Rhythm: Day Number Seven of 20 Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

Sometimes I am on the Mothering Community Forums.  What I see in some  of the threads over there is that mothers who want to homeschool recognize that they have  a “restless” toddler (ie, the 18 to 24 month-old)   whom they think needs more stimulation – and then they try to channel that into a curriculum or some sort of head-oriented work.

Possibly another place to start is to consider a rhythm to your day.

The easiest way to start a rhythm is to work around waking up times, rest/nap times, bedtimes and meal times.  After these things are down and consistent, then work towards regular times to be outside daily and what practical work one does on what day of the week.  Then one can work toward festival preparation for whatever festivals speak to you and your family.

A rhythm is not a scheduled noose around your neck but rather an idea of what occurs when and a way to keep a  balance in your day of in-breath and out-breath.

Many wee people under the age of 7, because they are or should be living in their bodies, do not get nearly enough outside time.  I would say four hours a day is not in the least too much for the under 7 child!  This time is out-breath, but there should also be time to have quiet time, listen to a story or other in-breath activities within the day.  There needs to be a balance for the small child who often is prone to excess in either wanting all out-breath or all in-breath activities.  You may need to look at yourself and see what you tend to model as well!  Do you display a good balance of in- and out -breath?

There are two other issues that frequently come up with the subject of rhythm.  One is that the mothers themselves who have irregular rhythms and perhaps have childhoods that were devoid of rhythms have difficulty with the whole concept.  They truly feel it is like the noose around their neck!  Remember, a rhythm is not a schedule with times – it is a flow of the day, of the week and of the month.

So, I would say to those mothers is that a rhythm is adjustable, but also a great opportunity to work on YOURSELF.  Can you get to bed at the same time every night?  Try it for ten days and work on your own self-discipline!  Then work on your morning routine, your meal times and the whole notion of quiet time.  Baby steps!

The second issue that comes up is “How Do I Fit Everything In?”  Well, here is the rub.  You cannot do it all!  I still find mothers of children under the age of 7 are planning too many things within their homeschool, and also too many outside activities.

Can you run your errands for groceries once a week either on a weekend when your husband can keep the children?  Or could you go at night after the children are asleep?  Or could your husband do the grocery shopping?   Can you have dry goods delivered to your door?  Would a friend be willing to do part of your list at one store if you do part of their list at a different store if you feel you must go to two stores?

What about health-related errands?  Many folks have chiropractic or homeopathic appointments or allergy shots or something that has to occur weekly.  How will you fit those in?

How many things are you personally involved in?  And how many things are your children involved in?  Because let’s face it, whatever your children are involved in are also your activities (on top of the activities you feel are really your own!)  Do you have anything for yourself at all?  I think this is important as well; something to call your own!

What age do your children get to start activities in your family?  Many mothers seem to sign their smaller children up for something because the older children are doing something.  This is not a good reason to sign a four-year-old up for something! It may be better to say, “Yes Jimmy, and you will do something like that too when you are seven like your big brother!”

I have also written on this blog before about how a four-year-old, a five-year-old, etc can be very content with simple things as opposed to lots of outside “field trips”.  They will get so much more out of excursions to places when they are over 7.  When they are four, a whale shark at the aquarium may hold their interest for ten minutes and then the kid down the aisle who has a piece of gum, the woman’s red sweater and the whale shark all register about the same on the Awe Scale.  Think about it carefully and watch and observe your child.

The caveat to all this is that children who are 7 and 8 years of age and older, while still needing protection from fatigue, DO need to start getting out and seeing some things.  Every family will handle this need differently as they balance the needs of the younger children to be home, but it is worth thinking about!

There are many, many posts on this blog about rhythm and creating rhythm.  Have a look under the rhythm tag in the tags box.

Many blessings,

Carrie

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5 thoughts on “Rhythm: Day Number Seven of 20 Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

  1. Thank you for this post. We are a very At Home family — and I frequently feel guilty about it (especially when relatives/friends inquire about the kids’ outside activities). So good to regain my perspective on what my kids are really ready for.

  2. I really enjoy our daily rhythm, but it sometimes seems like we still run out of time… maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but it frustrates me when it takes two whole hours to prepare and eat breakfast, clean up from breakfast, and get everyone dressed and teeth brushed. It seems like that should take far less time for us! I know that what slows us down is the one year old being very fussy in the early mornings, making it hard to prepare breakfast (usually oatmeal/oat bran with either eggs or yogurt). I wish she’d be content to ride on my back while I got breakfast ready, but she is not and just cries to nurse. Cleaning up toys also takes a while… I recently enacted a “put away one game/activity/set of toys before you start with another” rule, and it helped when I stayed on top of this all day, but I find that difficult to do day in and day out. I know we don’t have nearly as many toys as most people we know, but things like a basket of dress-up clothes/playsilks, doll dress-up clothes, play food/utensils from the kitchen, and books can really get scattered!! But cleaning up at the end of the day is tedious when it is the whole day’s worth of toys that are out.

    These two things plus the nap difficulties with the one yr old are the main problem areas for us… but otherwise, I really like our rhythm and incorporating it has been helpful to us in bringing structure to our days!

  3. I love the rhythm we are developing at home. We recently had to be out all morning for appts. and errands and I could definitely see a difference in my son’s behavior for the next couple of days (more negative, whiny.)

    And I love being an at-home family. So many others just don’t understand. I just wish it were easier to meet other at-home moms and kids to connect with. But, they just aren’t going out! Makes it difficult to find others with similar temperaments and belief systems. Sometimes it makes me doubt our choices or feel really misunderstood. That’s part of why I love this blog so much. I feel like I am normal for wanting these things for my children and family.

  4. Pingback: Running Yourself Ragged? « The Parenting Passageway

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