friday series – let them be little & wild and free

‘let them be little’ or ‘wild and free’ have been “the” words or hashtags in the last couple of months or years used from a lot of young mothers.and i have been using them as well.they speak of freedom, a desire.they address a childhood we dearly want our kids to live and experience.for some of us, those words or sentences speak of a childhood we were never allowed to enter and for some of us, they speak of a childhood we enjoyed so much and still live/eat off it.

but let me be totally honest here.in a lot of situations or moments throughout the day, i’m not the super easy peacy calm mama who lets her two three year olds be wild and free.often i don’t find the inner peace and calmness to just let them do. a lot of times, i do stop my kids from being ‘wild and free’ or ‘just little’.sometimes i’m just too tired for another third chaos or mess.for me personally its the easiest when we’re outside.when all of my attention and concentration is with them.when i’m not distracted by things that easily distract me inside(like my phone, a call, a magazine, things and chores i need to do,…) outside, when equipped rightly according to the weather, its easiest for me to let them be ‘wild and free’ or ‘just little’. maybe thats another reason why we spend so much time outdoors or in the garden.but inside the house, thats where i have lots of boundaries. and  i tell you, we just moved into a brand new house 1,5 years ago.that says it all. with a nice woodenfloor, which in my eyes is extremely delicate to water or fat…you name it.after a few months i totally gave up.now, our floor looks like its 10 years old and it has toooons of spots and scratches.it got the used look and i quiete like it now.i even stopped washing the walls where they left their signatures.now i think, its good.i want people and our visitors to see that this is a house with kids and for kids.

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i still admire and look up to my own mother who radiated such calm and serenity with her 4 kids.i felt she really allowed us to be little and didn’t care so much about dirty, wet or ripped clothes or about her dirty kitchen.and then sometimes, i catch myself thinking, that i must have inherited or learned at least a little bit of/from her.those sometimes are moments, where i just let go.where i sit back, where i’m free of thinking a step further.where i’m in the here and now with them.where i’m enjoying their pleasure, joy, giggles, concentration, stories, songs, play,….yes, where no plans or time-schedules or thoughts of ‘oh no, i need to clean all this later on.or i have to wash all these clothes plus those girls and didn’t we have other plans afterwards’cross my mind and thoughts.in those moments it feels so easy, to just sit back and enjoy.then, if i carefully listen and feel to myself, i often meet my ‘inner child’ and then the pleasure and joy they are having jumps over to me.it becomes mine.and even though i might have spent 2 hours of cleaning the kitchen or washing clothes, i think to myself, what a great great time and experience it was for them.one i will also remember and cherish for a long time.

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when i bake our sourdough bread (which hasn’t been so regularly lately as before) most of the time the girls wanna help and be involved.sometimes i let them pour some ingredients in the big bowl.ingredients i have measured and put into little bowls before, to make it easier.when the dough is ready to be placed in the fermentation baskets, i use lots of flour to put in the baskets, then place the dough inside and the big bowl is empty.my girls love flour and sometimes talk about it and treat it like sugar.yes, they love to eat plain flour.and they love to just play with it.so a while ago i started to just let them play with the flour when the sourdough is in the basket and just needs to rise.somehow it has become a little ritual now and they ask for little bowls to put ‘their’ flour in.they play they would be bakers and they built flour mountains and flour cakes and and and.its amazing to watch them.to watch them be little and wild and free in that moment.they come up with so many ideas and talks.they literally take over the place and the more i slowly disappear or sit back, the more they feel free to dive into their own world and imagination.and this happens everytime they are allowed to play with the flour and to make a mess.until today it didn’t really go out of hand. so the mess was only on and under the table/place they were working or on them, but they are not really the characters of throughing stuff or being totally wild. then its totally ok i think to limit the area or zone of where they can make a mess.in our case, it usually takes me half an hour of cleaning the table and floor of their workingspace.washing their hands with the hard flour is taking a long time too, but with a good handbrush it works well.

