So it’s been a while for me. **Huge** thank you to Cassandra for keeping this little blog alive while I was homeschooling this year!!
I also want to extend my gratitude to all of you have remained loyal readers – we appreciate you. It is good to know that there are others like us in the world, and that we are not alone on this journey.
Now that we are (almost) on summer break, I have plans. I will be sharing some of the things that we have been doing since the last time I posted in (gasp!) February. My favorite project from our 2014-2015 school year has been planning our Preschool Playdates. For the first time in a long time, I got to use my creativity instead of following a course outline from a homeschool curriculum publisher. If you follow us on Instagram (@sweetpeafamilies), you will have seen the pictures. As I have more time, I will be posting the pictures here, along with more details and links to the printables that I used.
Here are some random thoughts I want to share with you:
1. It has become painfully clear to me that I am not going to be a super-blogger anytime soon. I had the opportunity to attend the Birth Without Fear conference in Austin (October 2014) – A.Ma.Zing. Besides all the incredible information that I received that weekend, I also realized something else: super-bloggers bleed on their pages. As a person today, I am too private to reveal that much of myself on the internet. I also have serious concerns about what my children and their friends will read about as it relates to our family, so you will continue to see helpful, informative posts that (hopefully) encourage and inspire you as you grow your family.
2. I have accepted that I have a full-time job: homeschooling our four children. It was so much less stressful on us this year when I wasn’t concerned about getting posts up two times a week, and then watching the ticker to see who was seeing what…besides the fact that I do not have the time or the interest to keep up with the paperwork that accompanies blogging for income. For now, I will keep on having blog-envy when I see blogs with slick pages, lots of sponsors and popularity buttons, all while maintaining my sanity for the benefit of our whole family!
3. There are a lot of posts half-written in my mind: mothering, self-acceptance, and toddler tantrums are my top three. I am looking forward to sharing them with you as our school year winds down and I can use some of that open time to type them in their completed form here.
REFLECTIONS ON ATTACHMENT PARENTING:
For today, I want to encourage you once again in attachment parenting. We had the pleasure of attending a program at the library with The Singing Cowboy yesterday. One of his messages to the children was to be kind to their animals, specifically to horses. The audience was captivated by his horse, who performed amazing “tricks” to the delight of the children. Some kiddos kept asking, “How do you train him?! How does he do that?”
His answer was that the horse was his friend. He does not abuse him, hit him, or incite fear or pain – his philosophy is to just have fun with him. Although it takes longer to train this way, he uses kindness and encouragement instead of pain and consequences.
It was exactly the message I needed to hear yesterday. If a human being can take this much care with an animal, can we take as much care or more with our children? Aren’t they worthy of our very best efforts every time we interact with them?
The concept of attachment parenting where we honor our children as whole, completely functioning human beings really does take more time. I cannot see a way around that because it is intentional and purposeful; by definition it takes longer. In some cases, it requires us to exercise self-control instead of instant behavior modication. I propose that it is worthy and important because we are not training animals – we are raising up human beings, the future of our society.
I have been a little louder than I like to be these days – Peaceful Mama is struggling hard against turning into Crazy Mama. The summer months are my nanny-free months, so I am not only wrapping up our school year, I am also the full-time cook, laundress and daily housekeeper (Thank goodness we have someone come once a week to help with the cleaning!!). This year I have the additional task of preparing our beloved summer home for sale, plus the stress of packing or parting with everything we have accumlated here over the last seven years.
Yesterday was the poke at the heart that I needed. My children are not my friends…they are more than that. They are the big souls in little bodies that have been entrusted to ME. What an honor to love, nurture and cherish these amazing human beings. In spite of the added stress I am feeling, my Sweet Peas are still children: they have no idea about the stresses I carry or why I carry them. And I don’t want to them to carry them with me – their lives will get complicated soon enough.
I also need to acknowledge that all the acting out I am seeing these days is a reflection of their own stress about selling our summer home. Three of them have known this place from the dawn of their memory. I was pregnant with them here, so they have experienced these sounds since before they were born. They learned to crawl on these floors. All four of them have shared childhood adventures within these walls. I am not alone in my anxiety about selling our haven of rest and relaxation.
What I realized yesterday is that we can all have more fun if I can slow down a minute to think about the big picture. If I can have them help me, I don’t have to bear my burdens alone. However, it’s not just about getting the chores done – it’s also about teaching them and treasuring our time as a family.
I had already started the week by creating “clean teams” – the two younger children help me with breakfast clean up, the two older children help me with lunch clean up, and then they take turns as “boy team” and “girl team” helping their father with the dinner dishes. Now I want to add more fun – upbeat music as we clean up, maybe let them come up with team chants that we can use for encouragement and team-building. I know there are also some laundry games we can play, and the older two can learn to use the clothes washer if I relax about controlling every aspect of doing the laundry.
Next on my list is finding a way to make the packing and parting meaningful to them. If you have any ideas, please share them in the comment section.
We have the opportunity to create the lives we want for our families. Let’s make the most of those every day. While taking the time to add joy to mundane tasks may mean it takes longer, I am going to take it if it means more smiles for everyone involved.