I get this question often: How do we keep a rhythm with the endless breaks we may be taking or the family visiting or the baby that is coming or even just the weekend? how do I keep it going without school as the anchor?
First things first… realize that rhythm is tied to YOU. ﾠAs Mom, you have to be on top of your game. At this point, if you are new to this and you are still working on getting up before your children, you may not be totally sold on it being all about you, but my hope is that you are starting to see it. When you do your part (WILLING) then things fall into place and you can then be holding the space, being present, etc. and your family will do their part. ﾠSo start with that impulse to get up and connect with the Divine first thing in the morning. ﾠThat means actively (vs. passively) connecting… that means addressing the Deity, opening the prayer, etc. That will look different to everyone, but it is consciously opening a dialog – yes, it will feel odd at first, but it gets easier. Opening the dialog doesn’t have to start with “Dear Heavenly Father” unless that is where you are religiously, it is as simple as addressing that energy, that being, call it Father, Mother, Source, where ever you are, be there – be present in the addressing, not passive. ﾠIt doesn’t need to be long, be thankful for your blessings, ask for help where you need it, close and move on. ﾠSome days my prayers are 20 minutes, some days they are 20 seconds! Passive prayer is a bit more like meditation or listening…pondering – this is good too and if you are only accustomed to doing this type of connecting, please don’t think I am down on it… I think passive prayer is a very good thing, it is my mode of *being* all day (that comes with practice) – taking the time to be active in prayer will enhance this passive mode and change the way you live – I promise!
After this connection then you are working on things that order your day… making sure your meals are all planned and ready to go, if you are homeschooling older children – making sure your lessons are ready for the day, if you are hanging out with younger ones – making sure that you know the flow of the day…if these things are in place and you are confident with them then spend a bit of time on the computer if you’d like or knitting or other handwork. ﾠ**side note about the computer… I like to keep my inbox to less than 20 messages, I keep them well sorted and keep it just as clean as I want my house to be, this makes email a quick thing and trust me… I get a ton of email, between 50 and 200 a day, I am sorting several times a day, most will not need to do this and can get by sorting twice a week or even less. Also, don’t get sucked into pretty blogs that make you feel icky about where you are on the journey, this will not help you. ﾠNEVER sit down to them when you are feeling bad, sometimes they do inspire us to greatness, but often they leave us feeling down. ﾠThat is not the fault of the blogger, I applaud them for their beautiful blogs, but TRUST ME, lol… I know that this often isn’t how their lives look ﾠoff screen, they are scrambling, feeling off, fighting for rhythm just like you are, they just have a sweet camera and have taken some great shots. ﾠSOME are really that together, those are great moms to be inspired by, but for right now, don’t spend too much time there. ﾠSpending that time in prayer, meditation or other WILLING activity will be far more beneficial to you. ﾠI would rather you spend your time knitting than surfing at least for now while you are getting your rhythm in order. ﾠKeep your computer time short.
So back to how this rhythm is tied to you… When you take this time to be present, then things can come into your day that are unexpected – you can even have relaxing weekends and holidays, visits with family, etc. How? Imagine a plate spinner at a circus, lol… as long as he keeps his presence and keeps his hands weaving in and out of those plates then all is well, he can keep them all spinning – he is holding the space just by paying attention to the plates. ﾠThe minute he stops caring for one plate then it wobbles, oh no! ﾠHe now has to put more energy into that wobbling plate than he did when he was just offering a slight spin… while he puts his attention there, then three others start to wobble because his energy is tied to the first wobbling plate. ﾠPretty soon, all the plates are wobbling, he is running frantic between each plate and things begin to crash. Soon all the plates are on the floor. ﾠThis happens with rhythm. ﾠWhile it seems like this huge expanse of energy to keep the plates all going, it really isn’t because once they are going he is just placing his hand in here or there to give it a spin, he is then floating between the plates vs. watching them all crumble. ﾠWhen we parent from chaos, then the plates are never all spinning, when we don’t get up and get into a good place, it is just like us coming into the game with wobbly plates to begin with and if they are all wobbly then we can’t possibly keep them spinning, we they crash and before we know it, so do we. ﾠIt is MUCH LESS energy to keep a good rhythm, but it is more WILLING to keep a good rhythm. ﾠOnce your rhythm is set, you know what you’ll eat, how your lessons will go, what time you’ll get up, etc. then you can tend to the plate that starts to wobble while still holding the space with the others.
