Welcome to Christmastide, those magical twelve Holy Days and Nights where we become quiet, we rest, and where we connect. Many people are spending the week with family or out in nature (or both!) and enjoying a slowed down rhythm to the days and nights.
In the Western Christian calendar, the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) is the Feast of St. Stephen, noted for his service amongst the poor, and also commorates St. Wenceslas (remembered frequently in this carol). This is a wonderful day to do acts of charity and to think about the role of generosity in the upcoming New Year.
Most of all, though, I want to encourage mothers to be generous with themselves, during Christmastide and the upcoming year. I recently saw a calendar of a month from a person whom I know who is single (and no children) and nearly every day was annotated with working out, appointments for health or beauty, and time to meet friends. When we have tiny babies and small children and are working hard to establish a rhythms and solid rest and sleep bedtimes and mealtime with our children, our schedules and priorities change. However, there are plenty of ways to be generous with ourselves within the home and outside the home and to model for our girls and boys that mothers also deserve time for their own health and sanity. Working out at home, taking walks together (yes, I know it is not the same as for “exercise” when your two-year old stops every ten feet, but you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!), having breaks to sing beautiful music, creating art, getting enough sleep and rest and living an unhurried and not overloaded and overscheduled life is really important. As our children enter the teen years, especially ages 14 and up, it is also important that we re-discover our own interests, time with our own friends and community and time for our own health. The later teen years come rapidly, and our children will be making their own beautiful lives with less dependence upon us. It is important that we remember ourselves in our own generosity throughout the developmental stages of our children.
Today is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. I love this as a day for considering the wonder of the Word, the power of Word, and for sharing positivity with the world. I would love to see mothers have positive thoughts, positive affirmations, and postive meditations about themselves. I hear so many mothers tearing themselves down, and belittling themselves and how they parent or run a household. This may have to do with living in an era of “perfectness” from Facebook and Instagram and how mothers are constantly comparing themselves to the beauty captured in those images. Remember, that beautiful corner in a home or that beautiful moment may not be the whole picture! Appreciating ourselves, with our good qualities and knowing our faults, is something that I embrace more and more the older I become. In this cycle of ages 42-49, I am drawn to feeling more individualized and powerful than ever before. There is just a certain confidence that comes with age and experience. I have had many things happen to me in my life, so I have a lot of experience to share. LOL. Waldorf Education looks at the life cycle of the human being through seven year cycles, and you can find information about these seven year cycles here on this blog and through Waldorf books focusing on biography. Each seven year cycle is a continuation and a deepening of ourselves and of our closest relationships.
May the quietness of the Twelve Days of Christmastide bless and nourish you,