The kids and I always enjoy a ritual weekend walk and when I say “enjoy”, I actually mean forced too, as it’s one of the few things in life which is free. However on this weekends walk, I saw my youngest maniac in a whole new light!

I’m sure you, like me, have had one of those ‘comedy value’ days begging the question; “Are light coloured clothes a valid option for a child under 18?”. I asked myself this question the other day, whilst dressing my three-year-old mini maniac in the tones and hews of duck egg blue. Her hair may have resembled that of Edward scissor hands, but her outfit choice was on point.

4 adults and 8 children later we set off for our #MOMwalk, pulling up at our destination, the weather was glorious (a bit like my daughter’s outfit) the sun was shining, but wait, in the near distance there were muddy puddles EVERYWHERE. All of a sudden my heart started to pounce, recalling that yes, my three-year-old daughter had been introduced to Peppa Pig some 12 months earlier (purely for my own selfish need, 18 minutes of peace).

Sweat beading down my face with the concern that duck egg blue would soon become a distant memory, I started to gather the group for a photo to buy me some time on my move.

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However minutes after the photo was taken, Hatti was off heading down the path to destruction. More Puddles! Before I had the chance to run after her, I heard my eldest Maniac Poppy calling “Mummy, Mummy look at me”, I turn around and I can not see this child for the life of me, again I hear “Mummmmmmmyyyyy” ! Where is this little voice coming from? baffled and now starting to get frantic, questioning myself “WHERE THE F*!K IS MY BLOODY CHILD”, I then look up to see the skinniest tree in the history of all trees and my 6-year-old balancing on one of the most fragile twigs, in the history of all twigs. The panic started to set in looking at my big brave girl who’d managed to climb this tall frail tree, more sweat beading down my face, wondering what to do…..So I did the only thing I knew how, I took out my phone and took a picture.

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Trying to coax Poppy down from the tree with some form of leftover food from my bag and looking a bit similar to Edward Scissor hands myself now, I saw a couple appear next to me.

” I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you allow your children to be free-spirited and just enjoy playing outside and being children,” said the woman. “Yea, Yea its great” I replied, one eye on my child and the skinny twigs, the other eye on the couple trying to be social.

“Honestly, We really admire that you are letting your children really enjoy the outside and not worry about what they look like, too many parents worry about what their children look like these days,” said the gentlemen.

At this point I’m thinking, give the girl a break, she is six, I personally wouldn’t have put those purple wellies on with that jumper, but to say she is six and dressed, I think she did a bloody good job.

“Haha, thanks” I replied again trying to be polite. Turning my attention back to Poppy and at this point looking for pound coins to bribe her down the tree, I hear the couple start to speak again…

” I mean, just look at her, isn’t she adorable jumping up and down”…

Eh, Poppy isn’t jumping up and down… I stopped. I turned. Noooooo.

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It got worse…

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Then it got much worse….Apart from it being absolutely bloody freezing, Hatti now soaking wet through and being completely unorganized. This had to be the day I forgot to pack the spare clothes. Actually, Who am I kidding I never pack spare clothes. Hatti starts to strip off down to her bare bottom…

One child up a tree, the other one stripping off, I agree with the couple at how ‘great’ free-spirited children are, When really I’m thinking, this is not the day for no spare clothes and free-spirited children. Grabbing Poppy from the tree, which I’ve now climbed up and waving ta’ra to the couple, we run over to Hatti, who now has no leggings on, yet managed to put her wellies back on and looking an absolute sight. I exhaust all clothing options, call in the help of the #MOMSquad and collectively we decide that the best option is to use her jacket as ski pants, her 11 year old cousins jumper as a dress, my socks for shoes and to keep her in the pram.

(Yes – her legs are in the arms of the brown jacket.)

Continuing to walk along the path pushing the pram, I couldn’t help but think about what the couple I met earlier were saying. I thought about Hatti’s clothes and I thought about how much fun she was having jumping up and down in the muddy puddles.

Was it such a big deal that she had got wet and muddy? Was it such a big deal that she looked that Edward Scissor hands gone wrong right now? Stopping the pram and looking at Hatti, the smile had vanished from her face. This is not what parenting is about, this experience was a reminder that parenting is about letting your children run wild (When they can) and just letting them be children. If your children are smiling and happy, they’re safe and not harming anyone. Does it matter what they look like or what fun they are having?

With this epiphany, I knelt down, unclipped the pram and said out loud “Run free my child”.

And so she did.

And ever since that walk, I learned to always pack a spare set of clothes….again, who am I kidding, I still don’t pack a spare set of clothes. But I do embrace muddy puddles, free spirit, and happy children.

A lot of the pressures we put on ourselves as parents, are that of other peoples pressures and ‘keeping up with appearances’. Yes, my children maybe have maniac tendencies from time to time, but they are good children, kind children, healthy children (touch wood) and happy children. And to say they are happy after what they have gone through already in their tiny lives is something I am proud of. So I say, let them be happy.

Thank you for reading #MOMsquad

Jess xx