For me, the child's sanctuary is also my sanctuary, only carefully balanced and adjusted to include an evolving human being. And to nurture that human being-what a task! Truly heroic. What I do with myself teaches my children what it means to be a mother-wife-worker-human. Since I had a chance to meditate on work yesterday, it was nice to think about how that informs my parenting. My focus for parenting this year is going to be on the meaningful work I engage in, and continue to surround my 6-year-old daughter with healthy, life-giving human work in her home, and bring little Davis into the fold as well. (I did write about meaningful work last year.)
The other part of my intentions for the year has to do with emotions. I feel this could be an ongoing conversation, as in how much of your adult emotion do you show to your child? Yes, there is the paradigm of "the world is good", but children learn how to regulate their own emotions by watching their parents, and one can't honestly expect to never expose a child to your anger, no more than you can expect to never show them wonder or joy. So, that is a question of mine I continually hold, and I will try to model good mental health this year.
Parenting intentions for the year:
Find joy in meaningful work, give my children plenty of opportunities to imitate. The work I plan is gardening, animal care, housecleaning and maybe beekeeping (an aside-I have kept bees for 4 years and lost my 2 backyard hives last year. My husband is pushing for a year off.) Gosh, just keeping a garden will help set your seasonal rhythm. Last year was still a baby year, and my husband took over the care of the garden. Thank God he did! This year, I am inspired by a book that is coming out on landscaping with food. Now, doesn't that sound heavenly!
My older daughter has an interest in cooking, so that is an easy one: cook with Madeline.
And, here's a big one: I will more diligently moderate my computer time to exclusively include hours when the children are asleep. I watch TV occasionally, and I'm pretty good about watching it when the smaller kids are asleep, but I do find myself wandering to the computer during the day, "just to check my email" or whatever, and anytime I sit down it's a cue for the children to find me. Like Pavlov's dog. So, I think for me, I just need to set some parameters around it. (yes, this is painfully honest for a Waldorf teacher!)
As for the archetypes, this is where rich work with archetypes can happen. Archetypes from the fairy tales and Mother Goose include plenty of gardeners and bakers and farmers and craftsmen. With complete naivete, I imagine spinning a fairy tale life for my children and will consider the archetypes I present. I am going to keep just a piece of that naivete and use it for balancing archetypes like working mom (surely a modern day archetype). And I did have one nice "fairy tale" moment last year. We have a climbing tree in our front yard and it is Serena's tree. On warm days, Serena and I would bring food, a blanket, and yarn to the tree. She would climb, I would knit. Of course I liked doing it, but Serena told her teacher that was her favorite thing to do.
I stumbled across the goddess Uke Mochi and liked her because she was gentle and kind, bountifully fed people, and continued to nourish from her body even after she died. She will be my inspiration for my parenting work in 2010.
(thank you to those of you who are reading along with this little idea of mine. I hope it inspires you in some way! tomorrow's theme is "hero of the spirit's sanctuary")