The news, our children, and saving the world.

The way we raise our children. {Clean. The LuSa Organics Blog}

Once upon a time I was an NPR news junkie.

I'd listen in my car, at my desk, in the kitchen.

And then I had a baby.

And I kept listening.

And then my baby became a very bright, active, verbal toddler.

And I kept listening.

And then one day I turned on the radio as I so often did, with my two-year old in the room, quietly eating lunch at the table.

As I pushed the power button on the stereo one gruesome sentence from the war in Iraq hung in the air like black smoke around my child and me.

My finger quickly pushed the power button again, but that sentence remained. Hanging there.

I never turned the radio on again.

: : :

I realized in that moment that one important job I have as a parent is to protect my child from things too big and too dark for him to comprehend.

I would not invite those stories into his dreams.

And there was an unexpected benefit that came with this change. I was better for turning off the loop of bad news that I had been marinading in for so many years.

The shadows I had invited into my own world also lessened when I stopped steeping in so much tragic news. My worrying reduced. My anxiety reduced. My light shined a bit brighter.

I saw fewer monsters in shadowy corners than I had in all of my life.

Because you see, I am extremely empathetic and sensitive. (Some might say "to a fault" but I won't go that far. Because often our curse is also our gift.) Hearing bad news can send me into a spiral I can't lift out of for hours or even days. It did then, it does now.

I am not desensitized to the news. I never will be. I never could be.

In fact, I don't want to be. But that means I must be mindful to what I invite in.

And while I have since organized my life to seek my news mindfully, sometimes the tragic stories slip in that I just can't shake off.

It's been that way this week.

The news crept into my life and I laid awake at night, worrying and imagining the incomprehensive horror and pain that seems to touch every corner of the world.

Sometimes it seems like it's everywhere, doesn't it?

And after spending two days mired once more in anxiety and sadness, I chose to snap myself out of it. Because fixating on what is wrong doesn't help anyone.

So I shifted my focus.

Because there is goodness all around us.

(And yes, there are terrible stories too.)

But I believe the good exponentially outweighs the bad. And I will focus on all that is right and good. Around the world and right here in my own backyard.

The mist in the hills, the flowers on the roadsides, the food on our table.

And the children.

These children.

The ones entrusted to me to love and nurture and guide.

Because I can not end the suffering that exists in this world. I can not save everyone.

But as a person who loves a child I do have the power to nurture children who become healthy, kind, gentle, patient, strong adults. 

I can do that. And that's the most measurable positive change for this world that I could ever imagine creating.

 : : :

So today I am recommitting myself to being the parent I want to be.

The healthy, kind, gentle, patient, strong adult that I am.

While I can not end all suffering, I do have the power to nurture goodness in the world. 

"There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children." ~ Marianne Williamson

Yes. I can do that. And so can you.

Starting now.

Want more parenting inspiration? My "More Peaceful Parenting" series is here.

My wish.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother
would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who
are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember
my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are
still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Mr. Rogers

my wish for peace {Clean. the LuSa Organics Blog}

my wish for peace {Clean. the LuSa Organics Blog}

my wish for peace {Clean. the LuSa Organics Blog}

my wish for peace {Clean. the LuSa Organics Blog}

my wish for peace {Clean. the LuSa Organics Blog}

When something unspeakable happens close to home most of us have the same reaction – a natural and appropriate one: we are sickened. We are angry. We feel small and vulnerable and afraid. We grieve and we worry and we wonder what will become of this species that we call our own.

And then for some of us (myself included) a second thing happens.

The unspeakable things that happen elsewhere in the world all come rushing in at once and I am dizzy with worry for us all.

I know that some cultures have lived with for years or for decades or forever with daily violence – some at the hands of their neighbors, some at the hands of their governments, some at the hands of my government.

And I grieve again.

And so today I pray for Boston. And at the same time I pray for all of us – everywhere – who suffer violence or live in fear for the safety of ourselves and our children.

My prayer is for peace.

A wish that my children – and children everywhere – can grow up in a world that is evolving towards peace.

Because humans have hurt and killed one another since the beginning of time. War and violence is part of our collective heritage.

But that truth is tiny compared with the immeasurable kindness we share with one another.

We take care of each other and protect each other and love each other every day. It's what we were designed to do. I can not speak for you, but my daily live is rich with amazing people and utterly devoid of the opposite. 

