- Have routines and systems for home chores, guidelines,
and time. Have clear expectations and build in regular opportunities for communication about them. Some moms have systems to post and/ or check off chores. Look for what works and doesn’t work, and invite children’s feedback and ideas.
- Practice the Art of Ritual – It is an art. There are family rituals and personal rituals. A ritual could be gratitudes at dinner, a walk after school, lighting a candle or feeding the birds. It can also be about moments of silence, mindfulness, brain breaks, prayer, or listening to nature. There can be brief rituals of waking and greeting the day and rituals before bed, such as softly and tenderly washing one’s face. What makes a ritual is that it’s about habit, awareness, intention, and sensation. In a wonderful blog by Courtney E. Martin,”…even washing the dishes can be a kind of ritual…It’s about pace and intention, the senses and symbols…the meaning you imbue…rather than the script you inherit.”
- Prioritize activities. What is “sacrosanct”? One mom commented on clear boundaries between work and family, and another about boundaries with social activities. In our ordinary human beings lives, demands can fluctuate. Kids get sick, relatives visit, and work loads increase. If boundaries are crossed, one respondent then gives relationships involved special time. She shared that it is very important to have clear perceptions and communication. “We must have ways to talk about it,” she commented.
- Be in charge of meaning and purpose. What brings meaning and values into the home? One mom has playlists that help set the tone. Another avoids plastic toys, and has systems to reduce clutter. One regularly takes the kids to volunteer making meals at a homeless shelter. Another uses a glass jar for family members to write down acts of kindness done by family members. They read this at meals or family meetings. What are the threads that the family chooses to regularly and routinely weave through life at home and interactions with each other?
- Prioritize the when and where of electronics. Some keep electronic time for weekends or have specific hours. There are timed apps for pads, which lock the pad down when the time is reached. Another firmly recommends that electronics are not allowed in bedrooms. I was struck by the peace and calmness of her daughter’s room. I see how this will make things clearer and easier as her daughter gets older.
- Fill you own cup. If we don’t find ways to re-Source ourselves, we set a family tone of emptiness
and feeling scattered. One mom, addresses her own needs for beauty and simplicity with “hygge”, a Danish concept of comfort, relationship, simplicity and beauty as a resource, such as candle light, flowers, a fireplace, warm throws and socks. Another spoke of the importance of having an identity outside the home, such as a class, a skill, an expression, or a blog. Marianne Williamson emphasizes taking transition time, even it’s 20-30 minutes, to help ourselves ease from our roles of super-doer moms and workers to be with our bodies and souls, and our partners.
- Compassionately listen to others and self and encourage others to do the same. Not feeling seen, even by ourselves, is a major burden on the nervous system. Ask oneself and others about needs. Listen for messages behind behavior. Listen with ears, gut and heart for and share feelings. Continue to learn about healthy conflict. We are all learning what it means to authentically be and express ourselves.