With all of this extra time on my hands, I felt added pressure to be a “good mom” (like Instagram/Joanna Gaines good). In my head, this meant stuff like cooking beautiful meals from scratch, never turning on the TV, and structured arts and crafts time. It also seemed like the time to foster my daughter’s love for the outdoors…
My first day home alone with Hannah, who just turned 2, started out pretty well. After a good, hearty breakfast, we headed out into the backyard to see what kinds of “treasures” we could find in the woods. After stumbling across a couple of golf balls, some “really cool” pine cones, and a few rocks, our morning quickly unraveled. She had decided that it was too windy out and proceeded to throw a fit until we got back inside. For the record, it was 50 degrees and there was a very slight breeze. After trying to convince her that it was a nice day and we should head back out, I gave up, hung up our coats and sat down in front of the TV. At first, I was super annoyed and frustrated that she didn’t WANT to take part in any of my “super fun” activities, but the more I thought about it, I realized that I had to take a step back and follow her lead.
The next morning, we woke up and started getting ready for the day (at this point one of my only goals is to get her out of her pj’s by noon). It was another beautiful day, so I told Hannah that I wanted to go outside. Well, she was insistent that she was going to stay inside and have a snack. A full 10 minutes later, we finally reached a compromise—I grabbed her yogurt and goldfish and we headed out into the yard with a picnic blanket for snack time. As we sat and enjoyed our snacks, I looked over to see Hannah with the biggest smile on her face looking up at the sky. I asked her what was up and she promptly scolded me, saying, “Shh Mama, I can hear a Woodpeck(er).” I was stoked! This was the enjoyment in the outdoors that I had been trying to force on her, but all it took was going outside on her own terms.
Picnics are her new favorite, and every time the sun is shining she asks if we can go outside and look for more animals. So far we’ve seen a ton of birds, turkeys, and deer, and her excitement every time she sees anything is contagious. Since then, we haven’t gotten hung up on any structured outdoor activities, but instead focused on just getting out here!