Underpinning my life with children is a philosophy based around the work of Rudolf Steiner, also known as Waldorf. I love the ‘stuff’ of Waldorf, the handicrafts, the use of natural materials, the value placed on getting outside and experiencing all the facets of our natural world, the value of imagination, the singing, the importance of rhythm, the emphasis on creative play, movement games and fingerplays resonates with me. But it is the life-time journey of inner work that is encouraged that really pulls me to Waldorf in this season of my life.
My journey for some time has been in the realm of Inner Work or self development. This is a life-time journey for us all. For now, it is quite significant in my life and parenting. That is why you will find so many posts on Parenting here! The most important goal in my parenting is to parent with joy and patience. To bring joy to my days with my children I need to take time to nourish my soul and self-care.
Parenting can be challenging. For me, it has been. I have learnt over the past three years that how we view and respond in parenting begins with us. Post-natal depression takes you to a very dark place, it was like someone had taken all the colour out of the world. It is not a great place to be viewing the world from. But through growth and striving to improve and taking the time for self-care and nourishing my soul, the colour is returning to my days.
Looking at one of my triggers (and you might identify with this) I discovered that anxiety plays a huge part in how I am travelling each day. I never saw myself as an anxious person, but it sure has manifested itself now I am a mother of four! The greatest gift you can give your child is to do your inner work! Steiner viewed young children and their parents as interconnected. This strong connection means that children will express through their behaviours a mirror of yours.
I can see my anxiety in my children’s behaviours. In my teen it is a hesitancy to ‘put himself out there’. In Chook I believe it is why he is rambunctious. In Strawberry I see it in her need for comfort and in Ooffa his clingyness.
To parent with joy I need to address this anxiety. One of the first things I worked on was creating a rhythm for our family (click on weekly rhythm/routine to look at some of ours). I am comfortable with where we are now with our daily and weekly rhythm.
In my inner work at the moment I am working on keeping a calm presence in my parenting. But, how to be calm in THAT moment! You know the moment, when all hell breaks loose, when you’ve got two to console (or three!), the whinging, the grizzling, the tantrum, the sound of something breaking…
Lately I have been blocking it all out. Yep, I tune out to everything. I focus on my breathe and then I assess the situation from a distance. I ask myself three questions:
Is there a ‘real’ need here for my child? Food, water, sleep, nappy change, movement, sickness.
How am I feeling? How am I coping with getting things done?
What is the best way to address this situation?
I came across this great post from Awesomely Awake on things you can do to encourage being a calm parent. There are some really good ideas to try in the list.