Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Rhythm

rhythm

Oh my. When did life just get so complicated?! With Ivan's new (longer) work schedule and the start of the school year, our days have just become so crazed. Now, please don't get me wrong. I've come to love Matteo's school and his lovely, caring Kindergarten teacher. Nico's preschool and the wonderful community of families there have been a warm stop in the madness of drop-offs and pick-ups (and I am SO talking to you Liz, Sam, Naomi and Polly!)... but it's those things like keeping several schedules, making spreadsheets to plan meals and the endless lists that are driving me absolutely INSANE! What is mind boggling to me is that we don't do extracurriculars like sports or music lessons.... this is all just getting everyone fed, dressed, bathed and delivered to their appropriate locations on time! I've been finding myself running like a madwoman from the time I wake up to the time I collapse into bed at night. This is not the life I envisioned for myself or our family.

So I am taking a deep breath. Trying to slow down... and simplify

I am rereading my favorite parenting book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I am absolutely evangelistic about this book! It's been a lifesaver and it makes me feel so at peace with its simple suggestions on how to take out the distractions that make for a chaotic homelife. I'm starting right now with trying to find a new rhythm for lives. Though the boys have their schools in the mornings and there is little I can do to change those schedules, I can create an environment in our home that is relaxed, warm and simple. A place that nourishes ALL of our souls. I was very inspired by how my friend Nicole organized her week and I decided to take it to the basics by having just a single thing for the day to focus on. One activity to structure our afternoon around.

On baking day last week, the boys enjoyed peeling and coring apples to make apple pie
matteo peels apples

On gardening day, Nico sang to our freshly planted broccoli :)

and of course there is always time for a little mudplay
Mudplay

or time for the big Kindergarten boy to play with his beloved trains
matteo relaxes

For me, I've stopped running errands after school. I've just turned off the computer in the afternoons so I can focus on being fully present with the boys. I just be with them.... and it's nice. I'm also learning to find small moments in the day, where amidst the bustle of movement, I can stop and fully experience where I am... when I am reading to the boys at drop off and I can smell their little boy hair as they sit on my lap... or the commiserating smile or hug from a fellow mom in the trenches... it's these moments of grace that take me off of the everspinning hamster wheel... and I am so grateful for them.

As we settle into this new rhythm, I know that we will all feel calmer and more nourished. I would love to hear more from you on how you develop rhythm in your homes, especially with kids in school. (as an aside- can I tell you, my homeschooling friends, I've more than just a *few* times considered homeschooling for the simple reason that I want to be able to NOT rush around... but that's another post for another time ;} )

Sending you much love and light!
Marina





20 comments:

Joy said...

It sounds like you're finding your stride and the boys really look relaxed and happy. I love the rhythm chart. It sounds like a nice way to orient the week. :) Did you see my blog today? We both have apple peeling going on! Have a blessed and simplicity-filled week, Marina!

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

Dear Marina, Are you trying to tempt me with the rainbow chart? (It's working of course..)

You already read my rhythm post, even though it was with a homeschool focus. I like that even though my girls are older than your boys we still have so many similarities in our simple home days.

Can you imagine how well I would do if the girls were in school, or had scheduled outside activities.. Not well at all!

Peace and well wishes to you as you settle into your days!
Lots of love, Renee xoxo

Plain and Joyful Living said...

I love what you wrote about making sure you are fully present - even when I wash dishes - this makes such a difference and continually practicing gratitude.

As far as keeping thins simple, even homeschoolers can be over scheduled and I am sure many are.

We simply choose to be home-centered and to choose very carefully our outside activities. With six children, each child must be passionate about an outside activity before we can devote a block of time driving and waiting, etc.

I imagine that your days will develop into a rhythm of their own as this "newness" becomes routine.

Warm wishes for a beautiful day,
Tonya

Lisa said...

Your rainbow schedule is just lovely and soothing in itself. Marina you are great at being in the moment. Something I am still learning to do. I am definitely going to check out your book. For us, spending the afternoon reading, crafting or cooking is quite relaxing. But I don't have scheduled days like you do. I like that idea. I attempt a rythm but it always seems to get disrupted. What schools are your boys in? My kids had a wonderful preschool experience. Both my kids' best friends are from their preschool days.
I must get one of those apple peelers!!!!
have a great week
lisa

Nicole said...