Because people are good. And kind. And helpful. And if you allow one person or one group of people to skew your view of humanity, please let it be the kind ones. 

Our hearts are so big. Never forget this and get lost in the suffering.

And then, perhaps, it's time to all do our part. Because one child at a time we have the power to change the world.

Let us nurture a culture of peace.

Let us be kind to others. At the crosswalk, at the grocery, on the freeway. Let us model peace in how we engage with the world.

Let us raise our children to be heard when they whisper – not just when they shout. Let us teach them that they matter and kindness matters and peace matters.

Let us teach them how to breathe into anger and how to navigate fear. Let us teach them how to be whole and safe and heard. Let us teach them to use their words, and model the same ourselves.

Let us change the world by changing how we live.


my wish for peace. {Clean. the LuSa Organics Blog}

If you are inspired, you can find my More Peaceful Parenting Series is here:

More Peaceful Parenting Step 1. Forgive, Accept, and Love Yourself.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 2. Identify the Need.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 3. Validate.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 4. Creating a Yes Environment.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 5. Your Mission Statement.

More Peaceful parenting Step 6. Just Listen.

More Peaceful parenting Step 7. Play!

 

Today, speak gently.

Today, find patience.

Today, begin your own evolution.

Be kind to a stranger. Buy a homeless person a meal. Help someone. Make time. Respect your children's needs.

And then watch the world begin to transform on these tiny ripples of peace.

Love and light to us all.

P.S. Below are a few links that might be helpful for any of you who's children have heard about what happened in Boston last night, or what has happened anywhere that brings fear and confusion.

Talking to your kids about Boston, from Aha! Parenting

A free audio story from Sparke Story, written after Sandy Hook

Tips for Supporting Children after a Crisis, from NASP

Talking with kids, from PBS

 


Fleeting.

Fleeting. A poem about growing up. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Fleeting. A poem about growing up. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Fleeting. A poem about growing up. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Fleeting. A poem about growing up. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

There are days when I ache with this truth.

I feel it in the marrow of my bones.

Clear into my soul.

Because I know.

 

These days are fleeting.


Nothing lasts forever.

 

Not the sleepless nights of a newborn nor the angst of a pre-teen.

Not the sweet milky smile of a baby nor the quick humor or this half-grown child.

Our life has become this pile of snapshots and in each photo I can see you growing up.

Sometimes it feels so fast I can scarcely breathe.

 

No, nothing lasts forever.


And so I look around and wonder where the time has gone.

It turns out that "this too shall pass," my motto on the hardest days, applies to everyday.

And suddenly I don't want to squander a moment.

 

Today is fleeting.

And I wonder when my son will be as tall as me.

And when my daughter will no longer curl in my lap and kiss my cheeks.

I wonder at how much longer my arms will be the welcome nest that my children flock to, encircling them as they sleep.

 

And when they will finally pull away.

 

And so tonight I will lay beside you until you are soundly dreaming, just in case I wake tomorrow to discover that you've grown up.


I will listen to your breathing and remember the days when you were small and sometimes it seemed so hard.

And I wonder why it seemed so hard.

 

In the darkness I promise myself to lead with my heart.

Always.

To lead with compassion.

Starting now.

I promise myself to stop wasting time speaking words I will regret.


I imagine this life with children grown, off to write their own stories and live their own adventures.

And while my mind delights in them finding their wings, my heart weeps at the suggestion.

 

And there is that ache again.

 

Perhaps that ache is love.

True, full, indescribable love. The kind that you didn't know existed until you had children of your own.

The kind you can't explain now because language is inadequate.

The kind of love you whisper into small, sleeping ears because you just need them to know what is unknowable.

 

This much love.


Yes. Maybe that ache is the feeling of a heart bursting from a fullness that is immeasurable.

 

And perhaps that ache will help us remember what really matters.

 May it keep us kind.

May it keep us playful.

May it help us find the words and be the parents that we want to be.

Words like "I'm sorry," and "It hurts," and "I understand."

Words like "I love you," and "You are enough," and "I am here."

Words that heal us and connect us.

 

May it help us remember how it feels to be small.

I remember how it feels to be small.


May we live this life and guide these children with the goal of having nothing to regret.

Not one thing.

