It is three o’clock and Gabriel is finally napping. The broken window in our bedroom has finally been replaced. It is peaceful and quiet, and while the day is beautiful outside I am glad to be indoors with a few moments of afternoon nothingness to occupy me before the little guy wakes up.
I’ve been reading a wonderful book called You are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. She writes from a Waldorf perspective so there is a lot of information about exposing children to art, music, and literature. What I’ve been finding the most helpful for me as the mother of a one year old, is what she says about parenting and the issues that many face. Unlike some parenting books, which try to guilt you into following there particular method, Dancy talks about things like why parenting takes so much of our energy when on paper a lot of the day to day stuff doesn’t look like that much work. What she said made a lot of sense but I never thought about it before: our lives and our spiritual sides are so closely bound up with our children’s and that connection requires a great deal of energy from us, twice as much as we used before we had children.
What I really appreciated was Dancy’s grounded advice to basically keep grounded, to focus on self care and inner work and growth as a person and a parent. Some parenting experts will simply tell an overwhelmed mom to “take some time for yourself” and “go get a haircut.” Haircuts are nice but 45 minutes in the salon is not going to restore you. Dancy gets more to the heart of the matter recommending something more akin to restoration than to a little shoe shopping might be. New shoes are really only a band-aid. Prayer and meditation can change your life.
There is a lot about Waldorf that I really like: the arts, the nature, the festivals, the emphasis on literature and storytelling. But at the same time I am drawn to Montessori for the opposite reasons: I love how Montessori emphasizes practical life skills, the concrete before the abstract, the tangible and the real. One thing I am thinking about is how to use the best of both for teaching Gabriel as he gets older. Even if he goes to pre-school I want there to be Montessori and Waldorf elements in the home. I want him to know that poetry is as valuable to humanity as engineering is would be my overarching educational goal.
He is fussing now and I need to figure out what the rest of the day will hold. Kind of need to get working on establishing a rhythm of the day.