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Rhythm

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, I have decided that it really, really is time to develop my rhythm for my house. I have been loosy goosy for so long and it is driving us all nuts.

Last year, we moved cross country and I went from working full time as an engineer to staying at home with a toddler (he will be 3 in a month). We bought a townhouse and have had to spend a fair amount of time fixing things. The house is a mess, and I feel like a mess. He was used to the school schedule and I feel like that is too much for me. I am also 24 weeks pregnant and know I need a rhythm to deal with 2 kids and actually get any housework done.

The sad part is that I am depending more and more on videos so that I can get some thing done. I am seriously, seriously nesting and trying to get everything organized and simplified before the baby comes. Because honestly, I feel like things will be so much worse if I don't. Yes, I am freaking out a little bit about having 2.

Please help me create one. I have tried and failed a few times so I feel like I am trying to change too much. Or not enough? I have no idea.

I feel like I overplan our activities. But then, if I don't get out, then I feel bored and isolated. But the people I have found near me have some different philosophies and that seems to cause issues. For instance, one of my friends thinks it is cute her son jumps on the couch and walks on furniture. So, when we go over (or she watches DS, and I REALLY appreciate her doing so), I spend the next 2-3 days keeping DS from jumping on walking on furniture. Argh.

And I can't ever to get housework done. I know I need to change my attitude about housework, but I find is annoying.

I am not a die hard Waldorf person, but I do feel there is a lot in it that resonates with me. So, I am trying hard to incorporate those things. I would love to do some of the crafts, but I am doing good if I get a shower every day. It does not help I am exhausted with night parenting and being pregnant.

I know this stuff is a bit off topic for this forum, but in a way, I feel like it really isn't. I don't know.

Can you tell I feel so lost right now???

Thanks for any help!
post #2 of 10
Rhythm is really just going with the ebb and flow of energy. For us, mornings are chore time, and afternoons are outside time. On Monday, we cook things for dinner and/or bake something and do laundry, Tuesday, I dust and vacuum and we finish cleaning the house that night with Daddy, Wednesdays are our homemade soup and bread days in late autumn and winter, Thursdays are painting day, and Fridays are making pizza day and doing laundry. Dd sometimes helps with chores, and sometimes plays or just fiddles about. We don't have scheduled times to be anywhere, which helps tremendously. Dd tried gymnastics for 3 weeks and I found that the schedule alone was enough to really disrupt our happiness (we are no longer doing gym). I think lots of open/free time is really important for the under 7s, so we don't do storytime or playgroups or anything. We do set up playdates occasionally, but these are not an every week kind of thing. For us, in establishing our rhythm I try and take note of when I want to do something. I feel most active in the morning, so that works well for our chores (we have 2-3 hours between breakfast and lunch--we're late risers). Afternoons are great for outside time and evenings are family time. It sounds like from your post that you need to do some inner work to feel more content with a slow-paced life and not going out much. I was there myself for a while, and now, I love it. I just really had to make peace with doing less. I never plan more than one outing a day if I can help it, and I try and do that only once or twice a week. Without more info, I'm not sure I can add anything else. For us, rhythm is wonderful. We all know what to expect and everything gets done. I hope you can find this balance as well!
post #3 of 10
For help w/ things like creating rhythm and developing healthy attitudes towards chores/cleaning, I highly recommend the book Heaven on Earth. The author gently walks you thru the major areas of Waldorf life & there is a whole chapter on developing rhythm, including a sample daily rhythm. The book is v easy to read.

A few things from your post that jumped out at me: number one, videos are another tool in your parenting toolbox. Not my favourite one, but not evil, either. I know that I depended on videos to entertain my daughter during my first trimester when I could not get out of bed. She is also v smart & looooves videos & will memorize all of the songs & stories on them. We are generally low tv & went tv free for the summer, but I can see reintroducing a video a day when it gets cold and the sun starts setting at 6 pm

