Whenever I see a mud puddle I always feel conflicted. I want my children to be the kind that go full force into the mud puddle, however I do not want to clean up the mess that it will inevitably make. It is hard for me to find a balance between the two.
Photo by Tim Jackson timjacksonphoto.500px.com
During the summer my children are bare foot more often then not. We find ourselves outside and on a farm exploring constantly but I still get reluctant to let them get down and dirty every now and then.
Recently I was reminded of how important these moments are when in the middle of a BBQ a massive rain storm came rumbling in. The children trepidatiously began to play and within five minutes were in full force. Running, jumping, and splashing as they explored what it was like to be caught in a downpour, and we watched as they had the time of their lives. It made me remember all the times I was caught in the rain, and how incredibly precious those moments are to me.
This does not negate from the fact that as the children were playing and we were all watching I was standing guard at the door to ensure no soaking wet bodies entered the house and slipped on the tile floor. And so here I am stuck between two worlds….not quite the stuck up adult but too responsible to let it all go to the wayside either. So I came up with a set of rules (more for me than the kids) to help me feel better about sporadic and messy fun.
Rules to make the messy more fun!
1 If we are going anywhere that can become messy we wear our “B” clothing. When we go to our CSA we always dress down, there is always some messy berry or big puddle of mud to jump in.
2 Our Crocs live in our car (rain boots during colder months). If my kids have their Crocs on they know all bets are off- have at it!
3 Always have a change of clothing and a towel (or two or three!)
4 If we are on a schedule our messy fun will have to wait, even if that means we have to bypass this one really cool messy experience!
5 There will only be one messy clean up so get it out of your system before I change your clothing or you go inside the house.
I know having rules for sporadic fun somewhat negates the spontaneity of the moment but having them in place has both eased my mind and caused a lot fewer tantrums. I know that one day my children will be traveling the world walking on the beach during a magical storm having the time of their lives. I am also confident they will have supplies back at their hostels to ensure a smooth transition to whatever fun awaits them thereafter.