Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Real Life Waldorf: Getting Back on Track

I got off track within the last month. Not too terribly, but at the end of last week I looked around and thought, this is not how I run my house and homeschool. The kids were watching television every day for at least an hour, usually two. We weren't doing circle time or story, or math. We were still practicing reading and plowing through our chapter book. But that was it.

Granted, in the past month I've taught two week-long classes for the educational enrichment center in town. It's fun to do, but it uses up my entire morning and then I'm beat and need a nap in the afternoon, so the TV goes on. And then what about dinner?

Lots and lots of processed or fast food.

And the weather has been so nice that the kids just want to play and play and play, and so I've let chores and school slide. Granted, it's kindergarten and we go year round, so I don't think that is the biggest deal right now. But our rhythm was off, and at the end of last week I could feel it and I knew my kids could too.

I was harried, and my heart wasn't anchored in slow and peaceful, mindful and intentional, like I wanted to be.

It was time to get back on track. We had a busy weekend and by the end of it, I was itching to slide back into our rhythm.

I think that's the nice thing about having a good rhythm. Once it's really extablished, even if life gets crazy and you get off of it for a week, or two, or six, once you decide to go back to it, it's right there just waiting for you. It's comfortable and goes on easy...with a little help.

Yes, getting back to your old rhythm is kind of like riding a bike, but there are a few things you need to do to grease the gears.

1 - Get Your Husband On Board. Rob has a rotating schedule. When he's on early shift, things run smoothly. But when he's on late shift...things seem to deteriorate. We sleep in, take longer to do chores, don't play outside. It just throws things off. So Sunday night I sat down with him and said, "I can't have this happen every two weeks. I need your help to stay on rhythm."

Rob, bless his heart, has seen the difference it makes in our kids and in me, too. So he said, "What can I do?" I then wrote out a list. I wrote our morning rhythm, I wrote each of the kids chores, I wrote the chores I try to do every morning, and then I wrote out additional activities that might not be a daily thing, but would be helpful. That list has been a wonderful visual for Rob to see how he can help. I don't know what your husband is like, but I have a husband who wants to help, but doesn't always have the clearest vision of how to do so. Now he can automatically see what I need. This has helped this week run much more smoothly.

2 - Go Screen-Free. Has your rhythm gotten off? Have you fallen off that free-play, Waldorf wagon? The next best thing you can do to climb back on is to turn off the TV, and really cut back on your own phone time. It may be hard at first, with some whining. But I let my kids know all weekend that there would be no TV this week, and they've done well. Jane actually said, "Oh, good," when I told her, which I found enlightening. I think TV is easy, but not always enjoyable. You know how after watching too much of it, you feel 'blah?' I think it was doing the same thing to my sweet girl. With all that extra time you can read, play outside, attend to lessons, craft, bake bread, etc.

3 - Get outside. Getting outside is definitely the next biggest thing to getting back on track. It helps work off excess energy, makes you feel happier, gets the kids playing, and it keeps your house cleaner because...they're outside! Take a nature journal out and count it as school. Read outside. Do circle time outside. It's May. Everyone wants to be outside right now. Go with that flow. That's part of the natural rhythm of the year. Your expanding out with the seasons. Your kids feel it. You can do this and keep your rhythm, just move your rhythm outside. It's far better than fighting the crankies inside. Today, Jane ran in and said, "Mom I saw a bird and a butterfly and now I know what I want to do. I just want to watch the bugs and birds."

4 - Cut yourself (and your kids) some slack. But not too much. We've been getting back on track but that doesn't mean it has all been smooth sailing. Jane cried for quite a while today when I said she had to play outside for an hour. Tommy broke one of the wheels on the brand new wooden cars I got to replace the old metal ones, making me second guess if I'd made a wise decision. There were plenty of squabbles. Tommy is in a growth spurt and extra tired and all he wants to do is read the same book (sometimes just one page) over and over and over and over. Does this throw off my rhythm? Only if I let it. I can cuddle with Tom and still eventually get done what I need to. Remember, a rhythm is not a regimen. Don't fret over the tears, or the detox, or the roadblocks. Just reach into that peace surrounding your heart and push through. You know what your family needs to thrive, don't let it get pushed aside out of fear or disappointment that not everything is perfect. But also don't rationalize yourself out of doing what you need to do to feel good about your work.

5 - Wake up Early - This is probably actually the number one thing, but oh well. The most important thing to getting back on track with your rhythm, your home, your homeschool, is taking control of where your heart is. It's the anchor of your home and family. Wake up early and get yourself into a place that is good with God and the world. Do what you need to feel connected, at peace, and alive. You can not be a good Mom if you don't feel like a good/real person. For me, I've been reading my scriptures AND Anne of Green Gables (gosh I love Anne.)

You CAN  do it. Forgive yourself and get back on that wagon, Mama!

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