Number two, housework. You are going to need to cultivate a love for your home. Creating a warm inviting home is a huge part of Waldorf. Seeing your work as "just" a mom and wife as incredibly important is, well, incredibly important. You have not taken on a hobby, you are raising human beings. That is the most important thing out there for the survival of the species. I, too, generally hate housework. Some things that helped me develop a health attitude about it were the Waldorf idea of having our kids see us do meaningful work on a regular basis and reading different unschooling thoughts regarding housework. Chores, even though we do not think of them as such, really are choices. I don't *have* to do the dishes if I really don't want to. Either they can wait until later when I feel like it, or we could eat off of paper plates. Yes, that really is a choice! http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/commitm...si/haveto.html http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/influen...verything.html Reframing my thinking about chores & seeing it as meaningful work that belongs to me really has helped me to have a good attitude about chores. That and the fact that my house is a home w/ four people living in it, not a museum! Yup, it's often "messy", but it is ours and we enjoy living here!

Which brings me to number three, going out. We usually only have one car, so we do not go out a whole lot. This goes along w/ what I said about loving your home. You have to want to spend time at home. Spending a quiet day puttering around, your son playing w/ this thing or that, you doing some reading, a few chores, sewing, sorting thru something, watching a video, etc, that is normal everyday life. When you say that taking a day off feels boring and isolating, why do you think that is? Much of regular home life can be seen as boring, or puttering around. I think we tend to get conditioned to expect excitement non stop b/c of having so many places where we can go & watching shows and movies that are edited & show only the exciting parts. No one really wants to watch a movie where the characters do "nothing", but that is the majority of life! Also, kids really do need large blocks of unscheduled time at home to just be. To spend time w/ their toys & books & games uninterrupted. Strive to make your home a place where you WANT to be & you will begin to find yourself not wanting to go out as much. Going out "only" 2 - 3 times per week is NOT being isolated! That is a good, healthy mommy social life if you ask me! You could also try inviting people over to your house to play. That way you get to set the tone & rules & that may help w/ unwanted behaviour.

Getting a weekly rhythm going and maintaining it are not easy for me. I am currently shifting us away from our summer rhythm and into our fall/winter rhythm & it's going "okay". Part of what is difficult is saying no to doing too many things, esp since we have 2 cars for the month. Doing lots and lots of reading on Waldorf & unschooling have really helped me tremendously in cultivating a home life that I do enjoy w/ my two v little ones. It took some work, both mentally and physically, & we have had an absolutely marvelous summer. I am looking forward to an equally fabulous fall
post #4 of 10
i also love using a consistent rhythm. it's not time-bound, but by returning to simple patterns, we can easily flow through our days and get everything done.

i've found that having a rhythm makes me less anxious about feeling like i can get things done. I have many things that i do, and like everyone, i'm very busy. but i know that there is a time for everything that i both need and want to do, and knowing that, i can relax and do what needs to be done now, and know that those things will be taken care of in due time.

like Lux, i do not schedule much for DS (2 yo). I agree with her assessment about how they do not really need structured things under 7.

but, this needs to be balanced against my need to be out and about with people--not feeling isolated and lonely. i found that going to play group (steiner based) once a week was great for us. It has a garden and free play, a circle time, free play, songs and story, then "morning tea" (water and muffins), and then more free play. we see the guinea pigs, and then it's time to go. DS *loves* it and has lots of "good friends."

what is great is that the moms are all there talking about things and having a good time. some moms also join "interest groups" such as baby-wearers or LLL or some such, but i find that is too much for me. going out once a week is enough, usually. but i also work--so my friend who is solely a SAHM, she tends to go to two events a week, and some moms just prefer more time out than i do, i suppose.

insofar as developing a rhythm, i started with the basics: eating and sleeping times. once i figured out when these things tended to arise as needs for me and my family, it was the loose structure on which i built the rhythm.

next, i looked at what was needed to facilitate eating and sleeping. so, for example, to get to bed, we need to have a night time rhythm. it's obvious that you need PJs and baths and such, but what is more difficult is really understanding the amount of time necessary to take one person through that, and once you have a baby, two people.

before my son was born (i have only one, btw), i just decided that everything would take "30 minutes more." and, it's just about right, honestly. So, while my own normal bed time routine takes about 15 minutes, i add 30 minutes for my son. so, the whole thing takes 45. this allows us to do it slowly and with patience and joy, rather than rushing, pushing and feeling frustrated. the morning routine is similar--if it takes me 15 minutes to get ready, add 30 for him. it works great.

for food, i put in 30 minutes before for prep and 30 minutes after for clean up. i find this helps a lot too. i have time for "help" and also to stop and do things like "sit on potty! sit on potty!" and still get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour. LOL!

