" A child should be brought up to have relations of force with earth and water, should run and ride, and swim and skate, lift and carry, should know texture, and work in material; should know by name the things of the earth about him, it's birds and beasts and creeping things, it's herbs and trees; should be in touch with literature, art and thoughts of the past and present, it's historic movement, it's science, literature, art social needs and aspirations. In fact, he must have a wide outlook, intimate relations all around, for it depends, not upon how much is learned, but upon how things are learned." - Charlotte Mason
So confession, I don't really know who Charlotte Mason is. I came across this quote the other day on one of my favorite Instagram accounts and I fell in love with it. Upon searching for more of Ms. Mason's quotes, I found even more that speak to me.
It's so easy as a mother to have so many goals and aspirations. It's also so easy to get lost in the hustle of life and push those goals to the side. Things like television, easy grab snacks and piled up laundry can easily become the norm. Things like baking from scratch, exploring outside and doing daily crafts and lessons only seem like they belong to the finest Instagram and Pinterest worthy mamas around.
In so many ways my heart yearns to live like the yester years. My heart wants to mother like this quote. I want my kids outside running and exploring, I want my home filled with simple wooden toys and books galore that are leather bound and falling apart from too much love. While I may not love to cook, I even dream of a big white kitchen where I can where an apron and bake from scratch because I know how to. I want my kids to learn cursive and I want them to color outside of the lines. I dream of a garden to grow our food in and long evening sunsets on the front porch.
Most of us reading this can admit that life isn't quite like that. We are all busy and just trying to stay afloat. Moms work at jobs and can home to work even more. Technology is overwhelmingly available and enjoyable. Social media is set up to share our every move, envy others and compare ourselves to even more. Children are taught in a different way with different materials and imaginations don't always run around as free as once before sometimes.
I'm like any mom, and guilty of falling into the traps of convenience and sometimes pure laziness (due to exhaustion of course lol). I'm guilty of loving my cell phone in my hand just as much as the next person. I'm guilty of trying to capture every Instagram worthy shot rather than just living in the moment. I'm guilty totally and completely, of not baking from scratch.
2015 was a year of new beginnings and new life for our growing family. It was a year of learning the ropes of life with two children, something that I'll continue to learn along the way. It was a year of trying to purge and simplify even more and yet still holding onto and loving new things.
Navigating motherhood is all about trying to find the balance; at least that is what I am learning. It's about finding the balance between the mother who strive to be and the mother that you are. It's also about realizing that what you are and how YOU do things is okay. There's no better mother out there for your child than you and there's no righter instinct to listen to than your own. There's no greater journey of love and growth than the one you are on and the one you are bringing your kids on. You can only mother and parent as you know how and see fit. So what if your child watches a little too much TV or so what if you don't even have cable.
I love that each new year is a fresh new start. It's a fresh start to make changes, to learn and grow more and to work harder. It's a year to learn to bake more from scratch and to take my girls outside more. It's a new year for books, a new page to color on and a new garden to grow.
So in 2016, let it all go and find your balance. Be who you want to be and strive to be what you desire as a mother while still finding peace with your short comings, your faults and your lazy days. Make your goals or your words to live by and stick to them. Live like the past or find joy in all of today's advances. It's your family's tale to tell and you can decide exactly what it'll be. It's YOUR year, Mom.
So here's to ending 2015 and beginning 2016 on whatever word or words that inspire you. Create the path that YOU want, lead your children the way that YOU want and find joy in the simple things. Living and learning doesn't have to be so complicated...
"...for it depends, not upon how much is learned, but upon how things are learned."