Parenting with Intention. What does it mean? By definition intention can mean “a thing intended; an aim or plan” and “a determination to act in a certain way”. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to plan, however there is more to Parenting with Intention than just a good plan. Parenting with Intention also means determining how I am going to parent.
With any intention setting we must spend some time reflecting on the bigger picture. I am often guilty of not being able to see the forest for the trees when I get caught up in the daily “to-dos” and “shoulds”. It is at these times when things start to fall apart in our family. These are the times when we are all unconsciously going through the motions of life; sleep, eat, school, work, sports, dance, music, laundry, groceries, cleaning, busy, busy, busy! Then everyone is exhausted and crabby and we turn to things to help us check out and disconnect from one another, often plugging into media or retreating to our rooms. When my family was younger this looked different. We had a lot of meltdowns and arguments.
What is the alternative to this cycle? Intention. I stop, take a step back and observe. I reflect on my family as a whole and then on the individuals. It doesn’t take long. Just a few minutes of quietly sitting and listening to my inner voice. What does my family need right now? What do my children need? What do my partner and myself need? Often it is a quiet day of connection and a rhythm and routine reset. We spend time together, playing board games, taking walks, cooking and then when our day of rest is over I return to our rhythm with intention. Where can we slow down, what can we cut out and what is essential for my family and my children.
It is mid-August and I am in the thick of it with planning out our homeschool year to come. In truth planning always starts by early May, assessing what we won’t be getting to, deciding what books and curriculum we want to purchase for the following year, and really just starting to wrap my head around the next step.
I am currently participating in a really great planning course through Celebrate the Rhythm of Life called Sketch it Out ( http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com ). One of our lessons was to assess what kind of planner we are. Although my astrological sign is supposed to be mutable, with the qualities of moving on and getting unstuck, I really don’t resonate with that. I hold on and I hold on tight. My first go around with Ancient Rome and my eldest was an epic 9 week block resulting in him hating Rome.
And so I find myself struggling with planning this year. There have been years in the past where I had everything laid out by now, books neatly sorted, all of our supplies ordered, delivered and put away. Not this year. I still have the unfinished lesson books from last year on the table in front of me. Life got in the way and we just didn’t wrap things up in any neat and tidy parcels.
Holding on has become a bit of a thing with me lately. Maybe that is why we haven’t done our wrap up from last years school work. I have been having a hard time with my boys growing older (and taller than me!), with friends moving away, with life moving quickly all around. I miss the early years of slow and steady days, to take a phrase from Charlotte Mason. Older children means more lesson work, less singing and baking, more extra curricular activities and less snuggling in bed with story books.
Wrapping up last years work with each boy is on my to do list over the next few weeks. It doesn’t work to just let that all go and move on. We need closure. In the meantime, I have started laying out our year, our months/blocks and our weekly rhythm (extra-curricular registrations do not wait for me to find closure😉). And despite the struggles I know I will get excited for what is to come. As I pick up trusted books, like Rhythms of Learning by Roberto Trostli and School as a Journey by Torin Finser, or visit favourite websites, like http://www.waldorfinspiredlearning.com or http://www.waldorfessentials.com, I am reminded of why I am here doing what I’m doing… Love, connection and support for one another and for our family.
Dancing through my weekends is coming to an end and it has totally snuck up on me! Our year over at Pegasus Studios where I teach pre-school and early childhood movement officially ended last Sunday with a whack load of recitals.
My Saturday classes were bitter sweet as I am ready for a bit of break, however I am really going to miss the little ones. And some of us had a rough start… My 2.5 year old classes cried a lot over the first few weeks and both my 4 year old classes pushed back against the class structure after they had all been in full day kindergarten for the week.
Both situations had me questioning what I was doing and what was developmentally appropriate for the children. I did a lot of soul searching and read Jane Healy’s Your Child’s Growing Mind.
Nine months changes a lot with littles though and all of my classes reached stages of fun and ease. There is nothing like a room full of dancing three year olds to bring you out of a funk. I guess I’m going to have to find something else to pick me up through the next little while!
Photo taken by one of the parents of my class.
Check out my guest post over at senseofstory.com today!
Days 2 and 3 for Me Made May are my favorite socks. I have a pair in purple as well and I just love them.