From this framework of general times of rising, getting ready, eating, eating, eating and getting ready for bed and bedtime, i noted that there are two basic swaths of time between eating, eating, and eating that i could use in various ways.

so, i would look at that. i would look at two things: our natural inclinations between active and passive; and what we needed and wanted to do (individually, together).

just observing, after breakfast is an active time, then there's a passive, then another active heading into lunch. lunch is followed by a passive, then an active, and then passive then another active heading into dinner. and then after dinner we head down toward bedtime for him (dh and i, of course, stay up later than ds).

this allowed me to do certain things with that time. i like to get my chores done right away, so as soon as we are finished with breakfast, i do my daily chore (i have three chores and three chore days, really--bathroom, kitchen, vacuum/dusting). so, DS either helps me or he plays on his own. If he's seeking attention, i use a simple phrase: 'mommy washes the kitchen; DS plays with trains." more often than not, he's 'helping' me.

after i finish my chore, we then head into a passive time. DS likes to color during this time, and so he goes into that, and it gives me time to do some work or check emails or be online. whatever i need/want to do really. he's quite independent during this time.

once he transitions into something more active, we might go outside to play, or we might stay in depending. then we return home for lunch time. we spend that hour, and he goes down for a nap.

afternoons i tend to work, DH manages the time then. typically, they go outside again at some point, and also play inside at some point. it varies depending upon their energy and what is going on that day.

we organized each day around the things that we need to do, the things that we want to do, and the things that we would like to do if possible. now, because the rhythm is pretty well established, we actually do get to do a lot of the things that we would like to do. it's quite nice actually.

everything gets done. and everyone is happy. and when there isn't happiness, it's time to reassess and change the rhythm.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the thoughts. I am really enjoying them. I don't have a lot of time right now to respond as I want to think over the points raised and then ask more questions.

