I don’t know about you but it feels like we’ve had a the longest winter in the history of winters this year – do you know what I mean? Freeeeeeezing cold evenings, frost bitten mornings, dragging yourself to work in the gloom, trudging home in the dark. Grey days and that hideous incessant fog like drizzle that makes even my dead straight hair frizzy. It’s gone on so long we’ve started having genuine conversations about emigrating somewhere warm. Seriously now, enough’s enough.
So with the first day of spring looming on the 20th March, when we were asked to be part of British Military Fitness’s #SpringIntoAction campaign it felt like a sign. If there was a campaign about spring, springlike weather must surely be on it’s way too, right? So we jumped on the chance and prayed that it would be a good omen. And our brief was to ‘Get outdoors and muddy’. So far, so simple.
Like magic, the sun peeped out last weekend and I was like a woman possessed. The poor kids didn’t know what had hit them. I was a whirlwind of ‘where are the sunglasses? And flinging lightweight jackets and welly boots over my head out of the cupboard. And filling rucksacks with anything and everything I could lay my hands on.
To. Just. Get. Outside.
While we’re a family that generally doesn’t sit still for long (especially our 2 year old who averages about 15,000 steps a day, I kid you not) our kids are still compellingly drawn towards the cult that is CBeebies given the chance. It really really pains me to say this, but Mamas it’s the truth.
And when the weather’s crap, or we’re both dog tired, or we JUST WANT TO FINISH A CUP OF TEA WHILE IT’S HOT FOR ONCE! The dreaded screen is our saviour. You know what I’m saying.
But on days like this one, their’s was a useless fight. The whines and strops were futile. The shouted ‘NO!’ and face down on the floor tantrum at my ‘put your coats on’ request, ignored with not a single cross word or impatient ‘come on!’ from me.
The sun was shining. There was no rain. We were GOING OUT and it was going to be EPIC!
First stop, the woods. Every time we come here I think how blimmin lucky we are; despite living in the middle of a major city, we have this amazing place – no wait, oasis – just minutes from our doorstep.
Miles and miles of footpaths and trees to climb and hills to clamber up and swoosh down.
As soon as the car stopped and virtually before we had the brake locked on,the door was open and our 5 year shot off in her wellies down the footpath until she was a speck in the distance.
Luckily she came back – all rosy cheeked and chuffed with herself and slightly hysterical, high on fresh air and extra oxygen from all those ferns;
We had a good old stomp through the woods, got all over excited and muddy collecting fallen branches and constructing a very intricately planned den;
Before practising making a real fire ‘to cook our dinner on Mummy’.
And played sword fights and making spells. If this had been at home, games like these would 100% have ended in tears. And not just theirs. Which in itself is worth being hysterically happy about.
We spent a good 45 minutes hunting for fairies and even I was pretty convinced we spotted some glitter footsteps. Never stop believing people!
In over 2 hours….not a single ‘what can we do now Mummy?’, ‘I’m bored Mummy’ or ‘Can I have a snack Mummy’. For a whole 2 hours. Which frankly is a minor – nay major – miracle.
Those 2 hours were as endorphin inducing as any run I’ve ever done and made us all beam. And made me pine for my 80s childhood, where we were literally thrown out the back gate and told to go and play and not to come back until dinner time. Simpler times, I guess but I live in hope for the same for our kids too. Without the back gate bit as living in a tightly packed together row of Victorian Terraces we don’t have quite the same ‘Go Explore!’ opportunity. But you get the gist.
On the way home, puffed out and covered in dirt and leaves the kids asked if we could stop off for a scoot through the deer park. I suspect the lure of the ice cream van influenced the request, but the sun was out and a Mr Whippy each is like law on days like these, so of course we stopped.
We said hello to the deer.And I did my usual: Knock knock. Who’s There? No Eye. No Eye Who? No Eye Deer *Ahem*. Sorry, I know it’s awful but it still makes me laugh every time. Lyla calls it my ‘Mum Joke’. I’m in denial at what she means by that.
It was a beautifully dazzling, good for the soul kind of afternoon.
The sort you never want to end.
Even though you know with all that running around and fresh air and massive ice cream related sugar crash that bedtime will be a nightmare. Even knowing that, you don’t want it to end.
So, as Spring officially begins this weekend – and Easter is close behind – get outdoors Mamas.
Forget about the pile of ironing or the weekly shop. Turn off your phones and all those screens.
Get your wellies on and find any excuse to get outdoors and muddy. The rewards (and the smiles) are priceless.
Mel Bound is the founder of fast growing women’s running community This Mum Runs, with a dream to inspire women of all shapes, sizes and abilities to get their trainers on and just give running a go. To find out about fab women’s only courses and classes, check out the website www.thismumruns.co.uk . And to join in the fun of their Facebook community click here
Wherever you go this Easter, share your pics on Twitter or Instagram and tag them with #SpringIntoAction You’ll be entered into a fab competition for a bundle of fun prizes for the whole family all courtesy of British Military Fitness. Check out fab outdoor bootcamp sessions from British Military Fitness here too: www.britmilfit.com