Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mama Guilt & the Waldorf Police


Recently, I've come out of a period of Mama guilt, which is probably why I haven't been blogging much here.  I had realized that if the Waldorf police came over to my house, I would probably be arrested!  Storytelling was falling away. Painting day, where did that go?  Baking, whenever we happen upon it.  Winter Festivals? Which were those?  Yes, I have let it all go but the basics.  We were down to just learning our letters through read aloud fairy tales!  (gasp!) That might be just fine, but the reason I decided to home school was to bring this beautiful Waldorf world to my children.  After a hefty dose of pure liquid Mama guilt, I think I may have learned a few things.


First, I need to forgo the guilt, it doesn't help. Second, I need to give myself a little bit of a break.  My dear Owen is two as many of you know, which is a fun and demanding age.  I gave up painting day because it was frustrating, baking became whenever Owen was asleep or occupied.  And festivals?  Ugh, I became tired just thinking about them. 

But wait, Valentine's Day is coming up!  I've brought out the melted crayon hearts, the garlands, the vases & Valentine's we made last year.  Suddenly I want to make heart shaped candles and Valentine's Day cookies!  I'm re-energized!  Why, because I love Valentine's Day.  It's always been apart of my life, my childhood and I enjoy it.  Looking back through the past year we have celebrated many of the Waldorf festivals. And the ones we really celebrated with gusto were the ones I understood well, truly imbibed and made apart of my thinking.  Once that happens, celebrating becomes so easy, natural and fun!  Like celebrating Valentine's Day, it's effortless, just a natural outpouring of a full spirit!

I've realized that I cannot absorb all of Waldorf education in an instant.  That I do have many years of Waldorf homeschooling ahead of me and plenty of time to get to all of the projects I want to get to.  I've realized knitting will come, storytelling is much easier for me than it used to be.  I've realized that what festivals I do get to will be even more natural and fun to celebrate next year.  And that the ones we haven't gotten to yet will be fun to explore in the years to come.  I'm learning to breathe a little and give up the idea of a "perfect" Waldorf home.  What is that anyway?  It's so easy to compare ourselves to everyone else and feel we're somehow not measuring up.  I do feel like a bit of a lone ship out here in Neverland.  We are the only Waldorf home schoolers in our town (that I know of) and there is no Waldorf school close to us.  So, like many of you maybe, I am learning this method all on my own, with my books and my internet!  I need to be a little kind to myself.

This week, I renewed our sense of rhythm. I made an effort to tell stories, we baked and did crafts together.  And ya know, it really wasn't exhausting but it was truly rewarding.


We made play dough from the Festivals, Family & Food book.


The boys made letters, shapes, textures and sculptures or "creations" as they call them.


We used the play dough to make a sort of mold for pouring candles.  I just saw this method on a blog very recently and now I can't find the post.  If anyone knows, please do tell me so I can reference the blog post here.



I made this one with a tp roll creased to make a heart.


A beeswax ornament.  Mmmm, they smell so good!



The finished candles.


A few fun play dates and dinner with a friend.  And much more.  It was a good week and I feel like we're "back" in terms of truly enjoying the spirit of Waldorf learning.

We also had a wonderful and pivotal day, today, in learning to read!  I'll be writing more on that soon! 

Until next time...

34 comments:

  1. I think you would get off with a warning! Great post!

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  2. Thank you for being so transparent and honest in this post. I am so glad that you have return to posting.

    I am a new Waldorf inspired mama and have experienced waves of " I am not doing enough". I am on a huge learning curve and am just beginning my journey.I have to be patient with myself and allow myself to integrate what I am learning at a reasonable pace.

    I often feel the therapautic healing I am experienceing while trying my best at the Waldorf lifestyle and do not want to spoil that by putting too high expectations on myself. It starts with my reverence for what I am capable to doing.

    I always remind myself that anything I do is enough, I can always add more later.

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    1. Yes, your attitude is so good. I love that you say, "anything I do is enough, I can always add more later". I have to keep reminding myself of this.