And may we remember always that when the sun sets on today our child will be one day older.

One day closer to grown.

And that tomorrow is another chance to start again.

 

Oh, yes. These days are fleeting.


So I will savor the taste of my child's spirit when it rises up.

I will skim it off and drink it deeply.

So that I never forget these fleeting days.

So that I never forget this perfectly ordinary day that will be dust and snapshots tomorrow.

 

Today I will hold you in my arms.

I will listen to your dreams.

I will take your hand and go wherever you wish to go.

While you still want to journey there together.

 

Because soon it will be time.

 Time to open my arms and let you go.

 As you find your wings and soar.


And I ache.

Again.

Peace

Candle

I have been trying to formulate something to say to shed a light on the shadow that has fallen across this land.

I kept waking last night, rolling the tragedy over in my mind, thinking of how we can make real change. And what kept coming back for me was one thought: parenting.

I sat down to write to you, but found this instead. And Pixie says it more eloquently than I could have. Please, please read this. It speaks the words I have in my soul.

Edited to add, I just stumbed upon this very important post. A second conversation that we need to have. Truly.

Also, for those whose children already know of what happened in Connecticut, Sparkle Stories is offering a free story to help children process. You can find it here.

Pray, light your candle, and find hope.

Love,
Rachel

More Peaceful Parenting Step 7. Play!

Thank you for receiving my flaws with open arms yesterday. Because, yes, I'm human. Just like you. And yes, sometimes I'm too serious. Sometimes I get all bound up in the minutia of this-very-minute and suck the joy out of our entire day.

And you saw me and you accepted me with my flaws. For that I am so grateful.

It all leads so perfectly into Step 7 today. Play. Are you ready? I am.

Peaceful Parenting Step 7: Play! | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Peaceful Parenting Step 7: Play! | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog


Peaceful Parenting Step 7: Play! | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

I want to start by reminding you to revisit step 1 in this journey every day.

It is the foundation that the other steps are built upon, and without it the rest of these steps will fall apart. Put on your oxygen mask first, if you will. Take care of you to make space to take care of the rest of your crew.

It is also worth stating this: you will never get there. That may be discouraging, but it isn't meant to be. It's meant to free you for the expectation to "arrive". To get it right every day, every time.

As I shared yesterday, it will never be perfect. It will never be "done".

You will never be perfect and neither will they.

Every moment of every day will not be seamless. There will be tears. There will be shouting. (Ahem.) There will be tantrums. There will be those hell-in-a-hand-basket parenting moments where we reflect with disbelief that we really actually said that or did that.

We are flawed. And we always will be. And now you know. (But I suspect you already did.)

That being said, perfect is not the destination. Joy is the destination.

Joy. Fun. Laughter. Play.

Together.

See how much you can enjoy this journey. Because that's really the point. Because once we get there it's over.

So with that, today I am simply reminding you to be playful. To put aside your to-do list sometimes and roll around in the leaves with your kids. To crank the Beastie Boys and have a dance party in your kitchen with your family. To stick a slice of pepperoni to your cheek and pretend you don't know why your kids are laughing/grossing out.

That kind of business. You have your own style, so run with it.

With that in mind, I'm out of here. We're leaving the laundry on the couch (half-folded) and going letterboxing in the rain. Because, why not? Today is all we've got.

Love,
Rachel

P.S. Here is are the other steps in the series, in case you missed one.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 1. Forgive, Accept, and Love Yourself.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 2. Identify the Need.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 3. Validate.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 4. Creating a Yes Environment.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 5. Your Mission Statement.

More Peaceful parenting Step 6. Just Listen.

 

Joyful work.

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Confession:

Despite my best intentions, I sometimes lose my cool when it comes to getting my children to participate in the running of our home.

Our journey to end entitlement with peaceful parenting strategies is off to a solid start, but sometimes I misplace my peaceful mojo.

I've gotten frustrated on more than one occasion with the grumbles that inevitably come when it's time to dig in and do the work of our life. Sometimes I'm just done with all of the complaining. It's true. And sometimes I freak out about it a little bit. A mama tantrum.

This was the case a few days ago.

There was the obligatory grumble when I announced it was time to get some work done. I lost it a little. I yelled. (Or I passionately expressed my need, you could say.) And then I cooled off and apologized. We regrouped.

