Last week I wrote about authentic parenting – the first in what is shaping up to be a 4-part series. You can read that post here.
Having a peaceful home increases my ability to be an authentic parent. Fewer toys, none of them with batteries, less TV and less noise gives me space to be more myself, more myself as a mom, and more focused. I can hear my thoughts, better align myself with my values, have mental space to process ideas. If the Pie experiences calm and quiet at home, if we have a flexible schedule and do predictable things we have more space in our lives for being ourselves. If we try new things and accept falling down, make time for getting dirty and crying and snuggling, we will be living our lives more honestly, more openly, more true to ourselves.
Having more peace in our home makes more space for us. Having quiet gives us room to make the noises we want to hear. Having less advice and expectation swirling in my head allows me to be a parent in a bubble – doing what feels right, what works for my family. It allows me to quiet my mind, focus on my family, be more authentically myself and be more authentically the Pie’s Mama. The quiet space in our lives allows me to be the mama I really am, to be closer to the mama I want to be - without excessive outside interference, unwanted advice and chaos. I can parent without distraction.
I want to share those things that have become the cornerstones of my success in creating a peaceful home, and those things that allow me to parent more authentically:
Establishing my values is probably the single most important activity that created more peace in my home and more authenticity in my parenting. The Mountain Man and I played with ideas and values for our life, and came up with a list of concepts that we want to strive for in our lives. I now have these words posted in my hallway, and will someday create a more meaningful display… you know, when I have some time.
Peaceful relationships encourage a peaceful home. I feel that my relationships should be by and large positive, and yelling, name-calling, underhanded remarks and intentionally hurt feelings have no place in my home. I am in control of who I allow to be in my life and in my child’s life. Peaceful, strong, healthy relationships allow for a peaceful, calm, steady home.
Peaceful activities make my space, my mind, and my home calm. We sit and play with toys, we listen to music we crawl-chase around the house. We make noise, we explore. Peaceful activities are not all calm – some are totally rambunctious! But they are created by us, there are no noisy cartoons or electronic buzzing toys. They are self-directed, and I consider that to be peaceful.
Doing what’s natural as a parent creates a peaceful home. Trying to follow parenting advice that doesn’t mesh with my life or my values creates chaos in my mind and in my home. We’ve had nights trying to get the Pie to sleep, desperately clinging to someone else’s advice or values, as tensions rose. Doing what works for us, without too much regard for what others think, eliminates the tension of doing it “by the book” and allows for a calmer routine.
Flexible schedules allow me to get things accomplished before I’m overwhelmed, plan for the day/week/month and have the ability to be spontaneous. We have our loose daily schedule with chores & activities so we know when it’s work time and when it’s play time, when we can run wild and when we needs to calm down. We have the ability to change plans as needed, and the Pie sees and participates in the chores of daily life.
Minimizing playpen time, allowing crawling, climbing, bouncing, scooting, and getting into stuff ensures we use up some energy and don’t have hyperactive meltdowns later. Also, it keeps the playpen fresh & interesting when I really need it.
Allowing free play gives me a few moments to myself, and lets the Pie explore. I have made a safe little space in the main room of our home, and although I don’t let her go too far out of sight I do let her explore and play and find “hiding places”. We go outside in the garden, and she digs in the dirt and gets into things while I weed or sow. She plays alone (sometimes) and experiments with what she can do. As she gets older she’ll start to experience boredom and I think that’s OK. I don’t have to orchestrate, schedule and create entertainment for her day. She can entertain herself and I can have some peaceful moments.
Eating well makes us healthy and happy. We cook our meals and eat as a family. We don’t eat out of bags or wrappers, and we don’t eat from the drive-through (we did drive through a local gourmet burger place once this year… but we were planning to go out for burgers and the Pie fell asleep in the car!) We eat all together, and although it’s not always calm, it’s usually enjoyable and creates unity and harmony in our home.
I do what I can to create a calm home. Calm doesn’t always mean quiet – I’m writing this very moment to the tune of a spoon clanging against a metal mixing bowl. The Pie is having her own play time, and is experimenting with noises and “toys”. We are able to make the noises we like because there aren’t uninvited noises. We are creating a culture of calm so that we can live more peacefully, more authentically, more happily. We have less so we can do more. We make our home peaceful so that our lives can be more peaceful and we can be more ourselves.
What makes your home more peaceful?
What makes you more able to be an authentic parent?
Still to come: comfort & authenticity, and using authentic parenting to combat mommy guilt.