I started a few thoughts on this subject at Donna Simmons’ paid subscription discussion forum, the Waldorf At Home forum. Donna posed the question of what the true, real or hidden value of being a mother is and it really got me thinking. (To join in on the discussion please see http://www.waldorf-at-home.com/forums/ ).
To me, the utmost value that a stay at home mother can provide is first of all the ability to create peace within herself, her spouse and her children and then to bring that peace into all the areas in which the mother and family impacts society. Stay at home mothers provide a bulk of the volunteer force for schools, religious organizations, and other service organizations, so hopefully we become a model for peace within our own homes and within our own communities. So many people live their lives and in their homes without ever thinking about the soul of that home – how does your home feel when you are in it? How does your family feel? Is it a warm, relaxed, pleasant place where the respect and the dignity of all are honored or is it a place of strife, tension, and yelling?
Mothers ask me all the time how they can attain this invisible positive aura within their homes, and I always say the same thing: It starts within you. You cannot change your children or your spouse. All you can do is be consistent and go inward and start with yourself. (Assuming your spouse is not physically or verbally abusive; in these cases I cannot presume to say that only modeling will help!)……..However, if your spouse is unsure of how to become a de-escalator of situations and attain peace, it may take time to see changes, but the home will become a more peaceful place as you model and create this magic within your own space. The other two things I can highly suggest is to work on everyone in the family finding a sense of humor about things and I can advocate you contact the local NonViolent Communication Group in your area – see www.cnvc.org for further details regarding better communication skills between you and your partner.
I think the second thing that we show society, hopefully, is how to live in harmony with daily, weekly and yearly rhythms; how to really have a rhythmical manner within the flow of time. The art of daily work, of being able to be productive with our hands, for really having and showing gratitude, for being able to live simply, for being able to slow down to really prepare for holidays and festivals in a meaningful way is becoming a lost art in our society. Hopefully we can be a model for demonstrating ways to celebrate the beauty and reverence in daily life, in ordinary tasks, besides the more celebratory occasions.
The third important thing I think we do is to show mothers that childhood can have a slower pace than what our society is currently making it and pushing it to be and that this is of benefit to the child and to society. Many mothers I speak to today lament the early push on academics, they lament the lack of outside time their children are participating in due to their children getting home from school and having to do homework, they lament the lack of imaginative play within their children, but yet they shrug their shoulders and continue on. “What are you going to do?” they say, as if this progress toward the rapidity of childhood and the speeding up of childhood is something that is normal and cannot be avoided. Perhaps we can be the light that shows others how a slower childhood has benefits for the health of our children for the long run.
To all my stay at home mothers out there, I applaud the light you are shining into the darkness of the world in this season and in this time. Blessings to you all for your work.
Just a few thoughts from my little corner of the world.