Like most mothers, I often wonder if I’m doing it right. It, you ask? Motherhood. When they fight like banshees, blood curdling screams and wild arms flinging or jump on sofas and climb up window grills…in other people’s homes, mind you – I wonder if I’m not tough enough on them devils.
A second, and a sound scolding later, if I make the mistake of glancing into those big brown eyes, glistening with tears while their noses, cheeks and lips turn into red roses and faces somehow become chubbier, I’m convinced that…..I’m too harsh on my angels.
While hardly an authority on raising children, there are fleeting moments of peace between running helter skelter in opposite directions like a headless chicken, when I am hit with the realisation that as parents we are becoming increasingly wary and borderline intolerant of what can only be described as basic child behaviour.
My highly spirited, carefree child has always had an unbridled energy that I celebrated…before he started school that is. With the increasingly young age at which school begins, we are forcing children to sit on chairs when they should be exploring and to literally ‘fall into line’ before they even know how to draw one!
Outside school, my kid promptly ditches his bag and climbs up his favourite tree faster than I can say M.O.N.K.E.Y. From up there my ordinarily introverted child proceeds to wave to his class fellows and yell “Hi” to my friends, often leaving them looking around wondering where the greeting came from! What’s odd however, is how every other child reacts looking at him, with an alien AWE reserved for children doing ‘bad’ things, followed closely by the disapproving looks mothers throw my way, you know the one YOU give ‘irresponsible’ mothers *eyeroll*.
When I see him collecting twigs and making sand angels, his muddy face, shirt and hair always make me smile. It reminds me of when I made wet mud meatballs as a child. Surely I would be just as dirty and yet, I have no memory of my mother even frowning at me. When did it become too ‘dangerous’ to climb trees and too ‘dirty’ to play in the mud?
Recently there has been an aggressive shift towards eating organic food, a movement back to our food roots – fresh, unprocessed, raw. Yet when it comes to play, we continually move farther and farther away from nature. I hear your rebuttal,
“Hey I take my child to football and horse-riding!”
BUT I reiterate…what our children need is a return to ORGANIC play – fresh, unprocessed and raw. Heck, get in your pjs and join them! There is something therapeutic about your feet on the cold wet grass and fingers in the mud. And while you’re re-connecting with nature, don’t forget to look up at the sky, turn off your notifications and tweets and listen…really listen to the tweeting of the birds. And while you silently enjoy the warm embrace of the sun, heal and re-connect.
They don’t call her ‘Mother’ Nature for nothing!