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so last time when i baked sourdoughbread, i sat back, watched and took some photos.these two where so into their flourworld that i think they hardly realized that i was taking photos of them.but this time i just had to capture those half an hour or hour of them.as a memory and as an encourager for myself and maybe for you too, to let those moments happen more often.its so worth it.and our kids will remember excactly those times i think.one of my girls was even singing one song or one of her songs while playing  and i totally forgot what it was.so next time, i told myself, i have to write down or make notes or film a little video….making memories.

alright.so here’s some photos: a cheer for more moments like these.a cheer for more courage to us mothers to really let them be little, to embrace the mess and chaos for the uniqueness of their childhood.a cheer for more bright eyes, giggles and smiles and fascination.

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15 thoughts on “friday series – let them be little & wild and free

  1. Katja

    Dear Esther,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on letting kids be wild and free. And I am absolutely with you, that they should have time, in which no adult tells them what to do, in which no boundaries are set. However, like with everything in life, I am convinced that a balance is necessary here. I want my boys to go nuts in our garden, get dirty in the mud etc. and they can and should stick their fingers into bowls of flour or dough, because they shall experience different textures and the processes of making things. But, I think, they should also know that there are boundaries.
    Throwing the flour through the kitchen to act like it was snowing is not ok. Eating (possibly poisonous) plant parts is not ok. Not respecting the sphere of others (humans and animals) is not ok. I want them to understand that we live in a society, in a community, in a constant exchange with other people, animals and plants and we have to respect them as well. I want them to say thank you when they get a little extra at the bakery. I want them to say hi to people we know and meet on the street.
    There is a time for everything. And there most certainly should be a time for being wild and free (although that sounds a little contradictory). Because that is when the best childhood memories are made. And then there is the time when my husband and I teach our boys the “boundaries” of life (by being the best role models we can be) that arise from living in a society/community… (Oops, that turned out quite long. Sorry for that). Take care!

    Katja

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    1. esther

      hi katja, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with me here.i’m glad you did as it showed me that i left out some important thoughts and parts on that topic.i guess that happens if you quickly write a post just before midnight….upps.

      i’m totally with you about the boundries.for us this is a very important aspect of how we raise our kids.boundries, i think, are totally necessary to give them security in many ways.and as you said, then there are times where its important to just let them do.in my case i think there is no lack of setting boundries.thats why for me the challenge is to install more moments of where these aren’t there.the balance of both is wonderful i think.and every parent knows i guess which part can grow and be stronger …and my intention was not to point out that our kids have to have circumstances where they can be wild and free all the time.i’m speaking of myself here and from what i see with people i’m surrounded, i think the side of letting them be more wild and free can absolutly me more.we just need to find the right circumstances and times.for me personally, as i said, this is most possible when we move and live outside.it also doesn’t mean that i let them eat and do whatever they want.i’m their parent and i have to make sure to provide the right environment and circumstances where they can just be.thank you again for sharing your thoughts here and some important aspects that go along with the topic.i hope all viewers read those comments now 🙂 best greetings, esther*

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  2. Katja

    And – I forgot to add – we should not feel sorry for not always letting them be wild and free. Because, in my opinion, boundaries are necessary and precious experiences for children as well.

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  3. Martha

    My son is coming up to 2 and I am navigating my way through similar feelings. I really appreciated this post, which I came to via Instagram, and Katja’s comment. We are working to find balance in being free and also being aware of our world, this morning we finished a long time of free (i.e. messy!) play with a ‘tidy up’ song, putting everything back into its place and making things ready for lunchtime. This little ritual felt as valuable as the hours of play and in these small moments I feel like we’re finding our rhythm. Thank you again for your honest sharing on your blog, it’s so wonderful that mothers can connect across the globe. Martha

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    1. esther

      thank you martha for sharing here.this sounds wonderful.and you describe it just perfectly.the tieding up part is so helpful and important for them too.this way they learn that both parts belong together.even though i have to say that mostly its still me who really cleans up the mess here.here the girls put away certain essentials of cooking/kitchen stuff where they can reach the shelfs or drawers after baking.or they take their little brooms.they are involved and know they can clean up as well.and sometimes they are offended when mama cleans again their spots.all the best to you and your little son.esther*

