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Say Yes to More Mud Puddles: Reclaiming Joy in Childhood

Have we taken too much JOY out of childhood? Regulated away all the fun? Say Yes to More Mud Puddles and soak up the moments that make life worth living.(Last Updated On: September 20, 2017)

Have we taken too much JOY out of childhood? Are we so concerned about doing everything perfectly that we’ve forgotten how to just have fun? More importantly, have we regulated all the fun out of childhood?

She came inside from riding bikes and asked if she could jump in the puddle. Bonus points for her asking prior to becoming a muddy mess!

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Would I say Yes to more mud puddles?

I let my daughter jump in a puddle. Yes, neatnik, OCD, clean freak ME let my daughter jump in a puddle, a grassy, muddy puddle.

I don’t think I gave much thought to which puddle she meant, but I said, “Sure.” In a moment of clarity, I knew that saying NO was easier, but saying YES was better.

My husband was not in favor, but it was a warmish day for Alabama in January, and she’s a kid. Kids need to get dirty sometimes, to toss away rules, to play with abandon.

Letting her be a kid was more important than her getting wet & muddy.

I wasn’t going to let her swim across the English channel. It was just a puddle, for Pete’s sake.

I wrapped her feet in plastic bags up to her knees, tucked them inside her boots and sent her off with instructions not to jump in higher than her boots, knowing she probably would get muddier and wetter, but making a motherly attempt to mitigate the damage anyways.

Have we taken too much JOY out of childhood? Regulated away all the fun? Say Yes to More Mud Puddles and soak up the moments that make life worth living.

A few minutes later, I heard joyful shrieking so I went to peek. The “puddle” was actually at the bottom of the deepish ditch at the house next door and she was fairly wet and muddy up to her hips.

And she was laughing. The boy next door was rolling in it. He jumped up, soaked from head to toe, shaking the water off like a dog. My sweet girl was giggling hysterically. She jumped across the puddle, spraying muddy, grassy water in all directions.

I smiled and walked away from the window, fairly certain that she wouldn’t come home with typhus from playing in the rain water run off from our yard.

She was going to need a bath. Her clothes would need stain treatment the minute she got home. But for a few minutes, she was blissfully just playing in the mud.

And I let her, despite myself, thank goodness.

For the moment, she was blissfully playing in the mud puddles. And I let her, despite myself. Click To Tweet

Despite myself. Despite my desire for order and structure. And despite trying to do this motherhood thing perfectly, I recognized childhood is for getting muddy and being wild?

I should have grabbed my camera to capture the gigantic grin on her face as we stripped her down in the garage, but I was too busy being in the moment with her.

I did remember a similar smile from a too early spring day when I said yes to the sprinklers.

All joy despite being chilly and wet. Sometimes we just have to say yes to more mud puddles and sprinklers.Have we taken too much JOY out of childhood? Regulated away all the fun? Say Yes to More Mud Puddles and soak up the moments that make life worth living.

I can think back in my life and count the precious few times I played in the mud or danced in the rain, and isn’t that a shame.

I spent too much time worried about the mess instead of reveling in the joy that can come from a little controlled chaos.

Life is pretty hard and miserable often. Life is too short almost always. I have to spend a lot of time saying variations of NO!

No, don’t eat that. Don’t lick that. No, don’t shove a pencil eraser in your nose. Please don’t get messy before church. No, we can’t play in the rain today. I’m sorry, no, mommy can’t fix that. No, mommy can’t make life fair.

So sometimes, I want to say yes! Dance in the rain. Play in the sprinkler. Jump in the puddle. Eat ice cream for dinner. Watch too much TV. Make noise. Sure, you can have extra bubbles in the bath, an impromptu play-date picnic, an extra story or a game with mommy.

Suffering, trials, hard work, and tough times are ‘givens’ in this world.

Sadly, fun is not always as easy although we can learn to have JOY despite difficult circumstances.  So, we have to seize those moments when we can and teach our children to as well.

God gave us laughter and happiness. I believe he delights in our joy. And this mom is going to say yes to mud puddles more often.

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15 thoughts on “Say Yes to More Mud Puddles: Reclaiming Joy in Childhood

  1. Love it! You know, I think when we provide controlled chaos for our children when they are children, they won’t regress to just plain chaos when they are older in order to make up for it. Some kids always hear no and are expected to meet this unattainable standard, catapulting them unwillingly into maturity. When, realistically, these kids never do mature fully because they weren’t allowed to just be kids. A beautiful reminder that saying yes to a child is just as crucial as saying no, and we, as their parents, can experience the amazing joy that ir brings!

  2. Such a good reminder! Childhood is so short! ♡♡♡

  3. This was one of my Parenting Resolutions for 2015- to say yes more. 🙂 Good job, mom! Thanks for linking up at Women With Intention Wednesdays!

  4. This is so beautiful! I wish I could have witnessed this moment…maybe I would have joined your daughter in the mud puddle! You are so right…sometimes we just have to let go of our reservations and live a little. I am so glad you are teaching your daughter this important lesson. 🙂

    1. Today, I let her use the kitchen knife to julienne! Under supervision, but so much fun!

  5. I used to make mud pies with my cousins. Happy times. Sweet memories. Really good post. 🙂

  6. I love this post! I agree…..they’re kids. They need to be allowed to explore, get dirty, make messes….and just be…kids! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love this for so many reasons! I have been so guilty of restraining my kids from just being kids. Now they are teenagers and I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is to be flexible. I try to remember these words of wisdom from a much older, wiser woman – “Say yes to as many things as you can and save the nos for the really important things.”

  8. Great reminder that we should ALL take the time to have a little fun. Let down our hair and enjoy the little things every once in a while. These are the things that one day we will look back at and maybe wish we HAD done. I want to be sure that I do!

  9. I love to join in! And I wanted to make sure that my son got to have a childhood that he enjoyed, they are kids for such a short amount of time that I wanted him to enjoy as much as he could – so playing in puddles and playing in the rain was commonplace! Clothes and bodies can be washed! Of course, then came the day when it was raining and I wouldn’t let him go play in it – it was hard for him to understand the difference between the safe warm rain and a cold rain! LOL

  10. Yes. I need to remember this more often.

    1. We all do. I need to remember this when she asks to help in the kitchen too. We can always order pizza, memories are harder to come by.

  11. Love this! I have the same thoughts when Joe and Jake go tearing across the yard, straight to our muddy field after a big rain. Sometimes you just have to let it go and get messy. 🙂

    1. And sometimes, I need to join in even!

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