Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Housework ... but not as we know it

Still working through ’You are your child’s first teacher’ and still getting so much out of it.
One of the themes in many Waldorf/Steiner books I have read, and that I have heard spoken about in our playgroup, is the role of the mother as a ‘model’ doing house hold tasks in a calm, pleasant way. Our attitude and approach is the most important part of the equation, not the result.

One of our original playgroup teachers was a wonderful example of this. She moved gracefully, with a soft smile on her face, and humming while she worked. She would sort out the bread rolls, organise hand washing stations, cut fruit for morning tea, arrange dolls for story time, all with this calm, serene, contented presence. And the children all gravitated towards her.

The following except from the book speaks directly to this.

Because rhythmical activity speaks so strongly to children, it is helpful to bring conscious gestures into our household tasks such as folding clothes, sweeping floors and washing the windows, car or floor. The children will watch, join in to help, or simply take it all in as they go about their work of playing. It sounds like we’re back at the same old stuff – housework- but there are two differences. One is we’re doing these activities with awareness of how we move, with awareness of their beneficial effect on the young child and with caring. The other is that we might be doing things we wouldn’t ordinarily do like sweeping, washing place mats on a scrubbing board, ironing, grinding grain with a hand mill, baking, sanding wood and so forth. By becoming conscious of our own activities, by regulating our daily lives in a harmonious, rhythmical way, by valuing what we do around our children, we are shaping their will forces, and helping their physical bodies to develop in as healthy a way as possible.

This is a huge challenge for me. I am a rusher, clumsy, frantic, stressed and displeased about having to do ‘mundane’ things. I long to do tasks without a toddler pulling on my skirt, and try to distract her with toys so I can get some peace to finish my own tasks. I have much to learn.

Originally published at http://domesticallyblissed.wordpress.com

No comments: