This is a great post from our archives at the old site. I thought this was a great time to pull it out. We’ll have part two for you next week. Blessings!
Waldorf Guilt Part 1
Another good title might be “How will I fit it all in?” or “I want to have the perfect Waldorf home now!”
I come across this a lot and whether we have known Waldorf for years or are new coming to it, Waldorf Guilt is something most of us know and can relate to. When we first start learning about the method for homeschooling it can be daunting and exciting all at the same time – many moms realize that this was something they were looking for their whole life and finally it is all right here! Then they lay awake at night and worry about all the things they “missed” or all the things they want to do – painting lessons, knitting circles, gnome making, eurythmy, don’t forget all the plastic toys need to be trashed, clothes burned and all the kitchen cabinets must be emptied to make room for a grain mill and a 50# bucket of wheat! All of this and your child might only be 3 years old!
BREATHE! Most of us have been there or still go there once in a while! Sure even I lay awake at night wondering what to do – for about 3 minutes then I am out cold! lol. I learned long ago that we will never do one thing without it being at the expense of something else – good or bad – so I just have to trust that I will be led down the right path and that I will have the courage to listen to the still small voice. When I doubt, I pray, meditate, take a shower (my best alone time!) or go for a walk on my own – it doesn’t take long to check in with the Divine for me to remember that I am loved, I am lucky and I am going the right way.
One reason our curriculum all have “Journey” in the titles is because this is a journey – life – Waldorf, all of it – on this journey where direction is more important than speed. So what if you came to Waldorf “late” – it isn’t a race – you have plenty of time!
So take the time ~ you have plenty of it, pick one area each month and focus on that – your Waldorf home should feel peaceful and happy, not stressed, so take the time to meditate about what the Universe wants you to learn first – is it the back bone of Waldorf? Rhythm is the foundation, get that is place first. Then, maybe it is the curriculum if you have a school aged child, or maybe if it is near the holidays then the natural toys might really be speaking to you – take the time to get your direction and remember you can’t get it all at once. There is the old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” You don’t want a surface knowledge of several things, it is better to gain a strong knowledge in one area (while still understanding the basic overview) and then move on to the next step.
Rhythm is often confused with schedule – they have elements of the same thing, but rhythm is more about feeling where schedule is more about doing or willing. There are times when you will feel it all come together, that is a good rhythm. My definition of a great rhythm, especially in a home with two or more children, is seeing changes coming and as Mom you are grounded enough to slightly change things so that the rhythm (feeling) of your home is not upset. For instance this is the time of year when everyone starts to really wind down their schooling – it is tempting to just let everyone sleep in each day and just have lazy days – I think those are fine here and there but too many of them in a row and you will start wondering what happened, no one will feel right, you will be more agitated, kids will be fighting, etc. So transition into a summer/no school rhythm slowly by keeping your morning waking rhythm and perhaps even your circle and/or recorder lesson and then instead of just letting them run off each day, have a little something planned – it can be simple, perhaps your rhythm includes taking a picnic lunch to Daddy once or twice a week, baking for elderly neighbors or volunteering to walk dogs for the Humane Society – something that is fun and engaging – then take some lazy afternoon naps in the sun and relax.
Boy scouts aren’t the only ones who should learn to be prepared – even if your children are beyond the diaper bag age, you still need to be prepared. Things fall apart if we are not on top of it all. I still keep my summer waking schedule in the warmer months and just lay down in the afternoon when we have quiet time – this is perfect reading time for everyone! Our library has a summer reading challenge so the children are motivated to read. I understand that Barnes & Noble has one too. When you go away on a trip and you know your rhythm will be uprooted, make sure you try to take elements from home that can easily anchor and ground all of you while you are gone, for instance continue morning prayer time, circle time or take along a chapter book that is just to be read out loud during your trip – then don’t time the completion of the book until you return home, binding the trip and the home rhythm together, keep that rhythm of the trip the first few days back as you again transition into your normal rhythm.
In closing, I just want to touch on that guilt thing again. You know there are people brand new to Waldorf that come to me asking if I have read XYZ book and if I say no they act almost offended – thinking “gosh, I thought she’d know everything!” I know what I have been directed by the Spirit to learn, it is a great deal of information but not everything, I am continuing on this journey just as you are, reminding myself that it is a process. Long ago I came to terms with the “guilt” of not being able to provide all that a Waldorf school experience can – I decided that if the school was where my children should be then I would have a burning desire for it and I would be able to make it happen – but that is not my path and because that is not my path, then my children might miss great recorder lessons, wonderful eurythmy experiences, a fab wet on wet water color teacher… but what they gain is ME – ME confident in who I am and in Steiner’s work. Confident that even a bite is better than no taste at all, so we do our best and MOMS – that is all you can do… your best.
Now go relax, enjoy your children, play with them and let go of the guilt. There is no such thing as Waldorf perfect. Just be yourself, the Waldorf part will shine through.