I feel moved to talk about slowing down this week. This week I have felt my all time slowest. It has been blissful. Like I am walking around in a meditative state with my children, strolling through the day. I was pulling out of the supermarket and actually had the thought "I feel like I am on holiday". It seems my chill out days from the previous week have merged into normal days. Children have been playing really really well. I have been pottering, the days have felt slow and spacious and I have surprisingly got a lot achieved in the day without any pressure to. Even feeling more energy at the end of the day.
This hasn't just happened. Each year I have felt slower and slower. It has been a process of slowing down with a lot of conscious intention and choices. Some big choices. Since having my first born I have put my career on hold at its peak, dropped out of instructor training, given away my business (I didn't feel like I was doing either my work or my mothering well and therefore wasn't enjoying either), I put life coaching study on hold - for 5 years!, moved to the country, well! into the countryside and decided to homeschool. These choices are not for everyone of course, but just to say that big choices were made.
This week I came across a fb page called Becoming Unbusy which I thought sounded great. I feel it's something so hard for us to do. Now a days we start out in motherhood at the peak of careers, studying courses and with a busy lifestyle. We start motherhood burnt out! and often still racing and not knowing how to slow down. Combined with not having villages or nearby family, motherhood can understandably be overwhelming. What's more is the fast multitasking pace lingers in us, in our energy field that our children are wrapped in and carried along in all day. It's almost like this is an accepted norm now, however something in me says it's not supposed to be like this. Not even in our modern world.
The book Simplicity Parenting is a great book to explain why it's so important, for our childrens' sake, to slow down and gives a blueprint how to do so. There are even life coaches specialising in Simplicity Parenting now. How good!
Apart from my big life choices, here are some small things I have done to help slow down:
* Sticking to 2 outings/activities a week, at least every second day at home for my pre schoolers. I sense that is enough for them and what they need. They love being at home.
* Minimal non plastic (non flashy lights or beepy) open ended toys. The toys in our playroom have been there for years. Being quality wooden they last. The way they change and get better is only through imagination. Minimal tv. My children have never said they are bored. I wouldn't worry if they did. Boredom is good. It exercises and stretches the brain, develops the imagination, the basis of intelligence (lateral thinking, creative solutions). When they exercise their play muscles, it is amazing. They get better and better at playing.
* Sticking to our daily and weekly rhythm.
* Keeping admin for a Monday.
* Grounding myself. Bare feet in the sandpit or grass, weeding,
* Getting out of my head and into my body. Downward dog here and there when I can.
* Lots and lots of moments taking a deep breathe, down to my solar plexus. Flushing out the anxiety in my chest.
* Meditating feeling tension and emotions in my body.
* Having a cup of tea. I don't actually like tea that much but I like the feeling of a hot cup in my hands.
* I walk slowly.
So I ll enjoy this moment while it is here. I encourage mothers to embrace slowness. It's not lazy, it's healthy ....for everyone. Clarity and inspiration flow into the space. Mothers have crystal clear clarity on the lifestyle you want and take steps big or small towards it. 🙏🏻💕
Today we went to our new dance class in our new town. It was magical. From the moment I saw the place, smelt the beautiful oils when walking in the door and saw the teacher, elegant professional, yet warm to the children and somehow earthy, I knew it would be wonderful.
My children were so excited to get into the room. When it came to Edna opening the door they rushed in. Parents don't go in this dance/yoga class, though I was welcome to since it was their first class. I chose not to, as I felt I would be a distraction and I felt like letting the magical studio to be their magical space. My children in a new environment with new people completely happy and ready to dance. And there I was in the front of the studio all by myself with 45 min free. Breath. Strange. Good. Though I have loved watching my littleones in dance class the last couple of years.
The children had a wonderful class. Finding a beautiful creative dance class is something I prioritise and am particular about. It may be the physio in me, but I feel creative movement is so wonderful for our 1-7 year olds. In this age they are "in their body". Their body is the main focus of the life force development. They feel and process everything in their body. They explore everything with their body. They express every emotion happiness joy, frustration with their body. They live in their body. Being able to imagine and express themselves with their body, play with dance can only be for them, a wonderful free joyful place to Be.