Please, I would love to hear more. This really is helping
post #6 of 10
Hi Climbergirl, I have a few comments as I feel like I’ve just been where you’re headed! I don’t know if they’ll be useful, but here goes anyway. I now have a nearly 5 year old and a newly one year old. Sorry this is so long…
I used to have a reasonably good rhythm with my 3+ yo before DS2 was born, though I was always hopeless at housework… When DS2 was born I got totally out of whack – I would love to have had more rhythm, so it’s good you’re thinking about this now. It’s only now that DS2 is sleeping better and is a LITTLE more predictable that I’m beginning to work on more rhythm for us. I’ve been finding this forum really helpful. I think early on with a new baby you just have to have a few things that are important to you to get done in the day (or just one important thing) and go with the flow of the baby initially. Every child is different, but you will get to a point when you feel you can put a bit more structure in your life and the baby can just fit into it.
For me, the important things were (not in order of priority) – to spend a bit of time throughout the day with DS1, and this is actually harder than it may sound, so any progress on this is good; to have a bath or shower; to have a relaxing cup of tea; have a meal on the table at each mealtime; cook (DH did a lot of that for quite a while, and still does actually); TRY to keep things tidy – this is really hard when I’m naturally very messy and with DS1 playing – it’s easy to get a bit lax with the whole packing away thing.
It’s a bit of a compromise sometimes – for instance I prefer to shower in the morning but that was impossible as DH leaves before sunrise, so I had a shower in the evenings instead – then I got to the point when it was ok to put the baby in a bouncer and I could have a bath and sing to the baby at the same time. With DS1 I try to give him some time as soon as DS2 goes down for a nap. That was a good rhythm for him – he learnt to expect some attention straight after (and sometimes it took quite a while to get bub down, so that was a struggle). Provide books or quiet activity for the older child while you’re busy with bub. When they expect that then it gets easier.
I reckon work out a rhythm that is going to suit your family and then say it’s ok to let the rhythm go…
I think keeping DS1’s rhythm going was very important. Thinking about meals, time together, outside time (had to get over the fear of sending him outside alone), helping with housework, rest time. I found that if I could get that right then it made things a lot easier otherwise.
Videos – in the early days I found these were good when I was stuck. I was stuck a lot early on, but still limited them to just half an hour at a certain time and on certain days only (usually around dinner preparing time for me just to get through to the end of the day…otherwise I found it got out of control). An extended bath before Dad got home did the trick often even better than the video!
My house was always a mess – everyone says it’s ok when you’ve got a baby, but I always felt it was twice as messy as “OK”. Choose one part of the house you always keep tidy and that you can go to when it’s getting on top of you. For us it’s the living room – where visitors come first and where we spend a lot of our time. A few toys here and there can be easily packed away in a hurry. Or not. Try to build this tidying time into the day. Leave heavy duty cleaning (bathroom, kitchen, floors) to when your partner is home and can help. Then there’s not actually all that much you need to do apart from washing, washing up and cooking. I try to make sure I get the laundry related tasks done in the morning. My DS1 helps with fetching dirty clothes, taking them out of the washing machine, etc. He even helps sort them into piles so I can fold them. I suggest choosing one or two things you can do each day with your older child, thereby making it a quick activity rather than a chore as such – e.g. Monday is wiping (wipe down the vanity in the bathroom, windows, etc.) Tuesday is dusting, Wednesday is sweeping, Thurdsay is tidying (just one room), etc.
I enjoyed going to playgroup in the early days as DS2 would sleep in a sling. It only lasted for the first 3 or 4 months, but it was good to get out and important for DS1 to have something social to do where it wasn’t all about bub.
After that I tried to get people over.One idea I had which never worked, but you might find otherwise, is to Invite a good friend for morning tea once a week who doesn’t mind holding the baby while you cook dinner and doesn’t expect to be fed, unless they stay for lunch and help you get it on the table! I was never forthright in saying I needed the help so when people came over I just sat and chatted. I should have got off the sofa and just got on with whatever needed doing while chatting.
Meal planning might help (see the thread on meal rhythms). One of the things which worked well for me was to make a big thing of morning tea and afternoon tea as well as the other meals. Always a fruit platter for morning tea and some yummy yoghurt or milk and muffin or something for afternoon tea. I would always sit down with DS1 for this. It would force me to eat and keep my fluids up (I’d have my fennel tea or something like that for the breastfeeding).
Ahh, it’s a juggle, but it’s worth it! If it gets too much just go back to basics (and hire a cleaner once a month...). Good luck!
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogretro View Post
You are going to need to cultivate a love for your home. Creating a warm inviting home is a huge part of Waldorf.
This sentence has been running through my head since I first read it. Over and over. I think that is definitely true. Are there any good resources on how to do this?

Cultivating a love of my home is my first step. I have started massively decluttering and getting organized. I think that would help with housework. Also, closing and moving in turned into an emotional nightmare because of the previous owners and I sort of wonder if that energy is still around a bit? How could I get rid of that?

The house is a mess. Disaster would be a better word. My washer and dryer does not work well, so there is always laundry in various stages around the house. We had a basement flood last weekend and that has created a whole other sort of issue with the basement (it is fixed now!).

I keep rereading this thread and getting thoughts and ideas.

I have pulled out my copy of Heaven on Earth and starting reading it again. And I am slowly removing some of DS's toys so he won't notice they are gone so that I can have these sorts of things to cause me to throw my hands up in dismay.

I am this week, going to work on a breakfast routine (Monday - oatmeal, Tuesday - spanish eyes, etc.) Something predictable. At the same time, I am going to start with "cleaning up the table and floor after eating" routine. And some other small things like that. I really want to concentrate on the things I can keep going after the little one is here.

Today has been bad because I feel terrible and sick. I took a nap with DS and I have let him watch movies all day. I just did not have the energy today. Blah.

But, I did want to comment again because I really, really have been challenged to think by this thread. And that is such a good thing!
post #8 of 10
energy cleansing of the space is really helpful. it's something that i do once a week, just like you wash the bathroom.

you can go really fancy or really basic, and i'll give you the "full on" version first.

