Honest responses re: the Home - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-09-2012, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious.  For those of you who *dream* of living in a larger version of a Waldorf kindergarten room - and I know you guys are out there ;)  - how close is your real home, ideally?

 

For us, it's a toss up.  We don't do a lot of plastic anything, and when possible we try to get natural materials, etc.  However, there are a few items that have found their way into our home - from a handful of Disney cups to some toys that we couldn't afford to be wooden.  For example, we found a great plastic play kitchen on CL for a couple of dollars, and it's durable etc.  Our son does have some other plastic toys too, and DD has a slight obsession with Hello Kitty anything... although they also have a good variety of felt and wooden toys as well.  We go to the thrift store a lot and the kids often find things that they fall in love with and that really speak to them.  I don't allow anything with characters typically (DS has a Mickey blankie he loves even more than the handmade quilt he has) and definitely no chars on clothes (though DH sometimes sneaks them one or two pieces, grr) and they get absolutely no toys with batteries, but he definitely has artwork etc that he found that are on the wild side.  And his room is bright red.  (His old one was a nice peachy color but when we moved he insisted on candy-apple red...)

 

Our main living spaces are pretty calm, decluttered, have no TV, etc., but still don't have that easy-breezy look and feel of a Waldorf-ready blog.  YKWIM?  It's a work in progress, but I don't think, honestly, that we'll ever get there 100%.  And our new homeschool room that I just set up and was psyched over - I just had this sinking realization that it looks much more like something you'd see in public school than a Waldorf one.  But... but it's nice?!

 

How close is YOUR home to the "ideal"?  Is it something you ever stress over, or are you pretty OK with it the way it is?

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#2 of 15 Old 08-10-2012, 05:04 AM
 
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I would consider our home to be ideal for us, now.  We have a small space, so we do our best, and we have a mix of mostly wooden toys with a few toys from my childhood thrown in.  We have playstands, a curvy board, book slings and a small wooden bookshelf from Palumba.  We do use a toy library of sorts, keeping two thirds of things stored away and rotating in and out.  And there's the ubiquitous basket of playsilks.  Simplicity Parenting was really helpful for me to understand what all we didn't need. smile.gif
 


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#3 of 15 Old 08-10-2012, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love that book, and definitely try to go by that philosophy.  I think I made it sound in my original post that my kids are overflowing with toys, plastic and otherwise - which is not true.  However, what they do have is not all purist.  And.... more so than toys, really, it's our home decor that doesn't always ring true (i.e. some bright colors instead of all earthy.) 

 

Right now I'm sitting in a kinda-lazured room with beige carpets and some wooden shelves and breezy curtains... but I'm sitting ON a bright, jewel-colored rainbow accent rug I got from Ikea ages ago and never could get rid of,  Next to me is a pastel, plastic toy organizer full of craft supplies.  On the walls we have a handmade tapestry of Noah's Ark in lovely muted colors, a wooden windchime, and a hand-woven sun made of reeds that kind of looks like an intricate basket or something, a shelf with some lovely wooden carvings, our nature table, and some Waldorf alphabet cards with fairy tale backgrounds.  There is also a Hello Kitty clock ticking, a shelf with all our Disney souvenirs from our family trips to Disney World (yeahhhh, we love it, oh well) and a few educational posters that would look at home in any mainstream school.  So... go figure.  The effect is a little ruined.  :)

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#4 of 15 Old 08-10-2012, 07:53 AM
 
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this is not really what you want to hear but so many seem to miss this-by having "used" plastic item like you do, you really are doing a good thing- you are saving a NEW tree and recycling what would most likely go into a landfill, you are reusing and saving the process to make another item when one exists 

 

wood is great but it does come with a cost 

 

don't beat yourself up over it and by the way- as an example it's far easier to clean up cat tinkle off of plastic (does penetrate like it does and lastttttttt in wood) also vomit cleans up well on plastic--should you ever have to deal with those little ickies! 