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  4. Marietje

    O yes, I agree, more mothers should ‘let them be’ more often when it comes to messy things. You just can’t keep things clean with children. They just don’t have the skills to help cooking/baking without making a mess, but it may not be an argument for not let them help you. You can always clean afterwards and they have a great time and learnt things.
    When our oldest was two we gave her a sandbox. And with that there was a lot more sand in our house. In the beginning I was getting crazy, but now (with two more girls playing in it) I’m just fine with it. I let them only go inside through our kitchen and they have to brush their shoes (for as good as it gets). I have to sweep our kitchen floor three times a day anyway, bacause I have messy eaters too.
    I always feel sad for my niece when we visit their house. The girls may not do a lot, because things could get messy…
    I love design furniture, but a house must be lived in. You always can buy a new thing (or use a temporary cheaper thing), but you can’t go back in time and regret not letting them be little…

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  5. esther

    dear marietje, thank you for reading.and thank you for sharing your view here.i’m so with you.and what you describe with all the sand in the house.oh my.same here.same here.with the sandbox right at the house.my broom goes through the kitchen and livingroom three times a day i guess.i get more and more relaxed with it, but i had to learn in the beginning.and just as you said: you can buy mew stuff for the house or whatever, but you can’t go back in time and regret not letting them be little…wonderful truth.all the best,esther*

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  6. Angela

    Liebe Esther,

    vielen Dank für diesen Post. Ich kenne Deine Gedanken nur zu gut. Ich würde unsere beiden Jungs gern viel öfter “einfach machen lassen”, ich ertappe mich aber leider immer wieder dabei, dass mir das nicht gelingt – aus genau den Gründen, die Du hier beschreibst: manchmal bin ich zu müde, zu angespannt oder leider einfach nicht richtig bei der Sache, im Moment. Weil ich Dinge im Kopf habe, die im Grunde nicht so wichtig sind: “ich muss das nachher alles wieder waschen, sauber machen”, …”eigentlich wollte ich doch…”, “wir müssen doch noch…” “wenn das jetzt runterknallt…”. Manchmal glaube ich, dass auch die oft so “heile Welt” wie sie uns auf Instagram & Co. entgegenschlägt (und dich ich ja auch sehr inspirierend finde und nicht missen möchte), etwas unter Druck setzt, weil wir eben nicht 24 Stunden, 7 Tage die Woche diese perfekte Welt zuhause haben.

    Mittlerweile gelingt es mir viel besser, Momente einfach laufen zu lassen, aber auch ich bin draußen damit viel entspannter als mit dem frisch gewischten Holzboden oder dem Badezimmer, das unter Wasser steht, nachdem die Jungs in der Badewanne waren.

    Manchmal hilft es mir, wenn ich mir vorstelle, ich würde über genau diese Situation lesen und plötzlich merke ich, dass ich gar nicht so reagiere, wie ich es mir von mir selbst wünsche. Dann schalte ich einen Gang zurück und nehme den Moment so, wie er gerade ist. Und wirklich JEDES MAL habe ich ein gutes Gefühl, ein Lächeln auf dem Gesicht, weil ich weiß, dass das genau das Richtige war. Abends sind es meist genau die Momente, von denen die Jungs erzählen, wenn wir uns vorm Schlafengehen erzählen, was heute schön war. Scheint, als würde es funktionieren…

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    1. esther

      liebe angela.danke für deine gedanken hier.und deine taktik mit den eher nicht so gut laufenden momenten umzugehen, klingt fantastisch.danke fürs teilen.manchmal ist es so, dass man dann doch ganz anders reagiert als man glaubt.so ging es mir letzte woche auch als ich mit den beiden in einem vollgepackten zug sass und sie beide anfingen zu schrien.aus müdigkeit und aus überforderung heraus.dass ich ihm flüsterton gan leise und behutsam mit beiden minutenlang geredet habe und sie geschunkelt habe, dass hätte ich mir vorher auch nicht so vorstellen können.aber manchmal reagiert man dann doch entspannter als man vorher glaubt.oder fährt n gang wieder zurück und nimmt den moment so wie er ist.ganz wunderbar. euch alles alles gute und ganz liebe grüße.esther*