With the excitement of our move interstate to our new home, new bedrooms, new play room, Christmas, grandparents visiting and hot evenings, my children have been enjoying a late bedtime. One of us was trying but going with it, the other had had enough ... all of a sudden!
Shaken but grounded. Communicating calmly, wisely and with strength. Breathing. Staying grounded within.
Its always better to communicate early and encourage your partner to communicate early. Be sensitive to their bubbling frustrations and check in with them if you can. Share boundaries and explain why. You probably agree on more than it seems at first. Often us gentle mothers need to explain the children's perspective and needs and the many factors affecting the issue, to our partners. I don't believe in just "bad" or "testing" "behaviour". This can give your partner a deeper understanding. Then set a plan of what you are both comfortable with. Spiritual leader of your family.
Click here to edKinder transition is a really really big step for our littleones. Some are ready and busting to go and we know when they are. It can be a beautiful and magical phase for the child. But it is also ok if your child isn't quite ready. 4 is still really young! Like anything with parenting, "When your child is ready it will be easy". There is a broad range of when a child is ready. Some 5 or 7. I like the recent articles that Finland doesn't start school till 7 and they have the best results in the world. Here I open your minds and hearts to being prepared for a gentle transition with your littleone so you are not pressured on the day.
To be prepared:
You can prepare your child through reading a story book about a day at kinder. Or playing it out with cars and blocks and dolls.
Have a plan B. What will you do if your child is crying and doesn't want you to leave?
Pause and sense what you are comfortable with. . It is ok for a bit of sad feelings when mummy leaves. It's a big step and change. You know your child better than anyone. You can feel if it will be ok or not.
If the teacher asks you to say goodbye and walk away with them crying, how does that feel? Terrible? Gut wrenching? This is your heart, your intuition speaking quite clearly. It's not right. Don't feel you have to. You have spent years and countless energy being there for your child building their trust in you and the world. You don't have to change that today. Kinders should be accommodating and gentle with your child's emotional and transitional needs. Would you want your child in their care if they weren't? Do they take him off you while he is crying and walk away with him, him reaching for you? Sadly this has happened to friends and is not uncommon. Once again you know your child. Tune in to your tummy and heart to know what you are comfortable with.
Now being centred and grounded, calmly voice what you are comfortable with and work out a strategy with the teacher that you are both comfortable with.
If your child starts to have nightmares and big changes in behaviour during the term, there is a good chance there might be some issues he is having at kinder. Explore and observe for yourself.
There is no need to force your child into a stressful situation in the name of "socialisation". Your child does not need "socialisation" for 7 hours with 20 other children so many days a week. It's not hard for bullying to arise in this environment. Big or small. 2 hours 1-2 times a week with a group activity, play date or small group of 3-4 is totally fine to develop social skills. Comfortable and secure, not over tired and overstimulated, with nurturing parents nearby to guide. Lovely.
There are other lovely options. Family day care with a smaller group. Just call it kinder! Homeschool groups gathering in the Forrest (we would spend at least 5 hours in the Forrest! or at a river on homeschool group days).
There are also beautiful home programs like wholefamilyrhythms or oakmeadow kinder curriculum. Cook together Monday's, paint Tuesday's, Forrest play group Wednes, music or dance class thurs, craft fri. It's an art to set a lovely and nourishing family daily and weekly rhythm at home. Bread making, nature walks, play dates. This can be a lovely nurturing time at home for the child if you feel inclined for that. Siblings really bonding too.
