Have you ever had a parenting pause?
That moment when you stopped and looked around and thought “what am I doing”? “Why am I allowing this to happen? How did we get this point?”
Last weekend I realized that I was being a lazy, I was taking the easy way out of dealing with situations, almost as if I was giving up on what really matters. It was Saturday morning and I watched my 6-year-old veg out on the couch watching TV and eating Halloween candy. To her this was probably the best way to spend a Saturday morning. To me this was not my ideal moment in parenting. Nor did it make me feel good inside.
It was a parent fail. I was ready to give in and let her do what she wanted because I was tired of arguing and trying to think of things to do. And then it happened the parenting pause came into play. It took a moment for me to really take a look around me and to decide what was really important – a clean house or happy children? That is when it hit me, I stopped loading the dishwasher and took a moment to think back to my childhood.
Where do I find myself the happiest? Being at the cottage and being in nature, exploring forests and being surrounded by trees and birds and water is probably my favourite pastime. I know it is for my children too. So I made a game out of it. Trust me it did not take a lot of energy either, I told Squeak that I remembered a place where I thought I saw some troll tracks and fairies and asked if she would like to explore the woods with me.
She was on board, it didn’t take long to pack up our things to go on a nature walk. We were at a trail near our house in a flash. All nature walkers need a walking stick, rubber boots (to splash in puddles), a hat and good ears and eyes to look and listen for trolls. They usually reside under a bridge. Make sure you mark your way with your stick.
My husband and I have been night walking around our ‘hood for the past nine weeks and we have seen a tremendous difference in our children. They are happy, and tired and enjoy being outside. We walk in the rain, sleet, slush, mud, cold.
Now on weekends we are hiking and exploring trails. Just seeing my children truly smile means the world to me. If you have that parent pause where you think what am I doing? Something needs to change. Get out into nature. You will not regret it!
Shari Nelson is an advertising sales rep at City Parent and a contributor to the magazine's social media, including Facebook and Twitter. She has a background in Early Child Care Education. She has two daughters a 6-year-old, a 1-year and 10-year-old dog. She aspires to not have too much “Stuff”. She challenges herself and her amazing, talented carpenter husband to be fit and healthy.