The kids (the one who was complaining included) ended up getting jazzed about the jobs they had to complete and did the work beautifully. They took pride in their work and even accomplished the task above and beyond my expectations.

The next day followed a similar pattern. Time for chores leads to grumbling, minor mama-tantrum, hard-working kids, mama apology, pride in work and taking it above and beyond the request.

It's interesting.

Now I want to figure out how to consistently skip the part where I freak out. (It isn't my norm, but I've been feeling frusterated this week. It's just where I'm at in this moment.)

And then, despite my best efforts at sucking the joy out of work, a magical thing happened.

Two nights ago the kids fell asleep formulating a "secret plan". The plan involved me taking them to the coop in the morning, and also Pete and I being banished from the kitchen for most of the day. By morning the kids were (in secret) laying in bed with "How to Cook Everything" and my tattered copy of "The Joy of Cooking". They asked for a bit of help modifying recipes for how we eat, and then they ran with it.

They chose a menu.

They made a list.

They did the shopping.

And then I was shut out of the kitchen, silks suspended across the doorways and blindfolds ready in case I needed to come in.

With Sage at the helm they cooked all day. They set a beautiful table with a vintage cloth and some place mats, there was a centerpiece and fancy serving bowls. Candles were lit. Even dishes were washed. (All the prep dishes. Washed before dinner. I don't think I've even ever pulled that off.)

The menu included paleo/grain free biscuits and gravy, seasoned sauteed green beans with sage and oregano, and strawberry ice cream with fresh whipped cream.

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It was amazing.

As we lingered in by candlelight around the table, Sage announced "Oh, my feet hurt from all that standing in the kitchen!"

And then he smiled a big, proud, satisfied smile.

And I thought to myself, hm. Maybe I just need to get out of their way.

xo
Rachel

Building confidence.

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Building confidence in kids. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Our life is exceptionally safe.

Safe in the "I'm not going to make you do that if it makes you uncomfortable" sort of way.

Each of us takes things at our own pace. Our own right-for-us pace that only we know.

Whether it is learning to read or ride a bike, sleeping at Nanny's house or talking to an adult we don't know – no one is going to push you in but you. We're there for support but not for the nudge. You've got to jump.

If you don't want to, no one will shame you or tease you or express disappointment. You're in charge of your own choices in our home. It's part of our peaceful parenting intentions.

So we each move at our own pace.

It's one of the things I truly love about homeschooling.

While on the Shore we had the opportunity to participate in some activities designed specifically to offer us challenges. And as I helped my kids suit up in harnesses and helmets and clip into to the ropes I reflected on the hundreds of kids I once guided through these same challenges when I worked here.

And I realized how different it felt now with my own children.

Because in the past, all I knew was that child at that moment. They were strangers.

I didn't know their struggles and their strengths, their gifts and their passions. I didn't know what they feared or where they had been.

But with my kids, I know so much.

So when Sage decided that he wanted to do the ropes course and walk a single wire 30-some feet above the ground I knew this choice in the greater context of Sage.

I expected that it would be a challenge but one that could teach him so much.

He'd have to push and move through the discomfort and fear to make it to the other side, if he chose to go on. He could turn back anytime or he could take it all the way to the zip line and jump.

And he did.

After rock climbing two routes (and weathering the disappointment and frustration of it not being as easy as it looks) he donned a second harness and headed up into the tree tops.

And watching him push through his discomfort – watching him really push himself – reminded me of why we do these things to begin with. To build confidence. To remember that no one will make us do it but us. That sometimes it is hard or painful or uncomfortable but if we choose to we can weather it and come out on the other side – stronger, more confident, and self-aware.

And he did.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 6. Just listen.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Well hello there. That was a mighty long break from the More Peaceful Parenting series, wasn't it?

Thank you for sticking around while I caught my breath and built my courage to take on this series again. I'm ready if you are.

For those of you who are new or who aren't looking for a new parenting paradigm, let me restate my intention here, just for clarity: This
series is for parents looking for ways to integrate more
connection-based peaceful parenting strategies into their relationships
with their children.

If if isn't resonant to you, then no sweat. Perhaps you have found
your perfect parenting fit. (Parenting, after all, is not a
one-size-fits-all arrangement.)

But if you are in a place of struggle with your child, or if
you are searching for a bit more ease, or if some of the parenting
strategies you are using don't resonate anymore, this series is for you.