Our kinder journey
I was lucky to move interstate and find the most beautiful kinder. I cried when I saw it. The teacher was very experienced, wise and gentle. The first year at 3 he wasn't toilet trained so we delayed a year. So glad we did! He was no where near ready. A friend planted a seed in my mind about homeschooling and I noticed I tended to mostly connect with homeschooling mums I met in this new city. I started to think maybe I was actually one at heart too. A new thought for me. My son started to be interested in the book "a day in the Waldorf kinder" the following summer and started to put it down, pause silently and then say "yes I think I would like to go to kinder". Before the day I had a "going through the motions feeling". A sign I know as not going with my intuition. At the orientation morning my husband looked and felt physically sick like he was going to be ill all day. That was his intuition shouting. But still our minds wanted to give our son the opportunity at the beautiful kinder and we were happy switch to homeschooling if need be.
The first day he was very brave. He was excited and solemn at the same time. I went through the motions as happy as I could. He knew to hang his bag and go play in the garden. I went to say goodbye and he was silent. He lent his head to mine and walked off to the sandpit to talk to another boy. I knew he couldn't bring himself to say goodbye but he knew what he had to do. I went away feeling so proud of him. At pick up there was a melt down. A release of emotions he had bravely built up in the day. The next morning he wanted to come home with me. I lingered in the garden and then the teacher told me to tell him I was going to the shops and I'll be back. He sat at the bottom of the garden, cried, pushed me away. The teacher told me to not look back. I did and he looked at me with the safest face. Both corners of his mouth pulled right down.
I can't believe I walked away but I guess I respected the teacher so much. I asked another boy to go sit with him on my way out and he did. He sat on a rock all morning waiting for me.
The guilt I had after was awful. I couldn't do that again. The next morning in the shower I decided. I will trust my son. It felt so good throughout my whole body. Trusting him. If he chooses to have fun and makes friends in a lovely supported environment he can, if he would rather be at home he can. I trusted he would eventually choose having fun with friends. I went out and told him "I'm so proud if you for seeing what kinder is like. I'm sorry I walked away and I won't do that to you again. From now on if you want to come home with mummy you can. I went back and gently said to the teacher "I can't do that again, that's just not how I mother". She nodded and completely accepted my words. I then said I think if we spend time in the garden and go home and have a boring day he will love it and choose to stay. She said ok. And I respected her boundaries of when I could stay till and that I couldn't go on the morning walk or in the inside space. I then say in the garden each kinder morning. He would be sad when we arrived in the car park but then run out happily in the garden, despite no one playing with him and knew I was sitting at the door and would come back and check on me every now and then. Eventually with weather getting colder and painting in the mornings he was excited to go inside and paint. He let me go back to the car to get something. Then the school shop. Then when dropping him off toward the end of term and I said "can mummy go next door to the craft room?" He looked up at the sky paused and then said "yes" and ran off into the garden. We had got there. The next time he wanted to come home with me. I said to the teacher " it's always one step forward, two back". She gently smiled and said "but when he gets there it will really be consolidated. Unlike others that need to catch up inwardly". I'm very grateful for the space she held for us that term.
However, none of the children played with him, they called him annoying as he reverted to copy what children said in order to interact. "Don't play with him he's annoying" they would say if someone went to play with him. It was heart wrenching to see his polite attempts at making friends not reciprocated. "Hello. Would you like to jump with me". But still he was happy to go.
The next term week one, he was bullied. A group of boys decided to have fun with games that bullied my son. I was aware of the run away from him game, but he seemed ok and besides there was a slower boy running behind him. The teacher informed me of pointing and hissing at him at the bottom of the garden she put a stop to. Then I was watching like a hawk. They all had treasures from the garden with my son in the middle of the circle, offering them to him and not giving them when he reached. My son was smiling so I let it go a couple of minutes but then rolling him in the grass and taking turns dragging him in the grass was when I bolted for the teacher.
When I told my husband that night he said "he's just like his old man. I know that smile and what's underneath it" and he cried. He told me that little boys don't have epiphanies of let's be nice to him now and they will just get more sneaky. We met with the teacher and she agreed. She said he could see he was stressed by all the noise and stimulation in the room and he would take himself outside. Once I told her I was very happy to homeschooling she said she thinks that would really be in his best interest.
