Hello my dear friends and fellow creative mamas!
I hope that this month finds you fully present in making wonderful memories with your family. Some of those memories will of course be of tantrums, messy houses and maybe a mama meltdown (or two!). But, hopefully it is being sprinkled in with lovely moments of nature, togetherness and relaxation! Whether you are leading up to Midsummer or Winter Solstice, (in the Southern Hemisphere) I hope you have been able to breathe a long sigh of relief after a long and busy school season.
Our family just returned from a family trip to South Dakota and it was the brain reset that I sorely needed. I am a workaholic and control freak by nature and so relaxing feels impossible when there are chores to be done and lessons to be planned. I am sure some of you can relate to that! Now we are home and I am finding it easier to make that space for work and home and then know when it is okay to walk away and just enjoy my children (and practice self care!). It is a lovely place to be.
However, it is not something that I have learned overnight! It has taken years of doing too much to learn how to slow down and find some balance in my life. During this slow down period, my heart was flooded with some amazing insights, a few that I wanted to share with you.
#1 Observing our children is more effective than any resource, website, consulting or planner.
During those school breaks, I am often tempted to just bury myself in planning out the next school year. I devote hours to creating beautiful calendars and lesson plans. I scour library resources and plan my Amazon budget meticulously. These are wonderful things to do, however in my zeal for planning, I forget that my best information is found right in front of me. When we remove the busyness of school life and can ease into that lovely space of vacation, something amazing is gifted to us: TIME.
Time to notice things. Time to notice when our children have the most energy, when they are hungry, when they need downtime, when they ask for cuddles, when they want time to talk with you, when they are most focused.
Equally important: Notice what you need! Journal down your moods and energy levels throughout the day.
Learning to be observant is one of the best tools you can have as a parent and homeschooler.
“Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.” – Rudolf Steiner
Once you have your bearings on the needs of your family, then it is time to plan 🙂
#2 Rethink your motivations
Imagine for a moment that you were to completely remove social media, labels and the opinions of others from your life….
How would this change how you parent and homeschool?
I invite you to let go of comparisions and expectations for a moment and sit with the absolute truth that whatever is best for your family and the individual needs of your children is the best method (and most of the time, it isn’t just one method!) Instead of worrying if a book, activity, plan or YOU aren’t enough Waldorf/Charlotte Mason/Unschooling/Classical, etc….. Instead ask if this resource, class, website or curriculum is going to bring peace, joy and unity to my family. If you have a family vision or mission, does the product or opportunity align with those values?
I encourage you this week to be brave and do the things as a family that make you happy and to take that mindset into the next season of learning.
#3 Choose self care that really delights you!
Experiment with some self care this week and find out which activities or practices have the most lasting impact.
For example, I was really craving ice cream this week and didn’t have time to go to the place I love. It has the most amazing rich ice cream with all the add-ins and the homemade waffle cone and the retro music playing in the background….(sounds amazing, right?!)
Instead I got soft serve ice cream three times from places that I don’t really like (Waaah, wah wah!!!!) Not only did I waste precious calories on substandard ice cream, but I never felt satisfied! The point of this sad ice cream experience is that we need to recognize that our self care needs are valid. When we ignore them, our stresses and exhaustion build up until it feels impossible to be a good mama (and human).
So, don’t let the soft serve experiences be a poor substitute for real ice cream.
If you love spending time with friends, then recognize that 3 hours of social media will NEVER fill that void. If you can’t get away, then call a friend!
If you need time alone and are fed by hours with a delicious book, then make it happen. Do not settle for a string of youtube videos until 3 in the morning that leave you with regret (been there, done that!)
Instead I hope you create space for those activities that make you feel refreshed, happy and ready to be the best parent you can be.
I completely understand that this journey is no picnic, and yet there are moments that it can be.
I hope that those moments are plentiful for you this season.
With love and admiration for all you do,