Monday, November 15, 2010

How : A Mama's Perspective

This blog is all about the What.
I think most people who read here know the Why. (For the Joy of it, of course! is the short answer. :) )
Seems like a good time to address the How.
(Ah, the slide into winter's warm cuppa and contemplation begins. How lovely.)

There aren't very many things that I appreciate more than reading words of someone I admire that say "Now these are our philosophies. This is our ideal. That doesn't mean that I don't mess up." Jon Kabat-Zinn has said it. Naomi Aldort has said it. Scott Noelle speaks plainly and lovingly about moving from one line of thinking into another--only a person who understands well the first can move so beautifully into the second.

Most times I'm so relieved and thankful for such words that I want to burst into tears.
Being the first to say "this is where my heart lies; what and where I (still, always) aspire to be" goes a much further way in impressing me than pointing the finger at others, and saying "look at that!" in condemnation.
Because, chances are, in a dark moment, I have been That. Or at least accused myself disparagingly of being so. Even if I haven't, it still hurts me to hear others thought of or judged as something hateful or hated. (I suspect this is all a part of my intimately learning the great Truth "We Are One", but that's another story.)
And I have enough guilty feelings that I don't need other random strangers pointing out someone else's mistakes so unkindly when I only see it as a reflection of my own mistakes, thankyouverymuch.

This morning's roses.


As an evolving being I appreciate the sentiment "aspire".

That being said, :), there are a few things I've learned about myself and this life I'm living with my family.

Things such as:
I love beautiful things.
Time to think is as essential as breath for me.
This journal is an important part of my life. Until it isn't.
I love playing and growing with my children.

So this is the perspective I come from, not a perspective that I believe anyone else should have.

Instead of a plastic play kitchen in my living room I have pretty pictures on the walls. Not very RU of me, I know.
But I'm a selfish creature, and I need order and pretty. That's not to say that life doesn't happen in there. Many a time I've only opened the door a crack when Gladys Kravitz came calling. (oh yes, we have one.)
It's often dusted with my "Happy Home" cleaner. And vacuumed on my hands and knees because only the attachment part works of the vacuum (need to take it into the shop, but don't wanna go without the vacuum for a week....).
The glass cupboard for the entertainment center was broken long ago by a three or four year old little boy. My mother had a fit about that, but it seems more appropriate that our learning would be there easily accessible rather than tucked tidily behind a glass door, anyway.
My fiercely guarded pitcher and bowl, on the other hand....

As I've said before, morning-times are my times. Time to clean. Time to write. Time to contemplate. Time to un-interruptedly Be.
Though this happens naturally, as my children wake up at least a couple hours after I do, time to myself is absolutely imperative.
I've never been one to feel guilty over taking care of my own needs - I figure it's something we all need to do-- if you ain't got it, you ain't got it to give.
I absolutely believe in service, but I don't believe that service has to be -or even should be (for me)- something done out of a sense of martyrdom or resentment. I much prefer service to be done in joy and love - "How can I love you better?"
What this means in our daily life is that I take time outs when I need them.
Particularly if we've had hours of intense play and fun, I find that a time-out or time for each of us to do our own thing is really helpful... I often sit at the kitchen table and begin the day's post, read, collect myself in general, Trev usually heads to the computer, Maddie gets out markers and paper or something similar....
I absolutely love exploring and playing with my children, and I relish the Go!, but it's even better when it's tempered with bits of quiet and Self throughout the day. And the Joy and fun can last much longer, that way, for us.

Eric getting ready for his first run of the year, this morning.

I think this is what people mean when they're talking about the dynamics of the family. And why even if we're talking about unschooling or radical unschooling families, no two look the same.
The individuals are different. Work schedules are different, needs are different - learning styles, preferences, personalities, tools, location... everything has to be taken into consideration.

So, here we arrive.
Today it's in a relatively clean house.
Things are so close to being spic-n-span that I have a need to absolutely Sparklify - for no other reason than a breathing, smiling satisfaction.

