A little over 5 years ago, I started this blog to celebrate my family. I was a mother to two toddler boys and pregnant with my third. I had just fallen in love with Waldorf Education, I was starting to become passionate about creating images through photography to capture my sons' childhood, I wanted to have a way to connect with others and share the basics of homemaking. This was all before everyone started gathering on Facebook and Pinterest as online coffee klatches. I met some wonderful women through the mothering.com forums and through shared images on flickr. I felt like I had found my tribe of mothers from all over the world, all just trying to create beautiful safe spaces for our children to grow up in and that we had each other to learn from and support and I am so proud that a handful of these women are still my friends today.
For many of us, our children are older, less in the early childhood education stages. The gorgeous wooden toys have been replaced by legos and *gasp* even some of our children have been introduced to the magic of the movie Star Wars for the first time. I have to admit that I cringe when I think about the all or nothing approach I took to incorporating Waldorf in our lives. So much time and money wasted trying to find the "perfect" natural toys for our boys. I wish I could go back and tell the mother that I was back then that it really.doesn't.matter. I would tell her to spend more time loving her children with hugs and kisses. Let them wander and explore more. Put much less emphasis on "stuff" and more on experiences.
My boys are in public school now, and while it's not perfect.. it's pretty damn close. We are so very fortunate to go to a school where there is a passionate parent community that helps insure that arts and gardening are part of the curriculum for every child. We have made friends from all over the socioeconomic spectrum that we would not have made in private education or if I had homeschooled. We are doing the best for our kids within our means and honestly, I feel like we're doing more than OK.
So what is the point of this post? I guess perhaps that it is time for me to disconnect from the Waldorf world... or what has been my paradigm of it these past few years. The acquisitive nature of collecting material things, the silent judgement of mothers whose children wear superhero t-shirts (yes, I have received the side-eye for that)... just the entire holier than thou crap you get when you come across the Mama In Fairyland. It's been said before, but it bears repeating. Being a parent is hard enough, no one should make it into a competition.
Don't get me wrong, there are mothers out there who live and breathe Waldorf in such a genuine and heartfelt way, I wish everyone could experience it like that. Nicole of Frontier Dreams, Cindy of Zach Aboard, Joy of An Art Family, Annie of Imagination in Parenting, Renee of Heirloom Seasons... these are just a few of the women who are my friends and heroes with how they live their lives. (One of my favorite memories of Cindy is, under her screenname of BoatBaby, constantly yelling at us on mothering.com "It's NOT ABOUT THE TOYS!" :)). I am so grateful for their friendships and inspiration, as well as all the other mother bloggers who shared their lives and beautiful families in the blogging world. My beef about Waldorf is far from being about them. I just feel that for me, it's my time to let go and fully explore the world with my family under a different set of values. Letting the boys become who they are meant to be, taking the emphasis off of stereotypical societal achievement and guiding them to appreciate what is in themselves. It's probably not THAT different from the values of Waldorf education, but I think I am just ready to go without the label.
I'm sending much love and gratitude out into the blogosphere for allowing me to process my thoughts and for always being a source of encouragement. This isn't a goodbye, but more a touching base with myself and for those who do share their time here with me.
Next up is Sarah Maxey Photography from the Kansas City area. Sarah is an on-location, natural light photographer specializing in birth photography, lifestyle newborn photography and modern maternity, baby/child and family portraiture. Please click here to see her take on this week's theme.
Next up is Tricia Burrough of Lilac Blossom Photography. Tricia is a portrait photographer and freelance photojournalist based in Collingswood, NJ. Please click here to see her take on this week's theme.
Next up is Lanie Coulter. Lanie is a natural light photographer that specializes in newborn, family, senior and wedding photography in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area. Pleaseclick hereto see her take on this week's theme.
Next up is my dear friend and mentor, Jen Dunham of Jen Dunham Photography. Jen specializes in creating artistic newborn portraits for her clients and is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please click here to see her take on this week's theme.
Next up is Andrea Orozco of Drea Lyn Photography. Andrea is an on location, natural light photographer specializing in children, seniors and couples from the California Bay Area. Please click here to see her take on this week's theme.