I have recently discovered a new intolerance. I’m inside intolerant. Too much time inside leaves me irritable, cranky, and blue.

I tried something new recently. The kids and I went to the playground on our way home in the evening. I knew if I went home first, I would be immediately sucked into the necessary life prep of dinner, laundry, and gearing up for the next day. My chances of finding calm would fade with the evening sun.

I wish I could say I was Mary Poppins-ish in my spontaneity: ensuring we were all dressed appropriately, stocked with healthy snacks, and a positive attitude. Not really though. Leaving daycare, I got caught up on the day’s activities, fielded requests for food, (and some song from Barney,) and growled that “we are going to the playground.” I didn’t have casual stuff to change into, so this left me navigating the slides in my dressier work clothes.

At one point, I clumsily pushed a tri-cycle and stroller (both stowed in trunk) while walking with small playground pebbles in my shoes. It was almost enough to drive me nuts, but still like gold for my psyche.

I enjoy -no- I need time to breathe fresh air deeply, and stare at the sky, and appreciate trees. Probably one of the hardest parts of our last year, while adding a baby has been wonderful, has been learning how to practically meet the needs of four people, instead of three. The needs increase but the time does not.

Therefore, at the risk of me going bat crap crazy, I literally need a “time out.” Fresh air makes me a better person – and brings me closer to the Mary Poppins Zen of my parenting fantasies.

I’m also learning how to treat my intolerance during the work day: blocking out my lunch break for tree admiring, walking, and sitting in the sun. I put an extra lamp in my office, and pictures of a local botanical garden to look at when I am feeling “stuck.” Green plants hold promise that the great outdoors is not too far away.

Mother nature is a fantastic life coach. I’m going to let her cheer me more often.