My own plan for developing myself as a homemaker includes an inner and outer core. Let me explain further, and maybe this will inspire you to come up with your own plan.
In Waldorf education, we look at the soul development of the child and what the child needs according to seven-year cycles. Here are some thoughts for the first three seven-year cycles:
Ages Birth- Age 7: Gratitude; Goodness, Imitation (the notion of the child as one large unfiltered sense organ taking all impressions in); Rhythm and Balance; Movement and Play
Ages 7-14: Love; Beauty; love for natural authority for elders; Imagination; Feelings; Art
Ages 14-21: Duty; Truth; Intellectual Work; Idealism
So, with keeping that in mind, then I look at what I personally need to develop or work on according to the stages of my children and also my own goals for my own inner work. For simplicity’s sake, I develop this into two categories: an inner and our core, but you could divide it however you would like! And yes, most of the things of the outer core absolutely do nourish the inner soul, but the outer core things I think of as more the “doing” the “physical” piece with the inner core being more the things “to meditate on” “ponder”.
Here are some personal examples of what I consider Outer and Inner Core:
- Setting a rhythm that work for my family. I say this all the time, but it seems to bear frequent repeating: cut back on your outside activities, cultivate your ability to be home, start with a rhythm around waking/sleeping/rest times and meals, and build up from there. If this all new to you, try the “Rhythm” tag in the tags box for back posts. It also bears repeating that Life Before Children is not the same as Life After Children.
- The other outer piece is to develop skills. Part of Waldorf homeschooling is learning to teach a variety of skills that seem to be rather lost in our society today – knitting, crocheting, all kinds of art, music, singing, cooking, baking, gardening. If you would like a complete list for what to be working on when your children are under 7 years of age please see the skill list Lovey and I came up with here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/09/a-mothers-job-in-the-waldorf-homeschool-kindergarten/
So perhaps you pick just one skill for Fall and one skill for Spring and work on those. Seek out teachers if you need to, buy that book on the subject, watch that YouTube video. The point is, once you have identified the skill, you can break it down into what you need to do to make it happen!
- Time to be outside and observe the seasons, festival preparations and celebrations that are the marker of your family’s traditions and yearly rhythm.
When I think of inner core, I am working toward things that nourish the “soul life” of my home. I am also thinking of the things that add into our Family Mission Statement. Here is our Family Mission Statement:
Our family will be a place of KINDNESS, as we love one another, help one another, and are gentle and patient with one another in words and actions.
(“Don’t ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet.” Proverbs 3:3 and “Someone with a quick temper does foolish things, but someone with understanding remains calm.” Proverbs 14:17).
Our family will be one of INTEGRITY as we do what we say we are going to do and act in honesty and loyalty to one another.
(“The good people who live honest lives will be a blessing to their children.” Proverbs 20:7)
Our family will be a place of POSITIVE ATTITUDES as we have hope, cheerfulness and encouragement for each other in all situations and challenges.
(“Worry is a heavy load, but a kind word cheers you up.” Proverbs 12:25 and “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, making people happy and healthy.” Proverbs 16:24)
If you need help writing your Family Mission Statement, here is a back post on that: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/08/creating-a-family-mission-statement/
Your family mission statement can help guide you as to the “intangibles” you need to develop in fulfilling this. For me, part of kindness is also warmth and being present. So those are the things I choose to focus on and develop in order to fulfill part of our Mission Statement. Maybe your things to work on are different but I think you can see how this works.
Most of all, KEEP IT SIMPLE. All of this simply cannot happen overnight; it takes years. If your children are very small and you are drowning yourself in books and research and plans but no action, I suggest several simple steps:
- Read Steiner for yourself
- Pick one main resource for homeschooling help if you are that point (ie, for example, if you are using a Waldorf consultant’s work, pick ONE consultant to follow and consult with!)
- Pick one skill to develop per semester or year
- Remember that your own intuition and inner work, along with developing rhythm and being present with your family counts first and foremost.
- Anything can be done if you break it up bit by bit!