Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Appreciation of Reality

midnight moonlight on the snow, by Wandering Dad

It's easy for me to read ideas and theories and decide what our home should be like. What I want for it. How we should behave. How we should clean up. When we should nap. What we should eat. How we should speak. But that's not reality. The reality is at home, where I am not. I can make some of my ideas and dreams into reality, but I cannot magically make all this happen.

So I dream of having a Waldorf-ish style home, with simple mostly natural toys, rhythm to the day, beautiful spaces, appreciation of the natural world around us, positive and supportive environment, so on and so forth. When I look at much of society around us, we are far from the norm....far on the crunchy side. But when I look at the Waldorf blogs and books I feel like we have so so far to go, and it feels somewhat unattainable. Since I am not the primary parent I have only so much control over things at home. And, I am only human. I come home from work exhausted a lot of days, and I only have so much time and energy for change, creativity, and extras beyond the basics of life. In some ways I know this will sounds like a defense of myself for not changing and not being the change I want, but really, I'm not superwoman. I want to come home and have dinner and spend a few minutes with my children not thinking constantly about what I Should be doing to make change in our lives. And evenings are not the best time for "working with" the kids, who are usually clingy and need their mama fix. Some days I find energy for a little extra, a little push forward, or a little inner thought, but many days I do not.

In the past month I have been lucky enough to have a lot of extra time at home for holidays and snow days. It was really wonderful to have the additional time with my family, and it was also a good reality check. I have not had that much time at home since maternity leave over a year ago. And then we had a new baby and all that. Now we are shifting our parenting from babies to toddlers and preschoolers, and we are thinking about how we want to parent and what we want our home to be like. I do a lot of reading (although not as much as I would like), I discuss ideas with friends, and I think about what would be nice and fun and what might work for our family. And I take tidbits home to my husband, the stay-at-home parent in our household. Although in general we agree on parenting, we do have slight differences which come in part from our different backgrounds. We have different personalities and different levels of interest in personal development and internal work. And we have different levels of involvement in the realities of raising two young children.

This recent extra time at home gave me more of an opportunity of be a part of the daily rhythm at home, and to observe and appreciate what goes on there. I found renewed respect for what my husband does. I have deep and great appreciation for him and his work. He not only does nearly all the housework (including laundry, dishes, and toilets!), he cares wonderfully for our two young children, makes homemade meals nearly every weekday, uses cloth wipes on our baby's bum, and wears silk long johns (just had to throw that one in because I like it), but he also does his own tractor repair, much of our car work, does snow removal, keeps track of finances, pays the bills, mows the yard, helps garden, helps my parents cut firewood, does the grocery shopping, does our food co-op orders, helps our son with his speech, takes the kids on fun outings, plays the guitar, stays more up to date than I do on current events and technology, and is supportive of me (and I'm not exactly easy or laid back). At the same time Wandering Dad is finding himself. Trying to figure out who he is and who he wants to be and how he wants to parent and develop as a person. Wow!

I also noted that we have made some big changes at home. The change has been gradual, and it is a work in progress, but we are moving toward that seemingly unattainable goal of a simple, peaceful, beautiful home. Working with what we have and who we have, we have come a long way. And one thing that Wandering Dad and I agree on is that although we are not where we want to be, we at least have a mostly shared dream. I'm sure that my visions of our future are slightly more dreamy than my husband's, but at least we are headed in the same direction. His reality has many more little bums to wipe, many more little hands to wash, and many more little noses to blow. But he wipes and washes and blows with such patience (most of the time) and always with such love. What more can I ask for except slow and steady steps toward our joint dream of peace and beauty?

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