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Nature As The Third Parent

Nature As The Third Parent

Right now my husband and I are in the thick of raising our two little Wildlings, both are under five years old. These early years have been filled with joy, but they haven't been the easiest in a lot of ways. So many of you out there are in the same position, and it seems like everyone I talk to is missing the village. Sadly we probably won't get back to that level of community in our life time, but that doesn't mean we are completely alone.

These past few weeks spent watching my kids play in the summer light, a thought has slowly taken shape in my heart and profoundly shifted my experience as their mother. Nature is their third parent.

When the girls scale rocks and branches, nature is helping them build resilience and strength.

When they play in the mud, nature is nurturing their creativity and building their immunity.

When they encounter death on our farm, nature is teaching my girls about the fragility and value of life.

Suddenly I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I didn't have to do it all. I didn't have to be EVERYTHING.

What happens when you invite nature along on your parenting journey

When the flowers bloom, my daughters know beauty.

When they forage for wild edibles, they are being fed and nourished.

When the seasons shift, they experience impermanence, patience and change.

Nature has been there beside through it all, occupying the kids when they get "bored", aiding in their emotional and physical development, and most importantly giving them the space and freedom to play.

Being supported by nature

It might not be the traditional village of our dreams, but the closer we get to nature the more chance we have of recognizing it as one of our biggest allies on this parenting journey. Only in modern times has nature been passively backdropped against our busy lives. In the past, nature was characterized and understood as a force, an active participant playing a vital role within the context of the family and wider community. And she's still there, patiently waiting for us to ask for help.

I would love to read in the comments below how nature has supported you in your journey as parents and caretakers. Thanks so much!

Your Woman Gone Wild,



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  • This is the best parenting article I’ve read in a long time. Thank you!

    Alison McQueen
  • Hi Sweta,

    Thank you so much for your interest! You can contact me at

  • Hi,

    I have been exploring the parent-child-nature relationship with in my own family for the past couple years! Journaling about our outdoor adventures has been an insightful experience! I recently finished my MA- my topic was “Family Nature Clubs: Exploring the Parent-Child-Nature Relationship” – where nature is identified as another partner. One of the big take aways for parents was learning to follow the child’s lead. Anyways there seems to be a lot of synergy here! I have posted some of my reflections and will be posting study results soon. Feel free to check out my blog at


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