1. starting at your front door, walk around each room and get a feel for the energy that is there.

2. give the room a basic "salt bath," by taking natural salt and tossing it around the room before you go to bed. the next morning, you will vacuum it up before doing the full cleanse.

3. give yourself a full cleanse by taking a salt-water bath (it's ok to just do your hands!)

4. create a little alter/offering plate. these can be very elaborate in some cases, or very simple. i tend to keep mine simple with my own precious objects, but these are the basics:

a. plate
b. leaf (large as you can find)
c. fresh flowers
d. candle
e. small bowl of fresh spring water (bottled is fine)
f. small bowl of clean, natural salt
g. clean incense of your choice

in the center of the room, place your plate with the leaf on it, then the candle on the leaf, and then the candle surrounded by the fresh flowers. if possible, have one for each room that you are going to cleanse, but it's ok to just have one and move it about (this is what i do).

when you have enough altars for each room/space (and this includes hallways) you want the candles to be able to "see" each other. that is, you place the one in the entry way, and then the next one is placed in the living room so that when yoiu are at the one candle, you can "see" the other candle.

set up the altar in the space, after it's been vacuumed (to pick up the salt).

put the small bowls of salt and water next to the plate and also the incense in it's holder. light the incense.

5. clap around the room. starting at one site of the entrance, move around the room clapping your hands. how you clap will depend upon the energy, so you just have to feel what is right. you do this step as many times as you feel is necessary. in between each round that you may do, do step 1, where you feel the energy of the room to see if you need to do it again.

6. use a bell around the room. just as in 5, use a lovely sounding bell around the room as many times as you need to.

7. once you have cleansed the energy, you want to "seal" it. essentially, again, starting at the entrance, you take your arm and wave it in a swooping motion with the intention of sealing the cleanse. do this around the room until it feels sealed.

my place is small, so it doesn't take any time at all, and i can do it in about 30 minutes. also, doing it weekly, it doesn't need much. but, for larger homes, you might just want to do it once you have done the chore for that day.

well, the first time you do it, you probably want to do the whole house. i recommend having your partner take children and pets out (save the one inside you! LOL) for the afternoon, as you might need 4-5 hours.
post #9 of 10
Wow, I have gotten some great ideas from reading this thread! We are new to Waldorf, but one thing that we have added to the rhythm of our day is to sit together and drink chamomile tea before bedtime. While the kids drink their warm tea we talk about our days or I read to them. It is such a nice way to end our busy days.
post #10 of 10
I can completely relate to you Climbergirl! I'm due in January and I'm starting to have a little panic about how things will be with two kids. I feel like if I can figure out a perfect rhythm for us, that life will be much easier. I really like Heaven on Earth and have used it as my main resource (checked out from library so many times I should really just buy it) and it's been super helpful.

The basic rhythm described in the book
breakfast
outside play
snack
inside play / clean up
lunch
nap or quiet time
snack
outside play
dinner prep

This post explands on the basic rhythm further.

I'm also finding that theenki daily rhythm is a good spring board for ideas on how the day should flow.

Honestly, I'm finding myself getting too focused on the details though. I recently made a circle chart and divided it into 3 slices, colored the insides with block crayons and then wrote in the things below.

contractive activities: eat, story time, circle time, nap/quiet
expansive: inside play, outside play, walk, bike ride
shared activities: baking, cooking, painting, coloring, modeling, celebration prep, gardening, sewing, wood working, household chores

I don't do the songs and circle time yet, doesn't feel natural to me, however I have ideas saved because I know my son loves this kind of stuff and hope to get there with time. I also don't do 95% of the "shared activities" but I really want to and by writing it I hope it will help me procrastinating and just start.

I think the key is just to have a nice balance between contractive and expansive activities. I posted the chart in the playroom on my sons bulletin board, which has the days of the week colored in their specific color. I feel like I know what I need to do, it's just doing it that I have the problem with. I feel trapped by trying to follow a schedule each day, but we really thrive on it so I'm trying to help us get back on track.
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