Holidays, weekends, visitors, etc.ﾠﾠWhen I say I am always up first, it means ALWAYS. ﾠI do take the occasion to sleep in, but I don’t expect that Erik will be able to keep and hold that same energy, it isn’t a slight on him, it is just that Mom energy is different. ﾠSo he can get up with them and feed them, start the day, etc. but if I don’t get in that time of active prayer, then the day is off. ﾠSo in essence the rhythm is tied to YOU. You are the plate spinner, you are what makes the world go round in your home.ﾠYOU are the Beacon, never forget that.ﾠﾠOn holidays or weekends, I still rise first, not as early, I may only get a few moments to myself, but I do carve them in there. ﾠThis allows me to put order to the day – if I don’t get this time, then I will excuse myself from the activities that have begun and spent 3-5 minutes in the potty ordering the day… so much easier than ordering it in the midst of everyone. ﾠIt is as simple and taking a deep breath… asking “Dear Lord, please show me what needs to be done and the easiest way to do it.” Then I listen… the order begins: this, then this, then this… boom, I have it down, I leave the potty with a smile on my face and an order in my head.
Holidays should have some sort of plan…say you are going to Grandma’s to eat, have an exit strategy (I am BIG on this!) Know how you ﾠwill leave when it is time and how you can leave if you should need to leave earlier than you originally thought, discuss this exit plan with your partner and children if needs be – but generally this shouldn’t be a discussion with kids unless they are older… 9 or so. ﾠIf everyone is coming to your house, remember this is YOUR house, again, YOU are in charge… be the authority in YOUR house, do not let a mother or MIL run the show in YOUR house! ﾠStep in there, be firm. If kids are getting rowdy because of something grandpa or that irritating uncle is doing, make it known. You don’t have to make a stink about it, just hold the space. ﾠ**Holding the space is something we discuss more in the TFW program, it has less to do with what you say and more to do with how you feel. ﾠYou want to be warm but confident. ﾠStrong but pliable. You want to have authority but not be authoritative.**ﾠSo say that Uncle Joe is climbing on that last nerve, this is where you turn to Daddy and say “honey, it looks like one of us needs to hold the space in the living room, I can go and you can stir this gravy or you can go and break up the crazy energy, which works better for you?” ﾠOr perhaps since it is YOUR kitchen, lol, you hand the spoon to your mother or Uncle Joe’s wife and ask them to stir! ﾠBe strong, keep calm.
Extended breaks and rhythm.ﾠﾠWhen I was pregnant with our last baby, I was ordered to bed rest about a month before her birth… honestly, that is like telling the tide to be held back or asking the sun not to shine! SO HARD FOR ME! The health of our baby was so very important to me that I decided I would find a way to hold the space from my bed. ﾠI could only do this though because I had children that were reverent and obeyed their mother – this didn’t come from years of beating them, it came from years of teaching them that we respect each other and training them to hold the space on their own (something that really doesn’t happen regularly until after age 14, but can certainly be a consistent goal from about 9 and up.) I knew with bed rest and then birth and then recovery and the long list of business tasks I had through the summer that we were about to have an extended break – it lasted about 5 months! It took Erik and I being conscious about parenting even more that normal, it took me stepping up my active prayer and my passive pondering, it took me knitting more (handwork calms the spirit and strengthens the will) – it took a PLAN. ﾠNow that plan didn’t mean that I was so tied to it that we couldn’t deviate, that is NOT what rhythm is about. ﾠRhythm is about YOU remember? So you are in a good place, you have the plan in order, all those plates are spinning nicely, no one is wobbling and boom… you get handed another plate! So you give each of those plates a good firm spin and you then begin to spin that new plate, all the while you are keeping present with the others. Pretty soon you’ve got them all spinning and a new rhythm is born. ﾠOne thing Steiner says is to adhere to one resolution until a new one is needed… that means you begin to see the need and you roll with it, you can’t roll with it if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.
Saturdays are much the same as holidays, again, all about you. Sunday though I will address in another post, these days become very sacred to me and I like to build in extra things that make my day more smooth. ﾠMore on Sunday later.
I hope this has been helpful… go get your plates spinning and know that I am here to help!
ADDED October 2015:
A lot of moms contact me and tell me they flat out resent needing to hold the space and constantly be ON. That attitude generally comes from burn out. You need some help with your kids. Be honest with your husband and if you don’t have a husband, be honest with yourself enough to know that you need sitter help. Somehow we get it into our heads that being AP means you never leave your child… I promise it doesn’t say that in the API literature! Of course you want to be mindful of who your children are with, but also be flexible. You need rest. Rest and play time for you will have you not resenting this awesome stewardship! Blessings.