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  3. Mama guilt is hard. And oh, I do know my own personal Waldorf Police all too well...I call them that, too! ;) Much of last year I was often having panics of perfectionism about needing to do it 'right' or trying to do everything, combined with guilt about not having a perfect waldorf home or being a perfect waldorf parent, etc...it is helping so much to let go of this, and to realize that nobody's perfect and it's OK! I think this perspective has helped me appreciate waldorf a lot more, too. :)

    Way to go for being kind to yourself, letting go of the guilt, making your beautiful candles, and just being awesome!

    *hugs*

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    1. Thank you! It does help me to appreciate Waldorf in letting go of perfectionism. Waldorf HS should be fun! If it's not fun we're definitely doing something wrong!

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  4. Yes what a good reminder.
    The most important act in the Waldorf approach is our loving sincerity in what we do.
    This is the true soul milk that a child is nourishes by. The more we are present with what we are doing
    the more it brings further and deeper inspiration to add to.

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    1. This is key isn't it! Thank you so much for this comment. It really helps me to remember presence is all important. When truly present there is no room for feeling I'm doing "less than". Presence, presence, this will be my mantra!

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  5. What wonderful ideas!! Glad you got over your Mama guilt. Personally I'm in awe of anyone who is trying to homeschool especially with the Waldorf philosophy. I feel lucky to be able to send my daughter to a Waldorf School that we love.

    I would like to invite you to share at our sharing party at http://craftymomsshare.blogspot.com/2012/02/sharing-saturday-6.html. Thank you!

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  6. Your Valentine activities look wonderful, I love the smell of beeswax as well- yum. I tend to get out of rhythm right before spring as well, and need to refocus on my goals, spring celebrations like Valentine's Day always seem to be a big help for me as well. :)

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    1. This is fascinating to me that you've experienced this right before Spring as well. Very interesting! And helpful to know I'm not alone. I'm learning that rhythm really is very fluid. Sometimes it gets off track and in the future rather than pour on the guilt I will just gently guide us back again.

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  7. Oh goodness do I go throught that Mama guilt too :( It's never fun. We are always so hard on ourselves. I am so glad you got through it. NO ONE is perfect.
    XOXO

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    1. Thank you Nicolle! So silly to be so hard on ourselves. I certainly wouldn't expect instant learning with my children. So why of myself? Learning Waldorf is a process. But it should be a fun process!

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  8. It's hard, isn't it when you are the only one doing Waldorf in a non Waldorf world! I'm hearing ya..... I am finding the same dilemma with my youngest child (but my first doing Waldorf). She is my last in a longer line of kids, and while books, curriculum and internet have some very good info, it's not quite the same as sitting down and having a good old chat to another Waldorf mama!

    But you know what? As long as you are happy doing whatever, the kids don't care how it's presented. They are no doubt enjoying all the fairy tales and don't even realise that they didn't paint this month or have a winter festival. Go easy on yourself - when you can manage more it will all fall into place! x

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    1. It's true, they don't care how it's presented. My boy loves reading the fairy tales together. That being said, This week I made an effort to tell our A fairytale and it was wonderful. He experiences the story in a different way when I tell it. A living way. But we do enjoy both ways. Like you say when I can manage more it will fall into place.

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  9. Oh I hear you! I feel like a lone wolf trying to learn it all on my own too. It is so different than the public schooling I was a part of. I am beginning to realize that we may just be inspired by the Waldorf schools but may not hold 100% to everything. This quote was shared recently in a workshop I am taking and it seems to fit with so many situations right now: "on this path no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed; even a little of this practice will shelter you from great sorrow." - Bhagavad Gita
    Wishing you lots of love from one Mama to another. =) Love the candles too!

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    1. Thank you Lynette! So good to have others to share in the journey here.

      Love the quote! I also think Waldorf school inspiration is wonderful but I'm not sure I can bring every Waldorf element to my children. After all I am not a school! I am self-taught, I don't have a eurythmy branch, nor can I speak German, or teach the violin, lol. But I certainly can bring movement, language & music into our home. My translation of Waldorf will be different, individual to me and my family. And that's wonderful & certainly enough.