We pulled out and joined a homeschooling group. My son made a best friend which was so heartwarming and so did I in the mother. Our children adored each other for the rest of the year and we enjoyed play dates, dance classes and Forrest days with a lovely small group of mums and children each week. My son loved being at home last year and had a beautiful time with his younger sister.
It was a journey. The universe was guiding us. We found our way. I'm glad I could hold that space for my son. My son is now saying he would like to go to school. I know he would still find 20 children too stimulating and he doesn't understand 5 days a week. I tell him "Ok. I'm just waiting for you to be a bit older". And he says "ok mummy". Trusting in each other.
My daughter is completely different. She came and sat in the garden with me at the kinder. When we would walk out she would say "But I want to stay mummy and play with the girls". They have been gently parented exactly the same way. So please don't feel guilty if your child is not ready, as if it is something you have done or not done. Each child is just unique in their way
Have you any crafty intentions this year? There are so many beautiful reasons to do craft. Doing craft can be beautiful task to do in preparation for baby. Creating something beautiful filled with your love which your baby actually feels. Quieting your mind, giving lots of quiet time for reflection and spiritual preparation. I'm sure this is part of how women prepared for birth in "the olden days"
It's also a lovely chill out time while holding a space for toddler or preschooler play. Children learn from watching you be engaged and creative producing something with your hands.
So what is your thing? What inspires you, lights you up and makes you go "Oooh that's beautiful". Knitting? Booties, a hat, snuggle cocoon, bunny rug, embroidery, seeing, quilting, doll making, dry needle felting.... There are plenty of patterns available on Etsy or Pinterest or a book called "what to knit when expecting" by Nikki Van De Car and lots of great "How to ...." videos on YouTube that teach you practically anything crafty.
I encourage you to give something a try. It's a beautiful calming slowing grounding homemaking connecting experience.
My intention is to now finish a stocking for my daughter! Xxx
I do love the simple perspective in these pictures.
5 Reasons Why Meditation is one of the most important tools for Motherhood.
For some of you meditation will be new, others very familiar. Meditation draws our attention to feelings, sounds, our senses, as we slow our thoughts and our mind and relax our body. Meditation is a way of bringing our consciousness from the past (our regrets, should haves, etc) and the future (fears, to do list etc) to the what is real, the Present.
The Present is where your baby lives. Babies and children are incredibly and awesomely Present. They are fully engaged in what they are doing and seeing and feeling. They do not understand time, and cannot remember and store the past in their mind. Ask a preschooler what he did at kinder and he will often have trouble relaying it. Looking with a blank confused face. If you want to be with your baby. Truly Be with your baby and connected. You need to slow down. Right down. And be Present. It took me years, well into toddlerhood, to slow myself down. I remember moments thinking "Wow it was like the world was in slow motion and I felt so close to my baby". I'm sure they felt me close too. Each year I felt "Now I have finally slowed down". It needs constant focus. I know my children feel it when my mind is a million miles away. My son will stand up and just leave the room or get up and hop out of the bath. It takes lots of training to maintain Presence. Motherhood can be seen as a practice in meditation and Presence. I think the biggest gift you can give your baby is Presence.
1) Meditation connects us to our heart. The best thing a mother can always do is follow her heart. Wisdom, guidance, clarity, intuition comes to us in the Present. This is the most trusted tool of a mother. To just know, this is not right for my baby or this is right for my baby. Intuition in birth is our biggest support. I just knew my baby is not going to go into distress in labour. Other times I knew this is too dangerous, before seeing a snake close by. The room is too quiet I must check on my baby. I know that piece of advice is not right for my baby. I know that piece of clothing doesn't reason-ate with my baby. I know it's a girl. I know why my toddler is upset, I just know this solution is what they need ..... it goes on throughout your child's life. Motherhood is a steep learning curve once baby arrives however to have that connection, that calm confidence in your intuition early is of greatest value.