This is how we are striving to do things in our home. It is my goal as a mom to reach for deeper connection and to find peaceful ways to guide my children along this journey.

And you know, I'm
learning right along with you. And I don't always find the right fit either.

But
that's life, isn't it? We aren't perfect. But we're learning and growing
everyday.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

We began the Peaceful Parenting series last winter. I encourage you
to take a few days to re-read steps one through five. These will lay the
foundation and remind you of the journey we are on.

        More Peaceful Parenting Step 1. Forgive, Accept, and Love Yourself.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 2. Identify the Need.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 3. Validate.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 4. Creating a Yes Environment.

More Peaceful Parenting Step 5. Your Mission Statement.

And now, finally! More Peaceful Parenting Step 6. Just Listen.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

I want to restart with something so basic, so simple, that you are
doing it already.

The change I am suggesting today is for you to deepen and shift how you are listening to hear more than you did before. To truly listen. With all of your heart.

And when we start to listen (really listen) our child receives the message that they matter. That their feelings are valid. That they are valid.

How to listen to your child:

1. Focus on your child.

Kneel down so that you are at eye-level.

Make physical contact if that is what your child desires. Sometimes for my kids it's easiest to talk while we cuddle. Some crave eye contact, others withdraw from it.

Listen to their energy and give them what they need. But give them your focus.

2. Ignore external distractions.

Don't answer your phone. Shut off your computer. Create comfortable quiet where you can focus on their words and body language alone.

3. Quiet your inner distractions.

As parents many of us have a stop watch that is constantly ticking in our heads. We have a lot to do and sometimes not enough time to do it. Stop that clock.

The dishes and laundry will wait. Dinner will wait. Nap will wait. Take a deep healing breath and focus on this moment. Your presence means so much more than anything else that might be on your to-do list.

4. Hear the feelings underneath their words.

Let your child talk without interruption. Hear what they are saying, and seek to understand what they are not saying as well.

What is the feeling (or the need) at the heart of their expression?

5. Accept the feelings they are expressing as valid.

Avoid the temptation to soothe them with words that negate how they feel.

Instead of using words like "You're okay," or "It'll be fine," try reflecting back what you are hearing, "It hurts," or "You're very angry."

Remember that your work in this moment is not to fix anything. Just listen. Just really listen.

How to listen to your child. | Clean : : the LuSa Organics Blog

Following the steps above will give our children the message that we are really, truly listening and that their words matter. 

We demonstrate that we aren't going to swoop in to try to fix it and we aren't going to tell them that they are wrong.

They will instead hear that it is safe to express all of their feelings to you – even the scary or ugly or overwhelming ones. And this will create connection between you that will serve you always.

From here we can work together to find a solution, empowering our child to step up and participate in that process. 

But before solution there must be understanding.

Let's start by just listening.

Confidence in a home-cooked meal.

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I wanted to share a story from our participation without coercion experiment.

When we broke down our weekly responsibilities the kids each agreed to cook one meal per week.

Two nights ago Sage was in charge of dinner. His menu was homemade meatballs and red sauce with sauteed zucchini. (Because I'm veggie-crazed I did add a salad to the mix. I hope that doesn't count as micro-managing.)

It was hands down the tastiest meal we had all week.

I don't have many photographs because this kids loves his privacy. In fact, he didn't want me to photograph the final meal, as beautiful as it was. But I will tell you this: when that dinner was set on the table and we gathered around it to eat he was beaming. He was proud, confident, and felt the satisfaction of hard work.

He planned. He shopped. He found recipes. And then he cooked. Sage put hours into this meal. And when all was said and done? The word awesome was used to describe the entire experience. (And not just by me.)

Participation without coersion. Phase 1, continued.

We're still chugging along on the participation without coercion train. And overall it has been incredible. Though their energy for it wains at times (more on that below) the kids are both still willing to dig in and participate without me pushing.

I'm so glad we are taking this on. And now we are (lovingly and politely) telling entitlement that it's time to go. Our kids have different paths to be on.

The photos of course are unrelated. I misplaced the battery charger for my camera for a few days, so I don't have many pictures of the children doing all this participating I've been talking about. (Really. They have been working hard! I swear.)

