You ever picture parenting different than what you are experiencing? I know I did…still do. Part of picturing myself as a mom involved chasing the kids through the yard in a friendly game of tag, playing in the dirt and mud, crafts going on, and my kids curled up under a fort as we read books. I pictured what you see in magazines. I remember recently looking at a Pottery Barn Kids magazine and seeing this sweet scene of a child about 3 years old painting peacefully on her easel in her child friendly craft room. Everything was organized for the kids to access at need. Her brother, not much older, was in the back ground with an array of crafts on the table. The room was spotless except for the few supplies they needed. It looked like they had been there for hours creating and could go on forever. Yup, that’s what I pictured parenting would look like. Reality? Not so much. The fact is that I have an easel, but I would never leave the paints down and available for the kids to actually use it at their own whim. I would have paint all over the house. Crafts supplies are not easily accessible, and when I bring them all out there is glitter in every crevice of the room and the room is a disaster. There are toys I’m tripping on in the kitchen. Some times the kids stay focused and excited about a game or project for a long time, but that generally involves a lot of involvement and excitement from me rather than me pulling out the supplies and them just doing. OK – This is a huge lead in. My point is that I imagined all of these picturesque scenes that aren’t reality. Some of that is because I had no clue what it really meant to be a mom. Another part of that, however, is my own laziness. I loved the thought of having my kids play in the dirt and mud…until I had kids. Then, I just imagined the clean up afterward. I saw that they may only be occupied with this activity for 5 minutes and then the clean up would be 30 minutes. A big part of this blog feels like a bucket list for parenting. Not that I’m planning to croak anytime soon, but I have wanted to do all of my “I should” moments that I was avoiding due to laziness. I am trying to be more intentional and thrive in this job rather than just survive. One of my “I should…” thoughts was letting my kids get really, really muddy doing activities. For many moms this is a daily thing. For me, I imagine the clean up afterward. I imagine potential tears from being wet, cold and dirty. These things trumped my desire to really let kids be kids. I hate to admit that I’ve wanted to keep them clean for my own convenience. All that to tell you that today we made mud pies.