Tomorrow I (and we) may very well need something entirely different.
Could be that we'll Play! for three days straight, and not pick up a thing.
Could be that soon we'll have flour dust on the kitchen floor from pretzels made two days before.
Could be that one of us will spend two days on the couch reading.

Who knows.

The only thing that is certain is that we'll be doing our living according to what in that moment
we need and Love.

All of us
will be loving and celebrating the all of us.
Mama too.

Thanks go to Chris for inspiring me to get these thoughts in order (er... such as it is, anyway).


  1. absolutely spot-on!

    so nice to hear it though, isn't it? these affirmations that each of our own precious versions of this life is exactly perfect for who we are...right now.

    wonderful post!

  2. love love love

    It (the love) shows, it shines, it just *is* in your words.

    So inspiring :) Thank you.

  3. I feel pretty honored that you would put so much time and thought into answering my question. Since we're interest-led learners, too, and my kids are only 4, even though I love being with them almost all of the time, I still feel like I need to do some things during the day for me. It's so hard sometimes. Like even as I'm writing this, I'm eating my lunch quickly and stopped three times to talk with the kids.

    It's just hard now. They get up at 7:00 or a little before, and my son will stay up until 11:00 sometimes wanting to talk, and talk and talk. I just feel worn down a lot of times. I hate that feeling when I tell them I can't do something. It's usually when I'm cleaning, doing laundry or cooking. Since I say no to them so often to do those things during the day, I feel like it would be selfish to say I need some time to write or read by myself for awhile. I try to do a little while eating lunch and my husband usually gives me one night every two weeks to write a sting of blog posts like crazy and then I post them one at a time during the week.

    Anyways, I really do appreciate sharing more about how things work for you. With not having school or a set curriculum or time when I do things with the kids, it can seem to go on the entire day sometimes (which I really, really enjoy once in a while), but then I start to feel the chaos of the house and my own unfulfilled dreams squeezing in on me.

    It's good to know that a mom like you, whom I respect so much for how much you devote to your children's lives, doesn't think it's selfish to do stuff for yourself, too, during the day. I guess I just need to learn how to make it work for me. I'd love to have the hours in the morning, but it just won't work for me. I'll just have to figure out what will work.

  4. Chris - certainly it helps that Maddie is five! :)

    I hardly ever experience that anymore (er... except when I'm writing :/ :)) but when they were younger, I found that it was easier and more effective to move into them and their needs, as opposed to, well, opposing them.
    I could get all kinds of aggravated and "Just a second!" them, but if I took care of those sorts of things first, I found that actually I got more time to do what I wanted to do.
    I don't doubt for a minute that you take care of their needs when they ask, but I hear you about the "taking care of business" side of things, so you don't feel like you can say "I know I cooked and cleaned house all day, but now I need time for Me!"
    And that's the part that will get easier, I promise! :)

    For me, I think I just had to prioritize, and sometimes Play is just more important than the house being ready for company. (even if company was coming, sometimes! :) )

    That's what I mean about he dynamics, you just gotta figure out what's at the top of the list. Thankfully, the list can change every day. :)

  5. Love love love this post... Needs change, times change, everything changes every day... the only thing that stays the same is "at least" three meals a day... Thats how life is with little people and going with the flow is well where I get my kicks in this season of life!!! It isn't forever that my kids will want to spend a whole day tucked under the couch reading Dr. Seuss... or entire days on top of a rock because the pirates are coming... Frankly I want to join in before its all over!!!

  6. Yes! It's all about dynamics, but they change so rapidly!
    I know as they grow into themselves, that too will slow, but with everything else it's a challenge. Time to fill up your own cup everyday, somehow is very essential. I have been slacking. Time to refocus.
    Love this post.

  7. I love it. Your recent blog post are some of the things I've been thinking and talking about myself. Right now I'm working on a post about change.

    I was telling my husband last night that I'm feeling overwhelmed again. I wake with the kids, go to bed with the kids, I'm with them all of the time. I really do love it, but I have forgotten about taking care of me in the process.

    I think it would be best if I start getting up before the kids do. I miss that time to myself in the morning.

    Thank you for such a sweet well put reminder.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!