 

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#5 of 15 Old 08-10-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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If I had my way, my home and all of my daughter's toys and clothes would be very Waldorf. But with my DH and family and friends buying things for my daughter, it's just not a realistic expectation. My daughter has some character toys (Hello Kitty, Minnie Mouse, etc) and clothes as well as plastic toys. Some of the gifted toys I hide away until family visits (my mom has a thing for buying my DD Dora toys which I despise...the only reason my DD knows who Dora is...so things like that get packed away most of the time unless family is in town). Most of her toys are wooden or cloth, but the plastic toys I keep out are nice and don't make noise! I figure I can't shelter my daughter from modern life and the annoying toys that come with it, but I do my best to filter out the junk. I try to surround my daughter with high quality toys regardless of the material and keep things simple. Most importantly, I keep a rhythm to our days and a calm and loving atmosphere that I think is the heart of Waldorf. I try not to get stuck on the material things, but that's not always easy.smile.gif
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#6 of 15 Old 08-10-2012, 10:13 PM
 
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I'm not sure anyone's home needs to be out of a waldorf catalog for it to be a peaceful and beautiful home. I have long ago given up on having all wooden toys, it's just not realistic in our life. Little hints to mother-in-law don't have any effect, and I don't want to get all military on what she is allowed to buy our children. I can't ask her to shop online for specific waldorf things, so I have engouraged her to buy lego's and books, but it's not enough for her. I get on rages to clear the playroom of things that annoy me, like action figure men with guns, I take batteries out of kid computers and tell them "it broke, but now that it doesn't make annoying noises, you can imagine it's a real grown up computer!" If the plastic thing is anything bigger than that, the likes of car garage sets and talking chairs, then I'm heartless, they are plain nasty and don't belong in my house. 

 

My oldest is finally starting waldorf school and I've felt more empowered to take the playroom to the place where I want it to be, simplified a lot. Apparently my mother-in-law noticed it and felt sorry for the boys for not having enough boy toys I guess. Next visit she brings a bag full of action figures and another full of crappy plastic machines. They are still sitting in their bags and I told my younger son about them, how mommy doesn't like that kind of toys, and we'll take them back to grandma's house (I really just want to donate again, but then she would buy more and add to more consumption) He cried heart breakingly... I don't think it's damaging for him to have to let some things go, most kids in this world don't have fifth of what he owns, but I hate to be the mean mom!!

 

Any advice anyone? The thing is... I grew up with half of my family being in a strict religious sect and just really hate to see that I'm becoming them with my natural life style. I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and I don't want to get all bossy towards my husbands side of family. As I share about my convictions to them, they just don't get it. My mom gets it, but I even hate to see her all nervous if I approve her gifts.

 

My mother-in-law only speaks spanish, and our communication is always lost in translation. I just heard her comment on how it looks like my older son is going to become (what ever she thinks) even though she (I) is trying to make him and artist. I realized that all my talk about them using their own creativity, which I think all kids should have space to do, is translated to, "she is forcing her kid to become an artist"... haha!

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#7 of 15 Old 08-10-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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Just another question to Tiqa, or my opinion... Why are you obsessing over the peachy colors... you seem to like bright colors, then your home should be it, bright! I love white washed home, and I absolutely hate peach!! :) If there's a pedagogical reason to the color in a waldorf classroom, ok then, but do you really believe they stop learning about life, love and the like in your home if it's decorated the way their mother likes it?

If your kids are in a waldorf school, then don't you think home should have a different feel than school?  If you are homeschooling, I'm sure the playroom or where ever you learn is enough, rest of home can look like you! :) 

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#8 of 15 Old 08-11-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I'm not quite sure I'm obsessing.  I just wanted to explain what my home looked like vs. what the... "ideal" is.  That's one of the things that stood out the most.  It's not necessarily that I like peach, but there is a difference between how you feel in earth tones and how you feel in bright jewel tones.  I don't necessarily like bright colors more, although we have a fair share of them in our home as accents.  I don't mind them or I'd get rid of them.  Basically just wanted to see how far along the spectrum most parents on here take it.  I don't expect our house to be less nurturing because of our decoration scheme, but there were reasons why Steiner and company wanted the envirotnments surrounding a young child to have certain feels to them.  And since we all can't live in a Walorf kindy, I just wanted to see what was realistic for other families as well, how far they took it.

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#9 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 02:41 PM
 
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My kids don't go to Waldorf schools but I do appreciate a lot of Waldorf philosophy. We are Waldorf-lite. And yes, if you visited our home it would have that feel. I've always avoided plastic, have no character merchandise at all, and are tv-free. The only plastic toys we have are playmobil and duplo/legos, both of which much loved in our house. There is a certain amount of Montessori-style organization so things are tidy. The kid's bedroom has white walls (rental) and natural wood furniture. It does have some bright color in the sheets but some homey handiwork type stuff that balances it out (needlepoint pieces made by me, a crocheted afgan off etsy, embroidered curtains). I think the effect is comfortable for children but warm and natural in tone. DS turned five and has expressed an interest in superheros and whatnot so I bought a few generic items off etsy.

 

Honestly, one of the biggest differences is that I never bought plastic anything when they were little and we don't have an licensed stuff (which is a whole 'nother exhaustive post).

