This fall, forget the dishes and take your children outdoors!

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These photos were taken yesterday, a day that got up to 70F in October, a day that was bright, sunny, and unexpectedly beautiful. My daughter and I just returned from a trip to Ohio last week and my suitcase is still sitting unpacked in the middle of our kitchen floor, there’s laundry to be done, dinners to be planned, and a host of other chores on my long to-do list. But I simply couldn’t keep us indoors yesterday while this was going on outside. A mama’s gotta have priorities, right?

We spent the morning biking around our house and neighborhood. Then home we went for nap time and lunch before setting out by bike for the remainder of the afternoon. We explored new parks, walked around downtown, visited a bike shop, had a picnic in another park, and then rode home tired and happy at the end of the day. Just in time for a quick dinner, storytime, and bed.

I’ve heard friends say that they simply can’t ignore the dishes when they’re piled high in the sink and I’ve fallen victim to domesticity guilt on many an occasion myself. It’s especially hard not to feel neglectful when sitting at home and it’s all right there, staring you right in the face: the clothes spilling out of the unpacked suitcase, only opened to retrieve the necessities and then promptly ignored. The mail on the counter and the toys all over the floor. The mounds of laundry, both clean and dirty, needing washing, folding, and returning to its closet space. Especially in the age of Pinterest and lifestyle blogging, the pressure to present a beautiful home is never far off.

And that’s why it’s best to just leave the house, shut the door, and not look back until bedtime. Not every day, but definitely on days when the October skies are clear and blue, the leaves are wonderful shades of yellow and red, the air is warm and your one-year-old is eager to explore her world. On those days, I know there will be plenty more chores this coming winter but only a handful more of these beautiful days and we’re best to just seize the moment and get outdoors.

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Ruxandra Looft

About Ruxandra Looft

Ruxandra Looft is a writer and editor based in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally from Romania, she’s called Germany, Austria, and Canada her home before settling in the Midwest. She holds a PhD in German and Comparative Literature and writes about parenthood, academia, and life on two wheels on her blog Simply Bike. Find more of her writing on her website and on Twitter @Simply Bike.