One of the first ways we often try to bring peace to ourselves and our families is through our physical homes. I think this is a lot of the popularity of the simplicity and minimalist movements – this longing for peace is at the root of taming our physical environments.
Sometimes our physical surroundings can be a great place to start. When I see new mothers come to Waldorf parenting and education, they often are very interested in playsilks, wooden toys and the seasonal table. This is because perhaps in transforming our environments with our hands, we transform a little bit of our hearts.
What would a steady home look like to you? To me, it would include:
On a physical level: knowing where things are and where they go, at least in general. The ability to keep clutter at bay. A general cheerful cleanliness that is not too fussy but is maintained.
On a rhythmic level: having enough time at home that there are routines to managing the home, cleaning the home, and for meal planning and preparation. Also, on a rhythmic level, I think a steady home includes time for rest, naps, and sleep.
On an emotional level : knowing that we have unrushed time. Unhurried time. Knowing that there is time for self-care and also for spiritual needs to be met within the home. This may be a little out of the realm of the physical home, but I think these emotions come out in the physical surroundings in the home.
I think what all these areas have in common is TIME. As parents and homeschooling parents, we can look at our days as time. Sometimes when all children are small, we are looking at ways to fill time – the long walks outside; the afternoons of blowing bubbles or playing outside (or just general ways to feed everyone and keep them safe and alive until bedtime :)). Sometimes as children grow up, we are looking at ways to capture time and make more efficient use of it because there are more things that are happening. Time gives us the ability to be rushed or not, and rhythm provides a key toward unlocking time and energy as we parent. We have to begin with some sort of end in mind of how we want time to impact how we manage our homes.
Please share your favorite ways to look at time and rhythm, your priorities in the physical home, how you tame clutter and how you find rest.
TIME! I just posted somewhere else about time! Lately I have had this intense feeling of having to try and catch up to be where I want to be with my little one and our home life. It’s interesting to see how peace, time and rhythm are interrelated. And how a solid rhythm gives you peace and time – I’m not there yet but I can see that when something works in our rhythm it is ironically a freeing and of course a peaceful feeling.
Time. At the moment we have one activity that just came up recently, which disturbs me quite a bit and I am trying to make it fit for us. I am not too happy being out of the house that much during the week.
Otherwise it took us a long time to get to where we are right now, constantly adjusting and re-adjusting our rhythm. I ended up finally with something that I should have stuck with from the beginning. A simple rhythm for the house and our day’s. I thought that a very detailed plan might be more helpful but on the contrary it was more disturbing and difficult to keep too.
I worked from the most important tasks to the “extra’s”, schoolwork, exercise, quite time and keeping our house clean to other things like doctor visits etc.
I also declutter our house two or three times a year to stay on top of things, there always seems to be more stuff coming into the house than needs to be here.
This way I manage to keep the house pretty well organized and things have their homes, also important is the participation of the children, everybody has to help with the daily tasks.
There are time suckers naturally, like my internet time for instance, even though I am not on social media, and I also decided not to participate on chat boards anymore in the past three years, which has also helped, but it still seems to take unnecessarily long to cheek my e-mail’s. 😉
My name is Alison Manzer. I am Jean Miller’s partner at the Steiner Cafe and part of her Taproot team. I wanted to introduce myself and say thank you for this post in particular and for your wonderful blog as a whole! I just loved what you say about the “steady home” and time – especially the line about rhythm “unlocking time and energy.”
My youngest son is a senior in high school, so rhythm in my home has changed tremendously since those early years. I confess that at times it seems to have gone out the window entirely. And what I have notice is that when some sort of steady rhythm is absent, life becomes a quick and anxious succession of busy nothings. For me, rhythm seems to be almost a fundamental need – right up there like food, clothing, and shelter! I even exclaimed to Jean recently when I felt totally out of sorts that I wanted her to “simplicity parent” me!
Thank you again for this gentle reminder about the importance of the home and rhythm for our health and for our spirits. I am proof that one is never too old to need rhythm!
I think rhythm is one of the most powerful, most under-utilized tools we have as parents! In my Simplicity Parenting classes, one of the most common changes that parents make through the course of the class (we learn how to make sustainable change and craft a new small, doable change each week) is to implement a meal plan; most often for either breakfast or dinner. I know from my own experience implementing first a breakfast schedule and then, two years later, a dinner schedule how much mental space this clears in my head – giving much more *time* for other thoughts, creativity and, even, daydreams. In addition to my own experience of increased inner spaciousness, my students have reported so many positive effects of creating this kind of meal rhythm – less picky eating, their children are more oriented in time and space, more joy at mealtimes, less time spent running to the grocery store at the last minute and so on.
When we are feeling “rushed”, overwhelmed, too busy…I feel it deeply. My routine is- every month I go through the calendar for the next month and literally X out days. They are “off” days or retreat days. Then I know I can not plan or schedule anything on those days. As if we are out of town, but instead we get down time at home to reenergize, relax and rejoice. I need those days!
I love this idea! I think I’m going to start doing this – thank you, barnraised!
I love the unrushed time idea – definitely creates more peace.
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