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#10 of 15 Old 08-14-2012, 08:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

My kids don't go to Waldorf schools but I do appreciate a lot of Waldorf philosophy. We are Waldorf-lite. And yes, if you visited our home it would have that feel. I've always avoided plastic, have no character merchandise at all, and are tv-free. The only plastic toys we have are playmobil and duplo/legos, both of which much loved in our house. There is a certain amount of Montessori-style organization so things are tidy. The kid's bedroom has white walls (rental) and natural wood furniture. It does have some bright color in the sheets but some homey handiwork type stuff that balances it out (needlepoint pieces made by me, a crocheted afgan off etsy, embroidered curtains). I think the effect is comfortable for children but warm and natural in tone. DS turned five and has expressed an interest in superheros and whatnot so I bought a few generic items off etsy.

 

Honestly, one of the biggest differences is that I never bought plastic anything when they were little and we don't have an licensed stuff (which is a whole 'nother exhaustive post).

 



That's a lot of how we do things at our house.  I think the absence of licensed items makes a tremendous difference.  And I so love it that my daughter thinks that sponge bob is a cracker.


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#11 of 15 Old 08-16-2012, 10:39 PM
 
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Hee hee. DS asked me the other day if they had "Sponge Bub at Disleyland" because he has a vague idea about these things but isn't exposed to them. 

 
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#12 of 15 Old 08-17-2012, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't think your home should reflect anything other than your family, waldorf or not!  The point of your home is how do you feel in your space?  Wild crazy art makes your hubby happy, then there should be wild crazy art on the wall.  Waldorf is NOT wooden toys and peachy walls.  Waldorf IS about viewing the child as a whole, understanding that they are unfolding into their own being, providing a rhythmic, warm home life, time in nature, beauty, joy, laughter, meeting them where they are developmentally.  Every family has to do what works and it is going to look different in everyone's homes.  I am not sure if you walked into my home, it would scream "we follow waldorf pedagogy".  I suppose in some ways it would.  My husband is pretty handy with a saw and has made most of our large items (playstands, kitchen, fridge, etc.).  My father is also a skilled woodworker and has made the kids toy shelves, a barn, a castle and a high chair.  I love to knit and sew and made all of my children waldorf dolls and various knitted toys.  But my walls are green and we have black furniture and there is a tv in our livingroom (which spends most of the time behind armoir doors, but is still there).  We own plastic cups (but am slowly purging that, not b/c of waldorf, but to be more earthfriendly and less toxic).  My boys have tons of legos and some action figures, hotwheel cars, pokemon cards.  My daughter's first baby was a gift from my sister- a small cabbage patch doll!  She loved it and I couldn't bring myself to make it disappear so it sits with her other babies.  I don't know...it's all about balance!

 

So make your home your own, not what you think it should be!


Tanya, wife to my best friend momma to Blake 2/02, Jacob 5/04, Parker 12/05 and MaKenna : 6/09
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#13 of 15 Old 08-19-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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here are some pics from me, coastmama :)
 

 

 

 

 


Mama to DD(4) energy.gif&  DS baby.gif

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#14 of 15 Old 08-19-2012, 08:49 PM
 
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OP, in your post it sounds like you are maybe not entirely comfortable with some of the things in your home.  Can you find a way to give yourself permission to either be comfortable with them, to see the love you've brought them in with, or the love your child has for it, or the purpose it serves well enough (you know, not letting perfect be enemy of the good), or to let them go and bring in new (to you) things would make you feel good when you see them?  Either choice is a beautiful one, but to be stuck in the middle is a very uncomfortable place indeed.

 

As for your playroom, do you feel calm in it?  It sounds like you were quite proud of how you set it up and that you were quite full of love as you worked to put it together. 

 

Edit - because I tend to write long rambly first draft posts to figure out what I am really thinking.... LOL

 

Can you talk about which of the things you feel really positive about, which negative, and which you have mixed feelings?

 

For me, in my fake life, yes, I think things would very much resemble a Waldorf kindergarten, with everything natural and wooden and silk and we'd be in the country and I'd have this huge garden and fill my house with flowers.

 

The reality is that I live in slightly run down tiny one bedroom city apartment, and DD and I spend a lot of time going to the public parks and tending our potted plants and carefully scavenging cut flowers from the city landscaping and wild growth, supplemented by the occasional farmer's market buy.   My home is full of flowers.

 

I have a giant flat screen TV in my living room, which is hooked up to the computer that takes up the whole side of the room.  This is not going anywhere, so in the day I cover it all with a pretty table cloth so I don't have to look at it.  ;)  In my fake life, it would not be here.  There would be, like, a closet somewhere with the media in it.  But covering it with a cloth works for me and I feel peaceful about that. 

