The Trials of a Busy Mom

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery

I have a problem. I’ll admit it. You know those happy little yellow “flowers” that seem to be popping up in everyone’s yard right about now? Well, I hate them.

Oh, the dreaded dandelion! Or, as I just learned from Wikipedia, it’s a “members of the genus Taraxacum, a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae.” Thank you, Wikipedia. I don’t really care what they are called, I just don’t want them in my yard.

I didn’t really care so much about the dandelions until we moved here to this neighborhood. It’s a neighborhood full of landscapers, retired men who have too much time on their hands, and lawn obsessed people. Seriously. Our former next door neighbor used to mow his lawn at least twice a week, just because he liked to. I just found out that my friend and neighbor has a veritable greenhouse in her family room, where she’s growing hundreds of flowers and plants from seeds and from single leaves of different plants. Everyone has large lots that look like parks. Some of these people have easily put 30K into their yards. How can we possibly compete with that?

So, when I see a dandelion in my yard, instead of thinking, “oh, look at the cute little dandelions”, I think, “flip, there’s another of those scourge of the earth dandelions, which will soon be ALL over my yard, and then everyone will think we are the white trash neighbors and they will hate us.” I’m not even exaggerating here. Last year when it was time for Women’s conference, I mentioned to my friend that I was looking for a class titled “Just because you have a few dandelions, that does not make you white trash“. She laughed and said how funny I was, but I wasn’t joking. Somehow my self-esteem is tied up with the state of my yard. When really, it shouldn’t bother my self-esteem if we have a few weeds. The lawn is technically not even my jurisdiction around here. Ryan does the lawn care, ferilization, and the whole sprinking system, and I am in charge of all the flower beds, pots and hanging baskets. Together we are supposed to tend the garden, but we both tend to drop the ball on that one–but that’s another subject for some other day. So if we have a few little dandelions, it should reflect poorly upon my husband, and not me, right? Tell my over-imaginative brain.

So yesterday, when the kids came home from school, I offered them a penny per dandelion head. Not the whole disgusting plant, mind you, just the cheery yellow flowery parts. I know this isn’t getting the whole weed, but they don’t want to be out there with diggers, and I don’t have time to spray every one of them at this moment. Besides, if you get the flowery parts, they won’t send out all their horribly invasive seeds, creating more and more and more and more noxious weeds. So, always interested in an easy and fun way to make money, my girls set off to find and pick as many dandelion flowers as they could. After about a half an hour, one of them came in and asked if they could pick from the neighbor’s yard, too. Hmmm. On the one hand, I don’t really care if my neighbor has dandelions. In fact, if they have some, and I don’t, then that should kind of make my yard look better, right? And why should I pay my children to destroy the dandelions from their yard? On the other hand, if their dandelions ripen and spew forth their hideous seeds, then they will most likely land in my yard and cause us to have more dandelions. “Ok,” I said, “you can pick from the neighbor’s yard, too.” Aren’t I generous?

At the end of the picking time, when they couldn’t find any more dandelions to pick, like any good bounty hunter, they counted up their crop. With chalk circles and tally marks, they each figured out how many they had harvested. Jenna had 262, Natalie had 289, and Megan had 305. At one cent each, that will run me about $8.56. Well worth it. The kids had a little math experience, plus an easy way to make a couple of bucks fast, and I can assuage my fragile self-esteem.

I know, I know. I told you I had a problem, and admitting it is the first step to recovery, right? That, and I might just call Chem-lawn.


  1. Mel

    I don’t really like yard work, either. Does that make me a bad person?

  2. Superpaige

    Well, now it’s snowing, so I guess I won’t have to worry about what my yard looks like if it’s covered in snow. In April.

  3. Monica

    Oh no I SO understand! BTW I have this really bad habit of letting things overgrow ’cause I can. Sheesh I can be so derned rebellious!

    If I was there I’d assist in your dandellion issue!

    It’s snowing?! Ack…

    Hugs to you and WEED BE GONE wishes!

    Monica (who also has a bunch of weeds in a court where the homes are IMACULATE) 😉

  4. Monica

    Ooops, I thought I hit send…. doh!

    K, so what I was saying in the last comment that I obviously messed up on the simple “Submit Comment” button (:shock:) ~

    So, I have purposely let my lawn and my weeds overgrow… why? ‘Cause I’m a rebel and I live on a court with TONS of perfect lawns and gardens… I personally like a little bit of “wild” ~ though my neighbors certainly are too polite to say anything.

    Maybe I’ll be a good neighbor and mow this weekend…. 🙄 ‘Cause now I feel bad too… oh, and a penny a dandelion is perfect!


  5. Mom

    What a good way for the kids to earn money. Pretty expensive, I’d say, for you, though.
    We found ONE dandilion in our yard, and Eugene said, “What is that thing doing in our yard!?”
    And he picked it off. I suppose on a warmer day the kids wouldn’t mind taking a spray bottle out and spraying them, do you think? Then you wouldn’t have to do it!

  6. Lisa

    I can’t believe how many dandelions they picked. We have a few and we’ve got to get them soon. I dread getting out there – not fun!

  7. Robin

    I think dandelions are pretty…..:smile:

  8. Robin


  9. Bill

    I, too, have hated the dandelion. I’ve also never been one to make my yard toxic in order to avoid them. Luckily, I live where I’m surrounded by > 3000 acres of farm land. I don’t care what the neighbors think (the closest is at least 1/3 mile away).

    This year I’m taking a new approach. I made my peace with winter by buying cross country skis. I looked forward to the snow and skied at every opportunity. For Spring, I paid the kids to pick a bucket of dandelion heads (but not where the dogs go!). I then made dandelion wine. It’s happily fermenting in the basement. Next spring I’ll drink the wine and start making more.

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