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  7. Stephanie

    Liebe Esther,
    Vielen Dank für deine Gedanken und deine Ehrlichkeit!
    Mein kleiner ist nun 20 Monate alt und fordert immer mehr das “alleine” ein. Und so stolz ich bin zu sehen, was er alles kann und versucht, manchmal kostet es so viel Kraft Geduld zu haben und andere Wege zuzulassen – vor allem wenn man glaubt, grade keine Zeit zu haben oder wie du auch schreibst, sich Dreck, Chaos und kleine Katastrophen ihren Weg bahnen. Ich habe das Bedürfnis meinem Kind ein besonders schönes, sauberes und duftendes Zuhause zu bieten. Und dann frage ich mich, was eigentlich wichtig ist? Ist nicht auch der Duft nach Gebäck und leckerem Essen ausreichend? Was ist ein besonders schönes Zuhause?
    Auch draußen bin ich leider nicht so entspannt wie ich gerne würde. Wir leben in Berlin ohne Garten. Und obwohl ich selbst hier aufgewachsen bin, empfinde ich die Stadt nicht als geeignet für Kinder. Sie ist so gefährlich, rauh und respektlos. Wir überlegen hier alles aufzugeben. Aber noch ist dieser Entschluss nicht gereift. Entschuldige, dass ich etwas weiter ausgeschweift bin! Dein Bericht hat mir gezeigt, wie Leben auch anders aussehen kann… Danke dafür! Alles Liebe Stephanie

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    1. esther

      liebe stephanie.danke dir für das teilen deiner gedanken und erfahrungen hier.ich denke es ist tatsächlich beides.ein sauberes und duftendes zuhause ist doch ganz wunderbar.ordnung und struktur dienen auch unseren kindern wie ich finde.ein 24 stunden 7 tage chaos würde wohl niemandem dienen.zeiten während des tages zu haben, wo man die kinder einfach kinder sein lassen kann und machen lassen kann, wenn man den richtigen rahmen hat oder dafür geschaffen hat, wäre ganz fabelhaft.auch draussen in der stadt, im park orte zu finden, wo kinder einfach kinder sein können und sich entfalten können, da fängts an.das reicht oftmals schon.draussen, nicht in der gr0ßstadt ist es leichter und wahrscheinlich einfach viel schneller und öfter umzusetzen.ich wünsche euch alles gute in berlin und auch bei der entscheidungsfindung wo ihr leben wollt und wann….alles hat seine zeit.alles liebe dir und ganz herzliche grüße,esther*

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  8. Pingback: Thoughts on the Instagram hashtags “wild and free children” & “let them be little” | Some memories of …

  9. Julia Roscher

    Liebe Esther, als du vom Mehl essen schriebst, musste ich so an meine eigene Kindheit denken. Damals machten wir eine Führung in der Zschoner Mühle (Dresden) mit und nachdem der Müller erklärt hatte, wie durch Wasserkraft die Mühlsteine bewegt werden, durfte man an einer Stelle das Mehl kosten. Mir schmeckte es damals so sehr, dass ich mir in alle Jacken- und Hosentaschen eine Menge davon lud. Es war anders als das Mehl was man kaufen konnte, es schmeckte wirklich nach etwas, und hatte noch kleine Steinchen vom Mahlstein drin. Noch lange später sorgte die Geschichte von dem Mehl in den Taschen für ein Schmunzeln in meiner Familie. … Ich kann deine Töchter also gut verstehen … Liebe Grüße von Julia aus Dresden

    Liked by 1 person

    1. esther

      Liebe Julia,ohhh wie schön zu hören.Und dann noch von der Zschoner Mühle, die mir bekannt vorkommt….zumindest vom Hören und Sagen.Dein Erlebnis klingt wunderbar.Und es ist ja wirklich so: So so viele Kinder essen gern Mehl. Ich hoffe die Mädels naschen hier noch fleissig weiter und können sich noch lange für Mehl begeistern. Grüsse mir ganz lieb meine Heimat….das schöne Dresden, Hach.
      Liebe Grüße, Esther*

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