Kids in Their Natural State…

I always hated zoos before I had kids.  Seeing animals in a small enclosure out of their natural environment. It made me sad. Watching the tiger walk the same path 532 times a day in a sad circle.  The monkeys swinging on the fake trees.  The giraffes standing on the cement slabs.


I’d tell myself that they were saved and they were safe here and there was a reason they were here. But it didn’t matter – it still looked unnatural.


I’ve managed to overlook some of that since having kids. Kids don’t really see the environment. They see the stripes of their coats and their ability to swing and their unusually long legs. They watch the mama’s carry the baby animals and nurse them with love.  I watch my kids watch the animals and it seems quite natural.


I love how kids don’t notice the bad.   Things are truly only bad for them if someone teaches them that it is bad.  They are a beautiful natural open slate of goodness. They see only the most beautiful stripes.

I clean my house for playdates.  The playdates where the kids are just dropped off at the curb. The six and eight year olds come in and for some reason I want my floor scrubbed and toilets bleached. I push away the clutter and papers and dirty dishes and just life.


I’ve never had kids before – I didn’t realize they don’t see that. Or if they do – they don’t care.  Kids want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a treat of hot chocolate. They want a friend’s mom who let’s them spread crafts all over the dining room table, and to play the music loud and have a dance party. A dance party around the mess of life perhaps.  A life in it’s natural state.


And sometimes I remember. I remember the best friend I had who didn’t have the cleanest house. And while I knew that and kind of noticed that it was different from my house – it never bothered me because her mom would brush my hair into the most amazing styles and make the best tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches. And I remember the laughter in their house. Laughter in it’s most natural state.


My kids attend a very diverse school – diverse in every way possible. Not one kid in that school is the same – whether my race, religion, economic status, the clothing they wear, the language they speak, the home that they live in.  This school is a blend of our inner city living and it’s beautiful and completely in it’s natural state of where we live.


And my kids attend birthday parties in apartment buildings and at grandmother’s houses and also at nice houses on the boulevard.  They go to playdates in neighborhoods that we may not consider the best and sometimes they play right here down the block.


And while my kids see the difference and I want them to love and appreciate the beautiful differences of people – they don’t see where they live is any different from how we live. They see their good friend with a parent or grandparent who makes them a peanut butter sandwich with maybe a juice box and who let’s them watch a movie or sits and lovingly paints their nails.   They only see their friend.  Their friend in a completely, natural and beautiful way.


I need to think like a kid again as it would save me tons of cleaning hours and I’d probably laugh a lot more.


Wouldn’t that be the perfect natural environment to share.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. says

    I envy the diversity you describe at your children’s school. We have very little of that where I live now. I miss that about living in Southern California

    • admin says

      When we first started school here we went to a private school because I actually thought I wanted to be with everyone ‘like’ us – but that certainly did not represent the world and it truly drove me crazy so we left. I love our public school. It’s an amazing community.

  2. says

    I agree, this is what I want for my kids, as well. To not compare, but just to enjoy friendship & childhood. Excellent point about all the stress & cleaning it would save if I remembered this myself…less time cleaning & more time spent with my kids…definitely a good thing!

    • admin says

      I know – isn’t it so true. So many things I love about having kids – but the lessons they teach top the list.

    • admin says

      I know – LOVE that sandwich especially with tomatoes right from the garden. Do you also use salt and pepper and do you toast your bread…

  3. says

    Love that photo! Just look at how happy the kids look. My house is overrun with neighborhood kids too. I really do like it since it makes my kids happy. Although I get freaked out by the messes that they leave behind. Unlike you, I cleaned more as a child than I do now. My Mom would be both happy and confused as to why I was always cleaning. Do you want some help with your place?

  4. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more. If only we could all see the world like kids do. I wish my kids grew up in more of a melting pot of an area as you do. We all should.

  5. says

    I read once that without the zoo, there would be far fewer people that cared about animals. I think that’s a nice spin on it and very possibly true.

    As for my home, it is embarrassingly unclean. Except when people visit. Then it is spotless.

  6. says

    possibly my favorite post of yours EVER.

    Things are truly only bad for them if someone teaches them that it is bad. They are a beautiful natural open slate of goodness. They see only the most beautiful stripes.


  7. says

    I love this post. My son’s school is the same way and I think it’s great. I think YOU’RE great and I think that photo is better than great!

  8. says

    “They only see the most beautiful stripes” may be one of my favorite lines, ever.

    My mother’s parents were not well off. And they believed that kids should always have a home – even if they’re drug or alcohol addled. My mother hated taking us there, because it was a dirty & run down house.

    She tells me this now . . . but I just remember going and playing with my cousins. Running up & down the steps. Eating crock-pot bbq. Petting their cat. Watching NASCAR (heck, I don’t even like NASCAR now, never have . . . but it was “together time” and that worked).

    They’ve both moved on, and I was helping my aunt, not too long ago, move her stuff out because she had to sell the house. I’m an adult, and I saw the house as an adult. Fortunately, my childhood memories are strong enough that they’re keeping me from replacing the memories of that house with my current vision.

  9. says

    When do we lose that innocence and tolerance that we once had a kids. What an amazing world this would be if more adults could live like that.

  10. says

    Oh, I love this post so much Tracy. It’s so true that their spirits are so gorgeous, and we can learn so much about priorities from them.

  11. says

    Oh so true…deep sigh… my kids don’t care how clean my house is and honestly, my friends don’t either. They all, we all, just care that we’re having a good time enjoying our company!

  12. says

    I really love your post. My daughter attends a very diverse, public junior high (in the same city.) And I wouldn’t change it for the world!

    I taught at a private school during her 3rd grade year and took her with me. But, we went right back to public for 4th. The thing that sealed it for me was my daughter coming home from a new friend’s house and saying, “Our house is small, Mom.” I thought of her kindergarten friend from public school coming over and saying, “Your house is a mansion!” It’s neither small or a mansion. But, I’d rather my child be thankful for how much we have vs. thinking we have “so little”.

  13. says

    I love the things kids don’t see. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much the kids don’t see! But they don’t – and trying to be a little more like them and less like our adult selves is ok sometimes. Especially with cleaning. 😉

  14. says

    I love this so much. You’re absolutely right that the kids don’t notice it in any regards. There are so many positives to childhood, seeing the good in all is one of the best.