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  10. So glad that you decided to ditch the guilty feelings! Isn't it strange that so many of us Mama's feel the same way? Or are we all just perfectionists? I know several Waldorf families that look so relaxed and comfortable doing what they do. But really what constitutes a perfect Waldorf home, what are we striving for? I think introducing any of the Waldorf philosophies to a child is a good thing, so many don't even know what it is! I'm very grateful for the internet too! Be kind to yourself,
    xoxo
    ~ joey ~

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    1. Hi Joey! It does seem strange so many of us feel the same way, but then again, maybe not so strange. SO much of Waldorf is so very different than how many of us grew up or experienced learning. There is quite a learning curve. But again, the learning of it should be fun and enjoyable. Already I've learned so much. I will keep on striving happily.

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Be kind to you, you are giving your children something that the others have not yet discovered.
    xoxo
    ~ joey ~

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    1. Sorry about all these odd comments, blogger was acting up on me!
      ~ j

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  13. I love Valentine's Day, too! Love all your crafts. Any excuse to craft is so fun!

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  14. Thank you so much for this! I too have gotten completely out of our rhythm, just like you describe. It also takes *so much effort* to just get out the door to have our outside time that it feels like there simply is no time to do any of the "school" stuff (we're doing kindy right now). I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's day like you describe, but maybe I can hinge on "pancake day" (shrove Tuesday) to rejuvenate my spirit. Heaven knows, I need something! Thanks again for the inspiration!! I sure need it at this time of year.

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  15. I love this post. I wonder if we don't all go through this same thing - after all, we're going against the grain in so many ways, and even with a good support system (I have a fantastic Waldorf homeschool group here), I still feel like I'm twisting in the wind quite a lot & have to keep reminding myself that I have years and years to fit it all in, and if I'm not doing everything exactly the way I want to be doing it *right now*, it just means that I have room for growth.

    *Love* your heart-shaped candles; I am going to borrow that idea for future use… xo

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  16. You say so much so well here! Thank you! When I first was getting into Waldorf, I was so excited and inspired I wanted to do ALL the projects in All Year Round, celebrate ALL the festivals, learn ALL the songs and verses. And my first kid was what, all of two? It didn't take long to slow down, let go, and embrace letting things build as time passes. Saving things to discover afresh with our children as they grow is my motto now, adn you speak to that so well here. But you have definitely inspired me on the valentines day front! Maybe if we make some candles like your sweet ones it will cover us on the candlemas end, too! :)
    Kyce

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  17. Hello,
    I'm a new follower and I'm so incredibly pleased that this is the first post I'm reading.
    Oh my Goddess! I'm almost in tears here (sorry, emotional week) in how well I can relate to your post.
    I've had to realize that Waldorf means something different to everyone and that every family has their own perspective on how to do Waldorf in their lives.
    Mmmm, that's the good stuff: natural rhythm.
    I love your Valentines creations! They are beautiful and so are your children.
    Paz,
    Nico

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  18. Very honest and authentic post. I am a HS and we went to a Waldorf school for and pre-school. To me the strange thing that happens is this "judgement" or dogma that can take the joy out of the beauty of Steiner's work. Maybe you can re-frame the Waldorf Police or just take it out of your vocab when that Mama guilt that we all feel starts to creep in or up. Being authentic and heart centered can be a challenge at times , but I have found it keeps me centered and smiling while HS my 2 boys. :-)

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  19. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!! I hope you will share with us again this week!

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  20. What beautiful crafts for Valentine's Day! Thank you for the inspiration! I realize this is an older post but I found in on Waldorf Wednesdays this week. I hope you have gotten over the guilt, I always look to your blog for inspiration, you are doing a great job not only with your children but inspiring other Mamas!

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  21. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it!

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  22. Thanks for sharing how you feel! I feel the same way. I was brought up in a VERY traditional home. My mother was the big earner and she didn't think it good to teach me how to bake cook knit or sew. Art was never a priority. They did wonderful. I aore them. But they thought what was best was for me to be a rich professional woman. So I am learning all this on my own. I didn't even know the difference between fabrics or any materials. I mean I AM STARTING FROM SCRATCH HERE! So it has been pverwhelming at times, but yet so exciting to think of all I will be giving my babies, of the fun we will have learning together, of the many years of beautiful celebration of life that is waldorf. <3 Yomari CRuz-DeWeese using my husbands acct! :)

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