local library for storytime; the park for an afternoon swing; and/or the local splash pad to escape the heat. I’m not hard to miss due to my donning of Steelers gear in the fall and Penguins attire in the spring. I welcome and thrive on new conversations, friendships, and methods of rearing littles.