Kids love mud. Most Mums don't. But, if we can find a way to stop thinking about the mess and the growing pile of washing, getting down and dirty with the kids could become your favourite thing! Stay with me Mums. I know mud is gross, I know you don't want muddy footprints on your (clean) floors and I know you don't need to add more washing to that epic washing pile. But, I also know you are craving more quality time with your kiddos - more heartfelt connection, more amazing moments, more really beautiful memories. I know, because every mum who loves her kids feels this way.
The kiddos and I having the time of our lives at Mudworld!
See that pic up there?
I'm not proud to say it, but the day this photo was taken was the first time I'd TRULY ever stopped and the first time I'd really played with my gorgeous kids for more than 15 minutes in over 2 years!
After my second child came along, life got really hectic. There was only 15 months between my kids and my eldest son was a late bloomer - for a long time I had two non-walking babies on two different sleeping and feeding schedules. I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed and I had severe post-natal anxiety. Some days I was barely surviving, let alone thriving. Whenever my kids would want to play, I would play with them - I loved nothing more. But then, the guilt would creep in! I was a hot mess of anxiety... 'Must clean the house it's a mess; really, I shouldn't be relaxing with the kids, I should be cleaning; and the washing pile, ergh, it's not going to do itself; and oh god they're both crying again, it's nearly time for another snack and, wait!: is that poo on my shirt!?'
Every Mum knows these days. And most of us pull ourselves away from our kids to cook, clean, wash and generally be adults. And, then the house is kinda clean, everyone has some clothes for tomorrow and then you're hit with #mumguilt. You KNOW you should spend more time playing with your kids! You KNOW that they're only little for a short time and you have to soak them in before they are off to school! You KNOW you should be reading them more stories. You KNOW all these things... but you never get the balance right. More guilt.
And then you realise it's been 2 years and your babies are now toddlers... the worst guilt.
Hubby and I decided to take our kids to Mudworld - they were always coming home from daycare dirty and muddy, so we knew they'd love it. Anywhere we went as a family back then, I was chasing hubby & the kids around - while they got involved, I'd be busy on the sidelines taking all the photos, bringing snacks and drinks... being the cheerleader. And that was the plan for Mudworld. When we bought the tickets the deal was Dad would play in the mud and I would sit on the sidelines. But, that was six months earlier and since then hubby had had a knee reconstruction so he simply couldn't get in the mud. It was over to me. I expected mud, but not like this. "In you get Shell," hubby said with a grin on his face as I looked at the thick, oozing mud everywhere and threw up in my mouth. And then I turned around and the toddlers were gone - clean to covered in mud from head to toe in 30 seconds... and having the best time of their little lives. And, then it happened - the moment that changed my entire approach to parenting my kids. My son, all of 3 years old, turned around and through a thick cover of mud on his face gave me the most beautiful, cheeky smile and called out, "You can't catch me!"
And this day changed everything... This day when I really stopped #adulting and just enjoyed playing with my kids doing something they really loved was the first day I had TRULY loved parenting and the first day I TRULY felt like I was parenting in the way I should be. The proof is in the photos where my smiles are as big as theirs! On this day I experienced the power of being immersed in nature and how much it lights humans up... not just me, but every single parent and child in that mud pit was loving life! On this day, I vowed that I would get my family outdoors together, every chance I got. The following weekend we rolled out the camper trailer, blew off the cobwebs and took the kiddos proper camping for the very first time. And, life was again, forever changed. So, maybe getting mud in places where mud shouldn't ever go isn't something you're going to rush into, and I get that. But, I encourage you to find your 'mud', dive right in and I believe you will never look back. Find that thing you can do with your kids where you can let yourself be a kid again and maybe, like me, that first day you do it will forever be one of the best days of your life. Stay adventurous! ~Shell.
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