A few years ago I decided that I wanted to knit my own socks. A daunting task, I decided to take a class at the wonderful Purple Purl http://thepurplepurl.com with Kate Atherley. She not only taught us the basics of sock knitting but also gave us the details on how to create our own custom sock size. Kate has a lot of great patterns http://kateatherley.com
I have since added the Magic Loop to my sock knitting repertoire and plan on knitting two socks at once next time.
This is my first official Me Made May. The challenge is to wear something self made each day for the month of May. I already have a handful of pieces that I have made over the past year and I hope to make at minimum one new piece a week to round out my homemade wardrobe.
This is the Tessuti Favorite Top. It is not my favorite and I’m not sure if it is the pattern or the fabric. The fabric, which felt quite heavy on the bolt, is really light once seen up. It has also puckered on the seams. I don’t think stretch knit is my sewing preference.
Years ago, when my boys were little and I was soaking up anything and everything I could find about Waldorf and homeschooling, I followed a beautiful blog called Today in Faerie School. The blog is no longer up, but one of my favorite posts was about the Winter Solstice and how the blogger, Faerie Rebecca, stayed up the night of the Solstice in vigil with Mother Earth, waiting for the newborn Sun and baking cinnamon rolls for her family. Although I had a lot of energy for implementing many things into our families lives, staying up all night, or even late for that matter, was not one of them. With my busy toddler, preschooler and kindergartener, I was more often than not found fast asleep next to them at 8:00.
My boys are older now, and I was just fretting over our busy days away from home, filled with more complex lesson work that all my energy is poured into. I miss the simpler, albeit exhausting days, of littles occupied with play dough, cookie baking and the natural rhythms of the week, month and year.
That being said, I find myself this year staying up, keeping the vigil I wanted to for so long, turning my thoughts inwards to where we are at this moment in time. It is so easy to think back with rose coloured glasses and lament over days gone by. I may not be exactly where I wanted to be, and yes Gram, things have not gotten any easier, but we are together every day, growing and learning… and I am starting to find new ways of filling up my well, so that I may fill the well’s of my not so little boys. This vigil and more introspection over the coming weeks are one of those ways.
Cinnamon Buns rising to be baked and served with Gingerbread boys and baked apples for breakfast tomorrow morning.
I have cast on the second sock to the magic loop. It took me almost two months to knit the first sock and I am determined to knit this one up faster. I have only used a custom pattern that I learned at a sock knitting class with Kate Atherley at the Purple Purl http://kateatherley.com The next pair I attempt is going to be the two at a time on the magic loop and then I think it’s about time I tried some patterned socks. Suggestions?
I am currently reading The Lost Hero because the eleven year old loves to talk about the books he reads and I hate spoilers!
Knitting along with Ginny from Small Things http://www.gsheller.com
Some well known facts about myself are that I love babies and everything that goes along with them, including birth stories. I have been reading Birth: The Surprising Story of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy and it is a fascinating read. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am really enjoying it.
I am working away at my first magic loop sock. It has been many weeks of on and off knitting, but I am oh, so close to the toe!
Yarning Along with Ginny from Small Things http://www.gsheller.com
I love quiet. I find it hard to think of a moment when I thought it was too quiet. When I am in need of comfort I immediately wish that I was in a quiet corner by myself. In the quiet moments I can think, read, write, create.
Last week there was no quiet. There was noise and more noise and more noise. I felt as though I were going crazy, truly losing my mind. And that is why, after a week of seeking, I cherish these quiet moments when they happen.
Writing with http://www.writealm.com
I am a La Leche League Leader. Once a month I am lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with some wonderful mamas and their beautiful babies. Often we are supporting the new moms through some difficulty with breastfeeding or related topic. Last nights meeting was rare with many of the moms having two or three kids.
After sharing many thoughts and ideas about the Art of Breastfeeding talk turned to how fleeting those early days are. There were two new moms with a perfect 5 week old and a gorgeous 6 week old. The favorite saying of the night was “The days are long, but the years are short.”
And so comes to how fragile life is. You are handed a precious bundle, perfect in every way and you are now responsible for someone else’s life. You can’t imagine making it through the first week, let alone keeping this little thing alive for years. And then you blink and there is a tall, handsome young man standing in front of you.
Life is fragile. It comes and goes so fast. And in the meantime we forget to cherish the little moments. I’m guilty of that today. Constantly asking, demanding, screaming for a little quiet… and then they will be gone and it will be too quiet.
Writing along with http://writealm.com/