About a month ago, I signed up to the Wild Network. I pledged to spend one hour a day outside, reconnecting with the great outdoors and introducing my newly minted one-year-old to the joy that is time spent exploring nature. “One hour”, I thought, “that won’t be hard.”
And for the first few weeks, it wasn’t hard. But in my enthusiasm, I had neglected to notice a couple of things. First, I signed this pledge in August, when the sun was (sort of) shining. Then September hit, the heavens opened, and suddenly a day on the Marshes was looking less attractive.
Second, my son has just turned one. He can’t walk. His contribution to arts and crafts sessions at nursery is to scrumple everything up and throw it on the floor. And then try to eat it. So many of the brilliant suggestions and events on the Wild Network’s website just don’t really work for us.
Third, my usual laid back, part-time working, plenty-of-time-to-potter routine has just been rudely interrupted by performance of a major civic duty (jury service) smack bang in the busiest time of my working calendar. So I feel like I’ve been working two jobs, plus trying to keep the laundry pile to an acceptable level, plus the thousand and one other things parents do every day, and making time to sit idle in the park or go on long meandering walks has slipped a little too far down the priorities list. Somewhere after sleep. And buy groceries. And wash some nappies so we don’t have poo all over the floor. Again.
Fourth…oh who knows? Venus was in retrograde. I need a haircut. Or perhaps, these are all just excuses and what I really need is a kick up the arse.
So here it is. A digital kick up the arse. I hope that, by committing to the internet at large to get outside at least once a day with the baby, no matter the weather, state of the house, or level of panic over work commitments, I will be more inspired to keep my pledge and prioritise the important work of raising a child who is connected with the natural world. Even if he was able to use an Oyster card before he could crawl.
And I hope you’ll join me. Whether you are already a nature-loving, walks-in-the-rain family of foragers or just taking a first step to get your kids outdoors, away from screens and running (or speed-crawling) free. Join the Wild Network and pledge to make time for wild time.