I have the incredible opportunity to stay home with my kids. I am very thankful. But in the busy day to day, being home alone with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old can make me feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings of being… trapped. Trapped in a very messy house with incredibly loud children.
The honest truth is: Some days just don’t go well and everyone needs a change of scenery.
My bad days go like this: I have a sink of dirty dishes. I keep stepping on random toys. Why are there even toys in my kitchen? Its always the wooden toys that send me reeling in pain. These are the moments when I don’t think Melissa and Doug are the coolest people ever. Wincing in pain, I hear screaming in the distance. Laughter or calls for help, I can’t really tell. Its just noise. But one child is being rather quiet.
Panic sets in.
Where is Pammy?
Darling Pammy is splashing in water. Sometimes, its water from a cup she so sweetly emptied on the tile floor. Sometimes its from the toilet. Its okay. I had been planning on scrubbing/wiping/disinfecting that very spot that she made into an indoor splash pad. She is so helpful.
Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning…Uh oh, someone is hurt.
Precious Del screams the most powerfully shrieking cries. Is he severely injured or is his sock just twisted? I will never know unless I investigate. But this time, its because he was climbing on something that he has been told many a time to not climb. He fell from that forbidden height, once again. And now needs Momma kisses and cuddles. Frustration. I kiss the back of his head, his elbow, and left index finger. I can’t resist that sweet guy.
As I run back and forth from cleaning to kissing booboos, sweet Jenkie is in a state of total boredom as well as being completely overwhelmed by the flurry of activity. He tries to find some fun by telling me some of his made-up knock knock jokes, but he isn’t getting the reaction he wants. He pouts. Mom guilt fills my chest.
So what am I suppose to do? I have dishes to clean, floors to sweep, food to make, clothes to wash, bills to pay, Facebook to check (oh wait, that is not important), rooms to clean, children to teach, everyone is crying, I am crying, and the list goes on. Clearly, none of my chores will get done when the kids are going bananas.
But I don’t want to drag my kids to a million places all the time. I don’t want to be that mom who tries to keep the kids occupied and worn out every single day. I want to enjoy being with them as well as maintain my house. I want to be content to be home. So what do I do?
On my smart days, I stand up from drying the floor for the fourth time, and say with all the “patience” in the world, “Kids, get your shoes on. We are going outside.” (I know that only 1/3 of my children can actually put their own shoes on. But every time I am hopeful that the others will suddenly learn).
Outside cures almost any issue a child has. The park is always fun. But even a walk around the block can be such an attitude adjuster for the kids as well as myself. Even when my kids resist going outside, I know that if I can drag them out the door, they will find something to do. Yes, I usually have to be out there with them. But I need the outdoors as much as they do. I leave the phone inside so I won’t be tempted. It doesn’t have to be a whole day outside. Just 15 minutes to an hour will do the trick. We all need this time with nature and a break from rules and chores.
Okay, we made it outside. So now what do we do?
- Use chalk to color an old stump or tree.
- Run around or have races. Obstacle courses are our favorite.
- Touch rough tree bark or throw leaves into the wind and see who’s goes the farthest.
- Pretend that a funky tree root is a snake.
- Go on a bug hunt or a shape hunt.
- Practice writing letters in the dirt with a stick.
- Use this time to reinforce family mottos like “Family sticks together” (as you hold hands crossing the street).
- Smell the grass.
- Look for birds.
- Enjoy the sunshine on your face.
- Look at the sky and know that the world is so much bigger than your dirty dishes.
Just get outside.
What do you like to do outside with your kids?