2) When we are a mother we wear the Madonnas cloak for the first three years of our childs life. The Madonnas cloak symbolises the baby wrapped up in the energy that surrounds us like a cloak. A calm, clear gentle energy will help the baby adjust to this world and develop. Babies can feel our emotions, our stress. It becomes their environment surrounding them. So one of the most helpful things is to clear your energy to one of beauty. This does not mean we have to be perfectly happy all the time and not feel our emotions. As we are human and life goes on around us this is impossible. Baby appreciates you working through these things too. But to be aware of our Madonnas cloak and be able to raise our consciousness so we can work through stress and simplify and manage our lives, to support and protect our selves, our energy is of great importance. Meditation, drawing us back to inner peace is one way of helping our Madonnas cloak.
3) Meditation is a lovely way to put babies to sleep. When my mind slows they slow and go to sleep. After years of study, passionately working in my field, running a business and looking after horses, it was really hard to slow my mind at sleep time. Once you are a mother the to do list is only greater. Being practiced at meditation will help immensely. What a lovely energy for them to be familiar with as they become familiar with the world. What a lovely energy for them to carry with them through life and be able to recognise it (or lack of it) in themselves and in others.
4) Meditation is also a great recharge and rejivenation when we have a busy, energetic toddler/preschooler, who is just learning independence and learning how to work through their emotions. Also for when we have a toddler and new baby and no time to ourselves. Being able to stay calm, grounded, centred through these times will be a beautiful model for your child and help to your child learn to navigate their emotions in a loving environment.
5) Meditation is a lovely quiet time for the mother to be. A time when visions can come to us, when we can connect to our baby, send our baby love, commune with our baby. A time to rest our amazing bodies. Bathing you and your baby in beautiful healing healthy energy.
So meditation is of great value" to a mother for so many reasons. Rather than learning how to do this once your baby comes, which is harder as you are busier and more tired and becoming good at it by the time your child is 4, be skilled at it before. What beautiful energy you will be able to give your baby and child throughout its day. What a beautiful energy for them to learn as part of a normal life. How to Be. Let's start from the very start today, building a deeper connection with the beautiful soul that has chosen you to be their mother.
For this week take 15-30 min a day, lying in your sacred space. You may like to do any of the following.
Simply observe your breathe. When it changes from inspiration to expiration, where you feel it, your nostrils, your tummy, your shoulders, where the air is going. Simply observe, no judgement. When your mnd wonders just simply bring it back to the breath.
Try simply observing the sounds around you. In your body, in the room, outside the room.
Or you may like to observe your body. Feel where it is touching contact, where muscle tension is, feel what and where your emotions are in your body.
Finally connecting with your baby. Surrounding your baby with love.
What is your special time with your children? My insight this week was about special time and letting your child lead. I have always tried to give my oldest "special time" once my daughter came along. That usually involved me planning something little during her nap time, like a puppet show or picnic in the garden. It involved me doing something for him. This week however I was reading "Playful Parenting" by Laurence Cohen. He described special time as letting the child lead. Play whatever they want to play. Of course I have done this too, however as I read the reasons why we should do this, I was really struck by just how meaningful it is and it really resonated with me.
"Special time is an active form of listening, in which your child's play becomes the vehicle for telling you about their life". "Playing what they want to play and how they want to play is our way of really listening". "They need us to be active participants in the play just like listening requires active attentiveness".
Wow! What better investment can I give to my boy than special time listening to him. Really listening. I am here for you and I am here to listen. How wonderful if he grows up with the feeling that I am there to really listen to him. Something I think is especially important for boys. I figure it is putting a dollar in the bank of "come talk to me whenever you have a problem bank" that he will be able to draw on as he gets older.
Now playing matchbox cars or Thomas trains takes on a whole new meaning to me. It is no longer a bit tedious and I find ways to get myself engaged and work to not let my mind wander and bring myself back into his space for a good long period of time. Real quality time. I can see us even more connected this week.
Have a beautiful weekend Mothers x