So glad my post was helpful! Your rhythm looks wonderful. I know I'm dreading Short Pants going to school next year because of how dramatically it will affect our home life. Our public school is ALL DAY kindy with no option for half day. :(

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

Marina, first a big hug. This post sings to me. My recent "stop!" moment was telling Lala's teacher "too much homework!" Don't get me started on the quantity of homework for K, 1,... at her school, but I simply decided I wasn't going to make her do it all. It was detrimental to our down time and interactions. I guess my example is to say...really looking at priorities and dropping the extras. Hope to talk soon. Nicola

Jen said...

Thanks for the book recommendation - I've added it to my list.

Our household is smaller and in some respects that makes the schedule more manageable. Most days the only thing on the list is go to the park or library.

My struggle is around dinner time. Since I teach in the evenings, it's hard to get everyone eating at the same time. So I've spent the summer finding our favorite fast, tasty dinners.

Dawn said...

Simplicity Parenting is one of my favorite books of all time on the topic of parenting. I love the way you wrote up your weekly rhythm on the watercolor paper and framed it. Every year when we switch from summer to school, our weekly rhythm needs to be readjusted. I don't really feel like we've quite found out groove yet this fall. I'm inspired by this post.

Kelly said...

Hello,
Love your rainbow chart. We are homeschoolers and we try to keep our lives super simple but there are times our days get all over the place with 4 young boys. Thank you for reminding me to be present!

Tahara said...

Hey Marina!...

Getting kids ready to go to school or anywhere everyday is tough...When Kenau went to first grade at school, I had to commute him to school 50 miles one way each day with his two younger brothers in tow...I still can't believe I drove over 100 miles a day with the boys...Our days were insane!...

I am sure you have a much shorter commute, LOL, and you are getting your rhythmn together...You are doing great!...I am home everyday and still can't get my rhythmn together!...

I LOVE the rainbow, colors of the week sign!...I totally have to steal that idea...Hope you don't mind :-)

Kelly and Kelly said...

My mom's group is reading Simplicity Parenting. I'm excited to revisit the book.

We're in the rushing part of life now too. And with only one child in school. no answers, just sympathy.

Heather said...

How wonderful that you are finding your own rhythm. I have never read that book, so it will have to make it's way onto the shelves into the coming weeks. Thanks for recommending it.

Kris said...

Hi Marina, I haven't checked out your site in awhile, but it seems to have an air of providence today, as I have just began reading the book, "Simplicity Parenting" by Payne after stumbling upon it in my quest to simplify our home and our lives together. I have a 9 yr old, 3 yr old (special needs), and 17mo old (all girls!). I put a halt on my nursing profession to stay home and be mommy and nurse to my little women. I am totally inspired by you to live moment to moment with gratitude and joy and to seek out moments of peace and miracle in nature despite living in a concrete jungle. Thanks for sharing...the time you spend even just posting a picture of the moment is always well spent. You are appreciated! Much love, Kris

healing hillary said...

Schooling has helped me find a rhythm. I have a similar weekly rhythm (although the days and some of the activities are different).

I also wrote down a rhythm for breakfast and dinner. It keeps things simpler around here and so far we really like it.

alittlecraftynest said...

Hello Marina,
I, too, have a similar weekday rainbow chart and it really helps me plan, and believe it or not, be spontaneous. I can get so muddled by endless choices that it helps to have a framework for my days...much like children must feel! I'm happy to see our days match in colours because I have seen some Waldorf moms have different colour days (or planets or grains...) I'm happy to have found your small tribe.

Kat said...

It's nice to see another mother that's in a similar situation. I have two sons one in Kindergarten and one 9 months. I considered homeschooling as well by simplifying to a one project a day method similar to what you appear to have going on. With the return to school we have slipped a bit out of the rhythm but I have also found a bit of time with my little one to be more present than I was able over the summer with so many projects and 2 boys clamoring for my attention. We don't do the sports but the activities alone take up so much time just for entertainment and don't get me started on joining the pto..... It's never ending! I am counting on the natural transition of parenting to take place any minute. You start out overwhelmed and clueless but eventually it all falls into place. Best of luck mama, I am with you on this crazy ride all th way!

Blessings,
Kat
forloveofmyoceans.blogspot.com

ohabbyreally said...

I love the picture of him singing. x

Traumkraut said...

just surfing by....
letting you know...
that I still read...
but don't comment that much.


Love and greetings from Germany,
M.

Simple Mama said...

it's crazy how busy our lives become with just LIFE, isn't it? I'm going to make my own chart and schedule...and pick up that book.

Imene said...

I think you just wrote about my life. I feel like just keeping up with the school, food and cleaning is driving me insane. I sat down today and drafted our weekly rhythms. Your first picture has inspired me to decorate my weekly schedule too. Thank you for the inspiration