Why I Let my Kids Play in the Mud {Mommy Misadventure}

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Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

There’s sort of this never-ending conversation I have with myself in my head, which may certify me as crazy, but I’ll own that. On one side of the motherhood spectrum, I love a clean and organized home. As I sit here typing this, the kids are at school and all I can hear are the gentle swish of the dishwasher and flap of the clothes in the dryer. My floors are spotless, the crumbs are off the table, and for about .25 seconds I’m sitting in clean domestic bliss.

On the other hand, I was brought up in a creative home. We were allowed to make forts that encompassed entire rooms, had art supplies at the ready, and there were no clear rules about where to put our “stuff” with the exception of declaring the stairwell a ‘no dumping zone’. <——– yes, we thought this was hilarious and teased my mom mercilessly for using the word ‘dump’.

Imagine– even before the invention of Pinterest, there was still creativity. It’s because of this crazy notion of actually getting out there and doing stuff.

With spring comes mud. With mud, the inevitable tug of children’s hearts towards dirt, beckoning with a gravitational pull. Our yard is a mud field thanks to all the snow and subsequent sheets of rain, and therefore the kids want only to dive into the sloppy mess that inhabits our lawn.

And yesterday I let them.

Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

In my head there’s a Greek Chorus of veteran moms screaming at me: “but what about their CLOTHES?! they’ll be filthy! they’ll catch a disease from the dirt!” I wonder what the neighbors think: “there goes those Higgins kids again, where do they live, a BARNYARD? Does she even SUPERVISE them?”

But the squeals of laughter as my daughter slides down the slope, and the tears from my son the first time he fell and got dirty (but then wiped those tears away, and tried again, and worked through the mucky feeling into something bordering on delight) pushed out the other voices. (Truly, am I certifiable?)

don’t worry about the lawn, Bee’s just fast-tracking my plan to add a walkway here…

Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

Sloppy, wet, and covered in muck from head to toe my kids eventually came back toward the house where we stripped off their clothes before they even got through the back door and put everything directly into a laundry basket. Pajamas pulled on, they could not stop giggling and begging to go back outside. My husband’s new shirt had a smear of mud across the front and my jeans had a distinct handprint across the thigh. Just as I was about to make a comment about being the worst mom in the world, my daughter looked at us and breathlessly declared it was THE BEST DAY EVER.

Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

My husband and I locked eyes and said simultaneously: WORTH IT.

Sure, the laundry took some extra time and the boots will need to be sprayed with a hose but 1,000 projects on Pinterest can’t compete with letting my kids experience the freedom of playing in the mud. I’ve pinned dozens of sensory activities, but none compare with having your hands covered in mud and working through that feeling of ickiness. I could pin every painted handprint project in the world, but seeing my son purposely make wet footprints across the pavement so he could ‘track’ himself was priceless.

Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

I suffer from ‘mom guilt’ on a daily (hourly?) basis. But from now on, my mantra will be: Let Them Play in the Mud. Of course, I won’t actually be able to let them literally play in the mud every day or else I’ll run out of detergent. And patience. But in life, it’s okay to have unscheduled time. Sure, I could lead them in an afternoon craft activity but they’ll probably learn more by playing independently and solving problems together in the playroom. Let. Them. Play. In. The. Mud.  In other words, let go.

Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

Childhood is inherently magical. I don’t need to create it. They’ll find it.

I should be working, or cleaning, or answering emails, or packing for my trip next week. Instead, I’m going to go play with some fabric and paint and see what happens. Mamas need their own mud-playing time, too.

When’s the last time you played in the proverbial mud? What’s your mud playing policy?

Why you should let your kids play in the mud (and other musings on letting go) via www.makinglemonadeblog.com #motherhood #kids #parenting

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13 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh how I love this post. Every child should be a mud puppy a time or two in their lives because as your daughter so aptly stated, it will go into their memory banks as one of THE BEST DAYS EVER. My three girls are now 31, 33, and 35 and yes ma’am, they still talk about the few times they had to undress in the garage and get hosed down before being allowed inside. Freedom and creativity in it’s simplest form can encourage wondrous things!

    Thanks for reminding all of us that it’s important for all of us to take time to “play in the mud”.

  2. Such a good Mommy!!! 🙂
    I’m sure they had a ball….and what a great reminder to us all!

  3. We don’t really have a mud playing policy, but I’ll always let the little guy jump in puddles on the way home from preschool. I know we’ll be home in just a few minutes and he can change into dry clothes when we get there. 🙂

  4. Good for you!! Playing in the mud is a rite of passage for children. I let my girls play out in the rain and mud too. Now that they are older, they still like playing in the rain sometimes.

  5. I love this post and I completely agree. While I may cringe (on the inside) at the mess, there is nothing better than letting them get out and explore.
    Kelly

  6. Yep… my kids are pretty much only happy when they are getting dirty 🙂 My policy has become, “let them have fun, and I’ll just deal with the mess later”…. it does help when the mess is outside though 🙂

  7. youre right. kids will find the magic in anything. Personally, i dont like being dirty. but as a teacher, i’ve discovered that the BEST discoveries come from getting dirty. They little scientists!

  8. Great post, Carrie! Mud is nature’s PlayDoh. I love letting them get out there and get all dirty. 🙂

  9. Great post! I love the mud and playing in it fun.. not a fan of the dogs in the bud.

  10. I must confess, I have never let my son play in the mud but we have a muddy creek behind our house and you inspire me to do it!

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