Moms, You ARE Doing Great!

I saw this and HAD to re-post! I love this! At first I was intrigued by the title Confessions of a High-Heel Wearing Hippy Mommy, since I myself feel like I would like to be a fancy lady, but in my heart am still a hippy. Then when I read her post, I’m not trying to win a medal, I was completely inspired. She writes that “Finding balance is tricky – the balance between knowing what’s “best,” and knowing what works for me and my kids.”

I feel that is something I struggle with every day, and everyday have to remind myself that I AM doing great! I am bombarded by information on the internet and books (since I choose to be apart of these things), and I have all of this information from 3 years of Waldorf Teacher Training and more often than I like, I let that information lead me to feel guilt and regret. Recently a new friend and RIE mom , who has quite a bit more Waldorf and RIE training than myself, told me that the greatest gift I could give myself is to forget everything I have learned and simply be a Mom. I love that because it feels so true in my heart that I am a good Mom and care so deeply for my son and any other children I am around, from my friends children to children in classes I have taught.

So today, for my fellow Mothers (and Fathers if you follow) I would like to tell you that YOU are doing a great job; you are doing your best and that is exactly enough for your children. They love you for all you give to them and all you give to YOURSELVES. So have a cup of tea and pat yourself on your back.

From the wonderful High-Heeled Hippy Mommy I think I have found my new Mantra: “I have a full house, a full heart and very full hands.  Life is crazy, but it’s good.  I’m finding my way.  And I’m doing okay.”

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Children as Zen Masters

I recently read this article on Mothering.com about the Spirituality of Parenting. Mother Cheryl Dimof speaks of how our children are little Zen masters, living very fully in the moment. There is quite a bit we can learn from the way children go about their day. We could learn so much about ourselves and our children if we took the time to simply be present  in our daily activities. While we may not find the time everyday to make space for a meditative practice, we can make our daily activities meditative; slowly and purposefully doing the dishes or cutting vegetables and fruit with love and care. By doing this we can quiet our mind and create a peaceful mind space during our busy day.

Not only is having a meditative practice a gift to ourselves, but it is a gift to our children as well. In this post on Janet Lansbury’s blog about Magda Gerber, she gives two examples of how being zen-like can benefit our children:

“By holding back our impulse to teach, direct, or otherwise intervene when a child plays, we are often amazed by the child’s developing abilities. Through observation we gain insights into the origins of a host of psychological issues, major and minor. Some strike a chord. Parents have reported realizations in RIE parenting classes about personal issues that eluded them for years in psychotherapy.”

Quiet objective observation or what Gerber calls’ wants nothing’  quality time ” encompass a wide range of experiences, but all we are asked to do is pay attention and have no agenda of our own. It can mean being quietly available as a baby explores patterns of light on a blanket beneath him, or standing nearby while he has a screaming meltdown because he cannot have another cookie. It may be trickier to see the benefit for parents and caregivers in this latter scenario, but it is clarity. When we pay full attention to our child for intervals each day, no matter what the tone of our exchange or the outcome is, we are giving him the quality time he needs. We are doing our job.”

Taking care of children can be incredibly joyful as well as draining; I hope these articles can help bring a little peace to your day.

Here is a little video I captured that has 5 minutes of me observing my son. It is not as if he is doing anything particularly exciting, but he is just right there in the moment. I often wonder how he decides what he will do next in course of actions…

Baby Play Dates: What to do?

I’ve been following Janet Lansbury’s RIE blog for some time now and am always happy with the advice and information she posts. Today on her Facebook page, she shared this wonderful video that almost brought me to happy tears. Such simplicity and purity in how infants ‘play’ together when we give them the space they need.  She describes so nicely how to implement RIE philosophy into the way our babies play with one another.

“When allowed opportunities to engage in supervised social experiments like these — encouraged by the gentle and minimal interventions of aware, trusting, open-minded adults — babies explore with and learn from peers, and eventually play together in more typically acceptable ways (by around age 3). Once we’ve learned to trust and respect each child’s process, there are surprising and delightful moments for us to observe as social skills develop.”

Please watch the video on her blog so that you may read the rest of her commentary.

One thing that was brought up, that I believe is such a big issue in play groups, play gyms, and parks, is how we as parents feel about letting our children play as they will without interference. When I’m with a close friend and there is questionable baby play, I feel at ease watching in wonder at how this social ‘experiment’ will turn out. But in public with other children I don’t know, I often wonder at what point I should intervene for the comfort of other parents. Usually it’s a matter of observing the parents more than the children to see where their comfort level is, but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I was brave enough to go ask the other parents to wait…

What do you think of the topic? When would you intervene in public or at home? Or on a play date with another Mom or Dad? And finally, wouldn’t it be GREAT to set up RIE play dates!

“The Economist’s Guide to Parenting”

Ive decided to share a favorite podcast of mine. This podcast helps remind me to take it easy on myself. Guilt is a feeling that, as parents, we feel far too often. But perhaps little by little we can remind ourselves that we ARE doing the best we can and that is exactly enough for our children. It also speaks of something right in line with Waldorf philosophy: “A large part of who our children will become is based on WHO we are vs. WHAT we do.”

So I encourage you to listen with an open mind and perhaps try to take from this that you can take confidence in the fact that you most likely will raise your children to be great adults and productive members of society. Have patience and take it easy on yourself. Parenting is hard work. :)

New Freakonomics Radio Podcast: “The Economist’s Guide to Parenting”.