But the photos of Sage flying through the air over the churning river? We'll just say it's a metaphor for all that they are learning now that they are participating in our family more. These kids can fly. 

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On Tuesday I gave you an overview of our success so far. Today I want to back up and share some details with you of how it all came together.

The plan I laid out last week was as follows:

1. Meet as a family and establish a shared goal.

2. Determine tasks or chores that need to be done daily or weekly.

3. Work together to determine an equitable way to distribute tasks.

4. Test our plan.

5. Encourage staying the course using peaceful parenting strategies (validation, attention, connection, and group problem-solving).

6. Modify as needed to meet the needs of all members of the family.

On Friday we got started.

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1. We held a family meeting. (Well, we held breakfast with lots of talking. That counts as a meeting, right?) We had to keep it short as Sage was squirming and losing his mind a bit with all the sitting and listening and talking (Oh, my. School would be a disaster for this one.) so we cut to the chase.

Working together we listed the chores that need to be completed daily, weekly, and monthly. I kept notes while everyone listed all the chores they could think of.

When our page was full I asked the kids how they feel when those jobs are completed on schedule. Does it feel good to know that the dishes are washed every day and there are always clean glasses in the cupboard?

Then I asked how they have felt when the chores are not done on time. When the laundry has piled up and there are no clean socks in their dressers. When you're hungry and no one has made lunch.

We all agreed. It's frustrating. Our kids want the chores to be done regularly just as much as Pete and I do. So we knew we shared at least a partial goal – to have the work completed regularly.

Finally I asked how they would feel if most of the chores fell to them. For example, Sage is an able cook. What if he cooked all of our meals? Lupine knows how to wash dishes. What if she had to wash every dirty dish, everyday?

That didn't seem fair to anyone.

"So does it make sense that most of the chores fall to Papa and me?" I asked.

Hm.

Though appealing at first, the kids agreed that that wasn't fair either.

We're all in this together so why should one or two people do most of the hard work? With a little empathy my kids could feel what it would be like if the tables were turned.

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2. So we came up with a goal.

"A clean, nice, awesome house where everyone likes to be where the work is shared fairly."

Written almost entirely by the children – with me (in the spirit of empowering them to participate) resisting the urge to simplify or edit it – we now have something to focus on as our experiment unfolds.

Steps 1 and 2 are complete. We have a goal, we have a list, and now we just need a plan to bring it all together.

Now it's onto step 3: equitably dividing the tasks.

We did this over the weekend for our monthly deep-cleaning. I made a list of the housekeeping tasks and we each picked something. Even the most undesirable tasks were divided (with some grown-up assistance). And nobody balked.

We've divvied things up bit-by-bit since then, but I'm feeling we need something more concrete. Something visual, like our rhythm chart but for chores our housekeeping tasks. Laundry, cooking, dishes, pet care, etc.

We could divide daily but I'm feeling that a weekly rhythm will work best for my family.

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So that's where we're at. Thanks for the encouragement and for coming along for this ride with me!

Worth noting, it hasn't been all sunshine and glitter over here.

Yesterday Lupine was mad crazy about helping out. (This is often not the case.) She was beaming as she harvested and hauled baskets of vegetables in from the garden (ours and the neighbors, with permission of course). Then she proudly made most of our lunch out of those veggies and was game for almost any task.

But Sage yesterday? Not so into it. While he did participate, there was a certain sparkle lacking and he was doing the absolute minimum that I asked of him by afternoon. I talked to him about it and he reported matter of factly that "he just wasn't into it today."

And I get that too.

So I didn't push him much yesterday. A few nudges, but I let him get by with doing less.

I stand to gain nothing by forcing this or pushing hard. In fact, I believe it will undermine what I am trying to cultivate. And to be honest, there are days that I get by with the least amount possible. So flexibility feels paramount. We'll have on days and off days. I can roll. 

And for those of you with younger kids, the advice I can offer you is this: make it fun! If setting the table involves candles and flowers from the garden, they'll want to participate. If putting away the dishes involves an airplane ride to the silverware drawer, who could resist? Don't expect much productive labor from your little ones, just bursts of "I can do it!" along with your focused work.

And rather than praising their efforts ("Good job setting the table!") help them find the satisfaction for their work inside. ("I can see that you feel proud to have set the table by yourself. That was a big job!") See the difference?

Love,

Rachel