I’ve recently got a job writing for Natural Parent Magazine. Thinking back on when my son was a pre-schooler has been great fun (and a bit nostalgic!)

Here’s the first of the articles I’ve written, which I hope you enjoy.

Having young children is all-consuming… every day can easily be filled with dressing, feeding, changing, walking, washing, repeat… but should it?

To give the best to your child, perhaps you also need to make time for yourself? I’ve found that these things don’t have to be mutually exclusive and I can spend time with my child actively enjoying things that give me satisfaction or joy and so it can be fulfilling time for both of us.

“I’ve made this philosophy my lifestyle.”

Working in the home and garden when the weather and time allows, I’ve gradually explored and then got so much satisfaction from a whole range of hobbies and activities that fit with my values and have allowed my child to flourish as part of a coastal country lifestyle.

What kind of things? Well, currently I’m making some of my own skin care products, designing a new garden, collecting seafood, keeping chickens, doing art and sewing projects, growing my own fruit and vegetables, cooking, preserving and loving life!

Jack has been my little helper and playmate and I approach these tasks with that mentality.

We have no deadlines; we strive to enjoy the journey, not worrying about arriving at the destination and there are always jobs that Jack can help with.
I take the time to set him up with the same activity that I’m doing (albeit in a safer, simpler way) and then we work alongside one another – talking, comparing and taking pleasure in each other’s company, as well as getting my work done.

If we’re outside, we stop to make daisy chains and to examine bugs and beetles (Jack is much fonder of this activity than me). At the same time, I might be weeding a garden or mixing compost. Jack has his own trowel and he’s great at clearing an area ready for replanting. Delicate little seedlings are less safe in his hands, but I’ll leave that task for another day.

If we’re cooking, we make tiny biscuits for fairies or write our names in dough, as well as bake other things. Giving my child knowledge of ingredients and an understanding of where food comes from and how it is combined when we cook are really important things for me.

“One of my proudest moments was when Jack was hungry one day and ran out to the veggie garden rather than to the fridge.”

I saw him sitting on the edge of a raised bed showing his younger friend how to shell then eat early broad beans.

There is a lot of satisfaction to be had from the processes of stirring and tasting too, with the benefit of having delicious things for the family to eat, as well as knowing we have grown some of the produce that graces our table.

Jack also enjoys collecting the eggs from our chickens. Chickens are pretty funny creatures with wonderful personalities so getting to know a few of them a bit better can be great fun. They are the descendants of dinosaurs, so their scaly clawed feet hold endless fascination for Jack. The chooks are curious and rush about with funny wobbly runs and tilts of their heads. Ours are tame enough to pick up and cuddle and we stroke their silky feathers and listen to the soft clucking noises they make as they investigate the leftovers we’ve brought them to eat.

Having pets is such a great thing for kids; it teaches them about kindness and caring, as well as big concepts like life and death.
Last year, we buried a pet rabbit in the garden, with full funeral rites, poems and flower garlands.

Life can be rich and full of great joy and great sadness. I try and incorporate my passions and interests into my parenting and sharing all of that enthusiasm and my emotions (whether happy or sad) with my child… it’s a fabulous journey.


This article was first published by Natural Parent Magazine.
See the original article here.