 

My goal is for my home to feel like a home, for it to be cozy, nurturing, warm, and loving toward all who live here.  DP has his instruments hanging on the walls instead of art in our living room.  One of my main disciplines lately is learning how to have a place for things to go to, a sense of order for DD to feel secure in, and a feeling of warmth and expansion.  I have arranged the space with love. We spend some time every day caring for our space and loving it.  Wiping the grimy tile in the bathroom is bringing love, putting the dishes away is bringing love, letting go of the things we don't need is bringing love.

 

My other goals are to make sure there is a good play space for DD, so the living room is arranged so the center floor is play area and craft area.  I fit a work table for her into my kitchen even though it makes things cramps, she must have her table.  :)

 

It's important to me and DP that things match well enough, and DD likes matching too.  So there is a theme of color in my living room (taupe, brown, red, cream, white), and I try to stick to it.  I have a pretty yarn art we made hanging up, with reddish pink and brown that picks up the colors in the room.  It's not perfect (search my posts and you will find a long one about my relationship to my environment in decluttering and organizing) but it feels calm to me.  My kitchen is wood and white and hints of  warm purple and blue.  I do a lot of painting of free or thrift store furniture.  I'd rather beautiful matching bare wood, but this is what's affordable to me right now, so to make it match, I paint it. 

 

Bathroom is gross black and white tile on the floor and white everywhere else.  I hung up beautiful white lace window curtain and a soft yellow floral shower curtain because it brings a sense of light to the space.  Bedroom is mainly white and cream with hints of pale blue and lavender.  DD's bed has a lovely pink, cream, and forest green comforter and forest green pillow.  Right now I am planning a giant watercolor mosaic to go over the bed to give again, that sense of light, warmth, and expansion.  I'm going to use pieces of our wet on wet painting, because DD loves to paint.

 

I've done a lot of editing in my home over the past year.  I did spend a little money buying a few things new  (quilts for the bed, red curtains in the living room, fabric to make the cushion covers), gave away the old things, and found the rest while practicing very disciplined thrifiting.   Before I began this task of cozying my home, things were very haphazard, mainly trashpicked or thrifted, and didn't make sense together.  I decided to figure out what "big" items I should buy new to make the most impact instead of skimping on everything and hating all of it.  The best was the red curtains, which are polyester and cost $30 total and brought such and nice feeling to our living room.  Really, when I look at the color it almost glows, and then I take back everything I said about my fake life and what I would do.... I love how things are in the home I have.

 

The toybox is a plastic underbed box.  It fits the space and it's easy for her to use.  It's not the prettiest, but it's not the ugliest.

 

I do let her have some choice in painting her furniture, but it's often curated choice, and compromise is involved on both sides, KWIM?   I had painted her table white to match the kitchen.  She decided she wanted blue and she kept coloring on it and painting on it until I finally just painted it blue.  I'm in the process of painting her play kitchen blue to match.

 

Oh and, I do believe they bring a live spirit to the things they love, even if those things seem ugly to us.  I really think that.  We don't have to like the things they love, and I think as parents we can say, "No, I won't let you have this, because I don't think it's good."  But we can also say, "I don't like this but I see that you love it, and that is beautiful."


DD1 6/2009 DD2 5/1/2013-5/5/2013 (HIE) DS 3/2014
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#15 of 15 Old 09-12-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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As far as plastic toys go, I'm really proud of myself, I can count on one hand how many we have. There's an old fashioned telephone toy, old fashioned piano that plays tunes when you tap the keys toy, a couple figurines that my mom gave to us that click when you turn the head and legs lol, ... That's it.

Oh his water table - which was amazing for him all summer long and his 3 in 1 bike (that I push from a handle) ...

And I have an emergency toy that my sister gave him but I've had to use it only once. It is a walker/activity thing and it plays music. I keep it hidden.

At 4 months old- Xmas time- I got rid of everything plastic. I was so freaked out (so was my son) - and gave all these loud, flashing lights contraptions away. My son would actually cry if he saw them so I felt right away they weren't right.

Everything else is a work in progress. smile.gif

I repurposed two long low shelves that were on top of the insides of some closets in the new house we bought. I took them out, and just set them under a window on either side of the family room. Theyre white and a little scuffed... But pretty much blend in. wink1.gif that's where his toys live. They're all Montessori and Waldorf from etsy and Michael Olaf.

I have a couple treasure baskets lying around for him to explore.
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