Let the Kids Get Muddy

Spring is just around the corner, and that usually means at least two things at my house: allergies and mud.

Every year I feel excited for the snow to melt and to get to see my yard again. But the excitement partners with a dread of the weeks-long phase between snow and grass when the entire earth (and subsequently my kids) becomes a soggy mess of mud. Inevitably my kitchen floor turns into a mud pit, and sometimes the couch adopts a new color scheme of splotchy brown. Ugh.

I recently contemplated the looming mud predicament when I noticed all the sand in our entryway. Construction continues on our house from last summer’s storm damage, so the kids use the front door any time they go outside. My front entryway is anything but tidy, with wet snow clothes strewn about and small piles of sand all over the floor.

But as I looked at the sand while my mind thought of the dreaded mud, I learned a valuable lesson: The mud will just replace the sand.

That’s it. That’s my valuable lesson. The mud will just replace the sand.

And once the mud is gone, it’s grass clippings and dripping towels from the sprinklers. Soon collections of rocks and flower petals make their way inside. After that, it’s the soggy leaves that fall from the autumn trees, which leads to, you guessed it- sand.

Let the Kids Get Muddy

We will have come full circle, all four seasons, and my floor will not have seen an entire week without being dusted with bits of yard that caught a ride on my children’s shoes.

But we will also have completed another year of each of my children’s lives. They will be one year closer to growing up and moving on. I don’t mean this to be a lecture on “enjoy them while they’re young.” I get overwhelmed and frustrated by that well-meaning advice just as much as any mom.

I think this is more of a “let them be young.”

So I let the kids get muddy. In fact, I might even encourage it. I might encourage it to be kept on the rug and not the couch, but I’ll encourage it nonetheless.

I’ll encourage my kids to be carefree before they grow up and have to be responsible–

-To cover themselves in Mother Nature before they find themselves overwhelmed with tasks and lists and their lives are overrun by electronic devices and appliances.

-To pick the mud-stained shirt as their favorite outfit before they get caught up in impressing their peers with the latest fashion trends, to just be and not worry.

And I’ll celebrate my success in prioritizing their emotional wellness over worrying about impressing whoever happens to knock at my door, who most likely won’t even notice the sand or the muddy rain boots.

This spring, I’m looking forward to the mud.

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